2011 Subaru Outback - Struts Question

So, a friend of mine is buying a 2011 Subaru Outback with 102,000 miles on it. I’ve helped her out by checking reliability etc on Consumer Reports, and she went and had the vehicle checked out by her mechanic.

The mechanic caught the fact that the timing belt and water pump had not been changed at 90k, so the dealer is taking care of that.

The mechanic also said… that the struts weren’t “bad” per se, but at 102,000 miles, they were also the original equipment.

My friend lives about 5 miles down a washboard dirt road, and that’s part of the reason she’s buying a car like this.

At this point, I think it’s a done deal, but… I was curious. Based on the experience of other Subaru owners here in the forum… what’s been your experience with struts on Subaru’s…

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Subaru struts hold up very, very well. I would be surprised if the struts on this car are bad unless there are some extenuating circumstances behind it.

I speak not only as a former Subaru owner (3 of them) but also as a long time Subaru mechanic if that makes any difference. Hope that helps.


+1 to ok4450’s comments.
I am now driving my third Outback, and it has not been necessary to replace struts on any of them, even at odometer mileages of as much as 150k.

now that dealer has done $1k timing belt/WP job, are they more locked into their asking price? if they want $10k before work will they take any less now? they want a profit. they took car in on trade. now they paid their mechanics to work on it. they dont work for free

I noticed that CR said that the suspension on this model received favorable ratings, so I appreciate a confirmation of that info! I think she’ll be pleased with it.

The dealer is a used car place that she’s done business with 2x before, and they claim this is “standard operating procedure” to having the timing belt and water pump replaced. They checked the Car Fax record and found out that the mechanic was telling the truth… that 90k had slipped by without anyone doing it.

Because she’s a repeat customer, they knocked a grand off the price. That plus the timing belt and water pump – $1700 estimate from her mechanic – and I think we’re in the ballpark of a pretty good deal. I would’ve liked for them to come down another $500, but I don’t think that’s realistic at this point.

I had actually checked the Car Fax record too. The car bounced around from California, to Arizona, back to California, back to Arizona, then to New Mexico, and finally back to Arizona. Plus there was a mysterious gap of almost two and a half years where it went from having 39,000 miles to almost 93,000. Apparently, the case of an owner who didn’t report their repairs. And, have to assume, probably mostly highway miles at that rate.

Actually, the owner of the User Car dealership said that his cost for doing the timing belt etc was about $500, so look at it another way… and she got the price I had wanted for her. More or less. :slight_smile:

whew. its true. used car dealers have LOTS of wiggle room. they dropped price 1000. and thru in a 1700 timing belt job. this dealer is nice. they do a 100k belt job if no documentation exists from prior owner. whereas most dealers just say, uh, we dont know and lets leave it at that.
so, all parts of timing belt job, tensioner, pulleys, water pump are warrantied for how long? 12 months? or no warranty at all? head gasket leaks? since they mill heads too

Head Gaskets. Yeah, they say they do that too. And I’m not sure about the warranty on the timing belt… need to ask. It’s not done in-house. He says he has a place he takes his cars to. But… knock on wood… with the car thoroughly vetted… I think she’s getting what she wants.

Carfax only reports what they know . . . and there’s a LOT they don’t know

It’s possible . . . but unlikely in my opinion . . . that the previous owner did indeed have the timing belt replaced at a shop which didn’t report anything to carfax. There is no law that all shops and mechanics need to report any procedures performed to carfax. And there’s plenty of reputable shops that do not do so. Carfax buyer beware . . . !

I know it’s pointless now, because it’s a done deal

But I just wanted to point out that you should not accept any information from carfax as the gospel truth. they make mistakes, too, but they want to maintain a squeaky clean image.

+1 on all points, except…


Is it possible that you meant to type “NO law”, instead of “now law”?


my mistake


I just corrected it

It’s been my experience that Subaru struts seem to hold up well, but now you’ve got struts with +100K miles on them that now will be traveling at least 10 miles a day on, as you describe, a washboard road. That can be hell on struts.

Not just the hydraulic, damping portion of the strut, but the rubber upper mounts, not to mention other parts of the suspension like the bushings, sway bar links, etc. The struts may be fine now, but checking them in 25,000 miles may show some wear on the struts or elsewhere.

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