It seems there are a higher percentage of Subaru questions?

After many (not willing to admit how many) times of listening to car talk on the radio there seem to be a disproportionate number of Subaru car questions compared to the percentage of cars sold. Is there a propensity on the part of the screener to say oh boy Subaru let it through, or what do you think?

I think you need to consider the NPR audience that is being reached. Their lifestyle and consumer choices may lean to Subaru and other cars, rather than the US Big 3.

Coincidence,I posted the same question/observation some months ago. I could be as simple as Subaru owners like to talk about their cars.

I overhauled on Subaru in the earlry 80"s it went OK but judging by what you read here I would not touch one,I know they are good in snow,but is that all they are good for? Could they be called “hanger queens”?


Years ago, I saw a study that indicated a much higher level of NPR listenership among Subaru owners than with owners of most other makes of car. More listeners should equal more callers, so perhaps they are not getting preferential treatment.

I own two (2005 Legacy GT aka Turbo and 2004 WRX) and both are quite reliable. My family has a whole fleet (10 cars) and they tend to have an occasional nag(pricey though) but nothing drastic.

Reading this board I would be scared to buy one though.

My two turbo manual tranny Subaru’s are an absolute hoot to drive and are wagon’s to boot. The AWD is icing on the cake for me. The Legacy 2.5 GT engine is basically a civilized version of the STI engine.

We’ve owned two, and neither were hanger queens. We had a 1999 Legacy wagon and have a 2003 Legacy GT Limited wagon. They are relatively easy to do minor maintenance like oil changes, trans fluid changes, etc. Each have over 100K miles on them.

I do believe fit and finish has deterioriated. We liked the 1999 much more than the current 2003, in terms of wind noise and driving. I am also a bit concerned about the 2.5L engine and its propensity to lose a head gasket around the mileage we have on it. It is also using oil between oil changes, which the 2.2L did not. Break in for both was the same.

We do keep them up using the owner’s manual as a guide and have not been disappointed.

Not to mention I can remember listening to the show throughout much of the 90’s, Tom and Ray used to tell practically EVERYONE who called in for a car recommendation to buy a Subaru.

Another interesting tidbit. Subaru was the ONLY maker in 2008 to post a sales increase. Still only 200k sold.

When you close a Subaru door, you get this great sound that says “good body”. The left rear door I tried was very impressive. I just wish that the head gasket problem had been fixed ten years ago. They rule the snow covered hills around here. They’re all over the place, what with the sloping driveways on hills that are almost impossible to drive on. Sleds break the sound barrier all the time here.

Maybe it is as simple as many owners are new to Subaru and are not familiar with the AWD technology so we get a lot of questions about that.

Since I own only one car at a time and there is no public transportation anywhere near my house, I cannot afford to own a car that is a “hanger queen”. My '97 Outback was the most reliable car that I had ever owned up to that point. Yes, it did require a head gasket job at ~130k, but in view of its otherwise solid status, that was not a deal-breaker for me.

In fact, if I had not been highly satisfied with my first Subaru, I would not have bought a second one. This is the only make of car that I have purchased more than once, and unless something takes place to drastically change my mind, I will probably replace this Subaru with another one in 2 years or so.

My reasons for liking Subaru are twofold (or perhaps three-fold). Neither of my Subarus has ever failed to start or has stranded me, something that I could not say about my Volvo, my Chevy, or my Taurus. Other than the head gasket sitation, I have never had any significant repair issues. The snow capability is a major bonus, given the area where I live. The power of my H-6 Outback makes it a hoot to drive, and coupled with my usual 23 mpg, it has a good balance between great acceleration and decent gas mileage.

And, the other bonus is the dealership. I am greeted amiably–by my last name–by the employees in parts and service, I am on a first-name basis with the saleswoman and the dealership’s owner, I am given a free loaner car if my service needs cannot be attended to in less than a couple of hours, and they appear to be very honest. Of course, the nature of the dealership has nothing to do with the make of car, but it sure does help to keep me interested in buying another car of that make.

Subaru sales increased 1% in 2008, but sales of MINI automobiles gained quite a bit more. They were the only two brands to show a sales increase in '08.

What's a "hanger queen"?  Rocketman

A hanger queen is a airplane that spends a lot of time in the hanger,a airplane that is never “cured” always something wrong.

Hangar queen is an airplane that has been down for parts for a certain number of days. At that time, on the Air Force planes, we weren’t allowed any more cannibalization of parts. There is extensive documentation when parts are taken, but there is always a goat rope when the plane has to be put together and checked out.

Long story short, this is not an accurate cross-section of the car buying public and you shouldn’t try to use the things like the number of posts for a given brand as empirical data.

There’s a very good reason that there are a higher percentage of Subaru questions. Subaru has several reliability problems.
For example:

There is a MAJOR reliability/warranty problem with certain Subaru vehicles.

The Subaru 4 cylinder 2.5 L “Boxer engine” has had numerous problems with head gasket (HG) coolant leaks.

The HG problems are outlined on the website


  1. The HG leaks occur in 2.5 L engines manufactured since 1996. Subaru claims the problem was corrected after 2002, but complaints are still being made on later models.

  2. The 1996 to 1999 2.5 L Dual Overhead Cam engine had an inadequately designed HG which often failed early in the life of the engine. The failure allowed coolant leakage into the cylinders, which often went undetected and resulted in over heating and engine failure.

  3. The 1999 to present 2.5 L engine has a Single Overhead Cam. This engine also had, and may still have, an inadequately designed HG which fails early in the life of the engine. In this engine, the failure allows external coolant leakage, which can also result in over heating and engine failure.

  4. Subaru recognized the HG problem in the 2.5 L SOC engines and in April 2002 implemented a “Service Campaign” to “fix” the problem, which Subaru claims only occurred in 1999 to 2002 model years. It is clear that the inadequate design of the head gaskets resulted in early external coolant leakage failures in numerous vehicles.

  5. The “Service Campaign” for the 1999 to 2002 2.5 L SOC engine consisted of adding “Genuine Cooling System Conditioner” (i.e. stop leak) to the coolant and extending the engine warranty to 8 years or 100,000 miles.

I have a 2000 Subaru Outback Wagon with the 2.5 L SOC engine.

When I received Service Campaign bulletin in April 2002, I had the dealer add the “Genuine Cooling System Conditioner” to my cooling system.

However, now at approximately 114,000 miles, coolant is profusely leaking through the poorly designed head gaskets.


  1. The coolant leakage problem that occurs in 2.5 L Subaru engines is a result of inadequately/poorly designed head gaskets.

  2. Without intervention, at least one head gasket in the 2.5 L engine is expected to fail in the life of nearly all 1999 to 2002 vehicles (estimated 90%probability at 100,000 miles).

  3. Essentially, the head gasket failure is the result of an initial design flaw that manifests as a “latent failure”.

  4. The addition of the “Genuine Cooling System Conditioner” simply delays the failure of the inherent design flaw.

  5. If a failure occurs after 8 years/100,000 miles, Subaru does not take responsibility for head gasket leaks.

  6. The design flaw was inherent in the 2.5 L engine at the time it was manufactured. The design flaw results in a latent failure of one/both of the head gaskets. Adding “Genuine Cooling System Conditioner”, as directed by Subaru, simply delays the HG failure and covers-up the fact that the 2.5 L engine is inherently unreliable.

  7. The cost to repair this failure is approximately $1,500, assuming no internal engine damage. Nearly every Subaru vehicle with this design flaw will need to make this repair. Approximately 385,000 vehicles were in the “Genuine Cooling System Conditioner” (WP99) recall. At $1,500/vehicle, that’s a total cost to consumers of nearly $600 million.

Subaru has masked the problem by having owners add stop leak as a temporary “fix” to a serious reliability problem.

This has resulted in very large costs to Subaru owners who must pay for repairs that resulted from a time zero design defect.

actually Hyundai sales were the most improved in 2008 with a 14% increase while Toyota decreased nearly 40% plus…one of teh best of the US made models is made in the most modern plant in the world in ALA.

On my second Impreza, first was a 2002 Wrx Wagon that ate brakes like candy(the pads always stuck to the rotors after rain or snow) . Even after replacing rotors and pads with high performance versions, the brakes failed way roo fast for normal driving. Never had this problem with any other vehicles with same driving. Second one was after passing up a Toyota since AWD was not available yet settling on a plain 2007 Impreza. Same deal with the poor brake longevity (the pads always stick to the rotors after rain or snow) and the stinking CEL (check engine light) is hyper sensitive and has the annoying feature of disabling my cruise control. It lights up whenever I change brands of gas and disables the cruise until it gets something it likes and 100 miles have passed. Poor design at best. The dealer’s are no help whatsoever. Feel like I’ve been duped twice.

Their head gaskets seem to let go a lot. For the rest of the problems, I could say that Subarus are owned where there is a lot of snow with hills and cold weather with rough roads. Then there is the entire New England area with highway hills and slippery cloverleafs. It’s rough here. Pennsylvania, anyone? If you have a nice running car, you get tempted to drive it like a Ferarri Minivan SUV combination too.