My brother is considering a new Forester, Outback, or Honda CR-V
Any comments, pro or con, on these 3 choices? He lives in
Charlottesville VA and would like to have an AWD, given the recent
snow they've had.
I know little about the common problems of Subies, but am wondering,
do the latest models have the head gasket problems and leaky seals
like my friend's 2001 Forester? The local mechanic who works on
Subies, says they are notorious for oil seal issues. And the latest
is, that he discovered a small leak from the power steering rack. Only
117 k miles!
I have 172k on my Honda Accord with no such issues. What's the deal??
The above mentioned Forester has also had the wheel bearings replaced
at 101k and now again at 117k. I don't understand how Subies get such
high reliability ratings from Consumer Reports. Is my friend's car
just a lemon?
Thanks for your input ~!
I have a 2000 Forester L that I bought new in November 1999. Now has 165700
miles. The only problems I had were the right rear wheel bearings needed
replaced a few years ago. A new catalytic converter was installed about 5
years ago. Other than that - just the routine maintenance. Now, though, at
165700k the head gaskets are leaking, so that repair is looming on the
I've heard the new Foresters don't have the head gasket issues.
I now have an 03 Outback H6 and an 06 WRX Sportwagon. I also have
driven other cars in the past including a Civic wagon for ~19 years.
So far, the Soobs are about on par with my old Civic. The WRX has had
no issues, the Outback had A/C hoses replaced under warranty a long
I'd say, buy the one that drives the best/fits your intended use
1 Lucky Texan
We've owned a Civic and two Accords, and right now we have a 1999
Legacy and a 2006 Forester. The Forester I guess is too new to tell,
with only 40K miles, but so far no problems at all and I'm very happy
with it. The Legacy had one expensive repair after just a few years--
the motor for the moonroof failed. All other problems with it occurred
after 160K miles so they can be attributed to wear and tear. My
Accords were pretty trouble free, and the Civic only began to have
major repair expenses when the clutch sort of exploded after 120K
I'd say Honda and Subaru are pretty equal in terms of reliability.
Right now we are comparing the 2010 Accord and the Subaru Outback and
Legacy, and it seems to me you get more features for the money with
the new Subarus. My guess is they will both prove to be better than
average in terms of reliability. But during a snowstorm I do
appreciate having a Forester.
I think another thing to consider is maintenance. I've only owned one
honda, and it made me swear to never own another front wehel drive
car. It was such a pain to work on. The engine compartment was beyond
crowded. The subarus that I have owned have been the opposite for
regular maintenance. Oil changes are a breeze. However, if you have to
do any driveline stuff, that is a pain. Transmission changes, and
clutch changes are both a pain. But my transmission in my 95 lasted
until 190k. It still worked, but the syncros were shot on third and
fourth, and it was starting to pop out of fourth if there was no load
on the drivetrain. I then put a transmission with 130k on it in it and
got another 60k out of it before selling the car and it still worked
Even though I lke Subarus a lot more, I'd admit that you'd be fine
either way you go.
It's an idea, but are they ever going to see this kind of a winter in
those regions again any time soon? We buy Subies up here in Canada,
because more likely than not, we'll see that weather every year. This
year, it was actually one of the mildest winters we've ever had (at
least in my part of Canada). I think all of our weather went down south
to you. Not great for the Winter Olympics, but amazing in general.
I had a head gasket problem in my 2000 OBW, which was caught early on
and covered under warranty (thank god). I've never had an oil leakage
problem, though my previous Mitsubishi-built Chrysler had those galore.
I was told that the head gasket is a well-known issue with certain
models of Subaru engines. Not sure about the oil leaks, though. As for
whether the modern Subarus have had this issue fixed? I'm sure Subaru
will tell you yes, but I guess we'll never actually known under the
modern Subarus have been running for ten years themselves.
As for the power steering leak, I've also recently discovered I have a
large leak, but my car is now already near 250K km (155K miles). In the
meantime, I'm keeping the problem at bay by just refilling the PS fluid,
until I can get a good deal on a steering rack replacement or rebuild.
Developing a power steering leak at 117K doesn't seem particularly
unreliable to me. It's always annoying no matter what mileage it occurs
at, it doesn't matter if it's been only 25K or 250K. But if he's gone
over 100K and this develops, then I'd say his investment was well met.
At least if it happens at 25K, the problem is probably going to be
covered under warranty, though you'd call it unreliable for having
happened so soon.
I guess the bearing was replaced again at 117K because the entire power
steering rack was replaced at the same time, right?
I'd say it depends on the conditions the car is put through daily. I
live in a cold country and we develop a lot of cold-weather-related
problems early, which many of you in more southerly climes don't have to
worry about. But even within a single city, there will likely be
different conditions that the vehicle is used under that will affect its
Any 2.5 before 2010 could have a head-gasket oil leak, before 2005 it
could be coolant ectarnally and/or internally.
Forester wheel bearings have a finicky replacement procedure, hub and
knuckle must be checked for roundness, bearing for the rear has been
If he's thinking of a 2010, the data is just not in yet. The head
gasket/deck designs have been revised for '10.
just a couple of thoughts:
awd costs extra to buy and extra to run. what are the chances of
another record-breaking snowfall in the next 10 years? (the average
life expectancy of the car.)
it's hard to gauge reliability on a small sample of one or two cars.
and good marks in consumer reports won't guarantee that you don't get a
lemon, or that the mechanic who works on your car doesn't screw up or
rip you off.
my '02 legacy seemed to have a bad wheel bearing (bad vibration and
noise at highway speed), but an honest dealership mechanic (i was
literally 1,000 miles from home) found that it was just a loose wheel.
(the dorks who had serviced the car rotated the tires but forgot to
torque the lug nuts - all 10 on the right side were "finger tight"!)
that was about 75,000 miles ago. if an oem wheel bearing lasted 100k
and the replacement only lasted 15k, i don't think it's a "subaru"
"your actual mileage may vary..."
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