I love my car but

When I bought my car, my trusted mechanic told me that Subarus tend to start falling apart after about 90K miles, but that their owners tended not to take great care of them, so he’d always wondered whether it was poor maintenance or poor quality. My car now has 100K miles. In the past 10K miles I’ve had to replace my radiator (which exploded), a fuel line, and my clutch (I do live in San Francisco). Am I in for more trouble?

If you’ve been careful about all the recommended maintenance, I’d keep the car. The clutch is understandable, and modern plastic/aluminum radiators aren’t known for their longevity. What year?

Next up most likely will be the head gaskets.
Just depends on which motor you have, and what year the car is.


It’s a 2002 WRX… I drove it kinda hard for the first year I owned it, but since then I’ve been taking it easy. I’ve been careful about the maintenance too. I have heard that WRX’s don’t last as long as other Subarus, but I assume that’s because most people drive them hard their whole lives. Thanks for the advice!

No!!! :wink:

Actually, the WRX is less likey to have the head gasket problems. Have you had the coolant changed every 30k, using Subaru coolant?

If I recall, weren’t the head gasket issues with the 2.5, not the turbo 2.2?

Ed B.

I don’t know about the brand of coolant (haven’t been going to the dealer for service), but it has been changed per schedule. Hopefully that works in my favor. Part of me is saying to get rid of the car while it’s still running and in decent shape… but I love it so much! Funny how you can get attached to a machine. Thanks for all the advice… keep it comin’!

My '97 Subaru has over 140K miles and is not “falling apart.” It continues to make 500 mile highway trips twice a month with no problems, and slogs through snow without difficulty.

My Subaru mechanic reports many customers whose cars have well over 200K miles.

Some Subaru owners ignore or abuse their cars. These are the troublesome ones.

The WRX has always been considered pretty reliable, and does not seem prone to the head gasket problems other models have.

A clutch at 100K, considering the geography and the car, is not really abnormal.

Radiator? Fuel line? Is that all? Consider yourself lucky.

Subies do take a particular coolant, I use it in my Forester. That’s the only thing you should check. Otherwise, keep it, you’ll be $$$$ ahead.

Your mechanic is not entirely correct and I think that mileage figure he gave you was arbitrary and picked out of thin air. Subarus are not prone to falling apart after 90k miles (without help from their owners) and said owners are no more prone to failing to take care of their cars than the owners of any other make.
However, Subarus are also not infallible as some believe. They have shortcomings and break just like everything else.

The clutch issue you had is not a sign of a problem car and the fuel line is an unknown.
The radiator could use more of an explanation because “exploded” may be a bad choice of words.
If you want to head off any head gasket issues then have someone recheck the torque on head bolts and at this point I think your mechanic is incorrectly sending you into panic mode with some bad advice.

More trouble? Cars are always trouble. Subaru asks a lot of it’s engines and drive systems, but you get a lot for what you have. The fact that the engine crankshaft and the driveshafts are pointed 90 degrees away from one another really makes for smoother driving by cutting down on the tendency for the car to lurch when you accelerate or let off the gas.

The doors sound good when you shut them. The AWD will get you through the snow really well too.

The head gaskets or drive problems are not too much to put up with when you consider the smog system problems that could happen to ANY car.

You were due for a new radiator anyway. A little early maybe but that didn’t hurt a whole lot. Falling apart? I had an 85 Escort, it was born apart. I was waiting for it to fall together.

Thanks for the advice! I do want to keep it; just getting nervous is all. It feels great at the moment, but I have noticed some squeaking when I roll over bumps… is my suspension going??? :wink:

The fuel line was a known issue with this model (cold weather). Eventually Subaru gave in and recalled it.

The new clutch chattered a tiny bit at first, but has settled. Again… makes me nervous though. Why? WHY??? :slight_smile:

I didn’t say it WAS falling apart… just that my mechanic said they SEEMED to fall apart at about 90K. How many miles on your Escort?

I guess I may have exaggerated a bit with “exploded.” The place where the hose attaches broke off and the coolant sprayed out everywhere… very entertaining anyway.

That hapened to me (radiator cracking at hose connection), it was caused by worn motor mounts (not on a Subie). You might get them checked, anyway.

The squeaking could be nothing more than a sway bar bushing due to aged and hardened rubber. This often appears during cold weather and is a common problem with any car.
Often a little bit of lubricant will shut them right up but it’s really not that serious an issue at all.

Offhand, I’d say your car has been a good one. Subaru has had some issues with weeping head gaskets and you can possibly head this off by having the cylinder head bolts retorqued. That is not a major deal at all either.

My opinion is that your mechanic has worried you unnecessarily based on false perceptions.

While I wouldn’t like those kind of problems on a car with only 100k miles…they really aren’t MAJOR problems. If the rest of the vehicle is fine…then I’d keep it.

As for the head gaskets…I thought that was cleared up.

My wife’s '99 Impreza has 170,000 miles… most problems have been due to stupid and/or lazy mechanics (my former mechanic changed the timing belt, but not the tensioner pulley-- so, guess what happened? the pulley broke). But Subies themselves are as reliable as the owner who keeps up on the servicing and repairs. Clutches on Subies have gotten better… the original factory clutches were lucky to go 50,000 miles before the burned out-- newer, after-market clutches will go 100,000 miles or more (best advice from Click and Clack: buy a Subaru with an automatic transmission). The main thing to remember is this: find a mechanic who KNOWS Subaru’s… my old mechanic made lots of mistakes, cos he either didn’t know-- or pretended not to know-- which fixes to do and how to do them.

I sold it at 108,000. I fixed the semi-important stuff to keep it running. Then I left the state. The year was 1992 when I sold it.