What are some issues that I might run into with a 100,000 mile plus Outback. I found one in great condition 2010. It was a former fleet vehicle with regular maintenance. I average about 22,000 miles/year. What type of issues will I most likely run into?
Depending on the year and engine, this may well have a timing belt, and those are due for replacement at about 100k. This can cost about $1000. See if the owner has a receipt for the timing belt change, if it has one.
edit: 2010, timing belt due at 105k.
maintenance schedule is here:
Can you define “regular” maintenance for us, in terms of this particular vehicle and this particular vehicle manufacturer?
It could mean that everything on the mfr’s maintenance schedule was performed exactly as is specified, or it could simply mean that the oil was changed on a certain schedule, but other vital items such as tire rotation, trans fluid changes, brake fluid changes, and differential oil changes were ignored.
I am a long-term Subaru fan, but I would be VERY hesitant to buy a 6 year old Outback unless I was able to view hard copies of the maintenance invoices, and compare them–at my leisure–to the mfr’s maintenance schedule. Simply having skimped on tire rotations could put you in store for replacement of the Center Viscous Coupler, and–just like with other vehicles–failure to change the trans fluid every 30k miles could mean that replacing/overhauling the transmission is in your near future.
As Ronnie Reagan said, Trust, but verify, and the only way that you can verify the extent of the maintenance, and the adherence to the mfr’s maintenance schedule, is to be able to examine hard copies of the vehicle’s maintenance, and compare them–at your leisure–to that maintenance schedule.
Do companies keep fleet vehicles that long and with that many miles. It might be worthwhile to do a Carfax report.
At 22000 miles a year you would probably be better off with a new or low mileage used one. The 100,000 mile one would be better bought by someone who doesn’t drive a lot of miles a year.
I used to have 5 Subarus (3 Outbacks / 1 Legacy Wagon) in the past, so let me tell you what goes around 100K miles
First of all, make sure car had coolant regularly replaced - it is very common problem in older 2.5 engines when owners don’t care and old/acidic coolant eats into head gaskets (do not forget: this is an opposite engine, gaskets are very low to the ground, under pressure more than in regular engines). So, what happens if it was neglected: eventually acidity in coolant eats into gaskets and makes way to cylinders, starting from mild overheating, then eventually making it into leaks and finally damage. By 2010 they fixed the most severe problems where it was leaking INTO cylinders, it would develop external leaks first and it is easy to spot.
In newer engines, they transitioned to totally different heads design and to use chains instead of belts for timing, but in 2010 it is still something to pay attention to, from my recollection.
Other than this issue, this is fantastic brand and they are making great cars!
Smaller issues you will find at 100K:
CV joints in front are very close to exhaust on the inner side: boots age faster and between 80K…100K they rupture. DO NOT EVER replace axles with non-OEM ones or you will end up with great deal of vibration at idle: cheap aftermarkets are “to tight” and engine/transaxle location calls for some looseness to be present, which chinese knock-offs do not have. ask me how I know the best solution is to buy boots, disassemble (surprisingly easy to do), get your problem fixed in under $10
all my outbacks got struts/shocks worn round 70-80K, so likely you would see them either replaced or getting there. KYB brand is the best for price/longevity
spark plugs are to be replaced every 60K miles, and they are suprisingly easy to replace for the opposite engine design. use NGK only
spark plug wires are definitely to be replace, just to be on safe side. once again, avoid cheapest options. my first Legacy had 120+K miles on it, died on me right after purchase in foggy morning, once wires were replaced: worked BETTER, but not until I purchased GOOD wires and returned knock-off cheap ones back to AdvanceAuto
other than that, you can not get wrong if overall vehicle condition is good
a friend of mine kept his Outbacks up to 200-250K before they really start giving trouble, I usually disposed by 150-160K to stay trouble free
All of the maintenance advice above is excellent. On the topic of “Issues”, I looked that model and year up on CarCompliaints and saw that it has very low rates of problems. The site (a partner to CarTalk) gives that year and model its “Seal of Awesome.” I owned two older Outbacks and the front exhaust heat shield vibration noise drove me to trade them both in, but that may be behind the Outback by 2010. Maybe another owner of a well-worn 2010 can comment on that specific issue.
There’s also the issue of regular valve lash inspections; a procedure which is seldom ever thought of much less performed.
“Great condition” and “regular maintenance” can sometimes be very subjective opinions. First thing I’d want to carefully examine the service records. If those records are not available then it might come down to a thorough inspection and consideration of the asking price.
After all, the car was likely manufactured in 2009 and that would mean it’s roughly 7.5 years old. A lot of things come due at some point.
Were I looking for that style of vehicle (AWD, etc) I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one if priced right. The problems we seem to see here are usually involved w/the cooling system and with the all wheel drive system. Unless you require AWD, I think you’d be better off with a 2WD vehicle, as maintenance/repairs are less frequent and less costly. But if you need AWD, that’s a very good choice in my opinion.
unlike “classic design” (separate transfer case, drive-shafts, etc…), Subaru uses “all-in-one” integral design, which is compact in size and quite energy efficient, making its AWD to be close to below-average 2WD on MPG in comparable body/engine group.
I’m not saying it is as efficient as 2WD, no miracles here, but it is quite close and definitely better than 4WD.
I had both automatic and manual transmissions with Subaru, and manual is kinda sketchy, but they don’t make it anymore.
Once they transitioned to CVT, it seems to be nice and refined, both performance and longevity wise… although I might spoke too soon, as I used to have classic automatics only.
if regular maintenance is done and quality fluids are used, I would not expect repairs to be on horizon for powertrain up to 200K or so
Thanks for taking the time! I’m getting regular maintenance schedules from
the current owner. He says all that he has had to replace are the
headlights. Tires have been rotated on the factory schedule as well as
regular oil changes in accordance with factory recommendations.
then by 100K miles what missing is:
- Coolant had to be replaced on 60K miles, at least once, per my maintenance schedule recollection, must use “genuine Subaru coolant additive” every time you change it
- Brake fluid had to be replaced 3 times (every 30K miles)
- Transmission fluid - 60K
- Front/read differentials - 60K
- Spark plugs - 60K
- Spark plugs wires - ??
should I continue ?
Yeah, “regular” oil changes are good, and proper wheel alignment is also a good thing, but the possibility (probability?) of all of those other services having been skipped would make me walk away from this “deal” unless I could verify through hard-copies that everything you mentioned was done–on schedule.
Personally, I change my Outback’s trans fluid and diff. fluids every 30k miles, but I am probably a bit obsessive regarding maintenance.
Driving 22000 miles a year an AWD vehicle that started as a fleet vehicle and is now apparently owned by an individual is just asking for really high repair bills. Do you really need AWD? If I drove that much I am looking for the best fuel mileage vehicle I can live with.
Some fleet vehicles have been very well maintained, even over-maintained, in some instances
I wouldn’t make blanket statements about fleet vehicles