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Subaru - 300,000 miles?

I’ve got a 95 Subaru Legacy wagon with 190,000 miles on it. Is it realistic to think that I can drive it to 300,000? If so, what do I need to do to get it to that mileage?



Follow the owner’s manual recommendations for all services. May not need to do anything special.

Well, lots will depend on how it was maintained up until now. To have a chance of 300k you should have been doing everything in the manual, plus regular fluid changes. And, of course, it just takes $$, assuming no crash and no significant rust.

My wife drove a 1982 Subaru while I was stationed in Maine. We sold it with over 250K and it still ran like new. It was a front wheel drive, 4 speed manual with a 4 cylinder engine. Maintenance is the key to long life with a little good luck thrown in.

Maintain it 100%. If something needs to be repaired do it immediately, don’t let little problems stack up. Maintain fluids and belts and hoses meticulously. Even if you do everything right, there is no guarantee, it could die tomorrow.

If your '95 is like my '96, rust might become a bigger problem than mechanical issues.

My car only has 135K miles, but the winter salt is already taking a toll on it. Still runs really well, though.

As others have said, following the maintenance schedule is key to long life.

I got 280,000 out of a one liter 3 cylinder Geo Metro. Why can’t the Subaru go that far?
Maintain the car and keep fixing the stuff that breaks.

One reason you see so many nearly pristine 50+ year old airplanes at small airports is because the FAA requires rigorous annual inspections of the airframe and powerplant and mandatory repairs of small problems.

As others point out, with good care you should be able to reach that mileage without major repairs; at the present rate, you will need another 9 year to get to 300,000. Unless you live in the dry SW, you may have corrosion problems, which are costly to rectify.

Good luck!

“One reason you see so many nearly pristine 50+ year old airplanes at small airports is because the FAA requires rigorous annual inspections of the airframe and powerplant and mandatory repairs of small problems.”

Not to mention the fact that there is little wear and tear on the airframe itself, whether it’s sitting or flying. Airplane engines run hour by hour at essentially the same RPM, which increases their longevity too. My C-170B is 58 this year.

As for the original question, whether or not this particular Soobie will make to to 300K lies in its previous maintenance, not (entirely) its future maintenance. Keep a fresh timing belt(s?) in it, and drive on.

It’s been my experience that pretty much any car can go over 200,000 miles. It requires preventive maintenance, fixing expected part failures (brakes, fuel pumps, new alternator, batteries, etc.), and some luck.

Most of all, it requires a high tolerance to minor nuisances/aggravations – constantly topping off oil, broken power windows, non-working A/C, worn out seats, permanently on “Check Engine” light, randomly blown fuses, etc.

If I had a Subaru that I really wanted to go over 300,000 miles, I’d do a few things. 1) Always have 4 matching tires that I religiously rotate; 2) Change engine coolant more often than recommended in the manual; 3) frequently service the differentials.

I would set your goal to 250k and feel lucky to get 300k. The car is 15 years old.

Why does it matter? Is there something major you are about to spend money on and trying to make that decision?

I got over 320,000 on my '84 with little more than regular oil changes and a few drive axles before I finally got rid of it after 20 years, and the engine was still going strong. Sure, not every car is going to be as trouble-free as that one was, but there’s really no reason to expect otherwise if you take care of it. My '94 Legacy has 175k and still purring along, and I’d bet on making it to 300k with this one, too. Like everyone else said, do the maintenance.

How the dickens did you avoid the head-gasket failures that plagued the '90s Subies?

Obviously they haven’t all failed, but I wonder if there’s some trick to avoiding that nightmare (happened to my son and his wife’s '99 Outback, repaired for $1,000, and failed again a year later?they gave up and bought a Honda).

We got a used 2007 Outback for my wife, and while the dealer claims that newer Subies don’t have the head-gasket problem any more, I remain a skeptic (flat fours, I’m told, are prone to them). Thoughts, anyone?

/Mr Lynn

Subaru is a mixed blessing- the AWD and great mpg is the big plus, the head gasket and other issues (like being a total pain in the ass to even change spark plugs) are the minus.
I’ve had several, but if I didn’t do my own repairs they would have cost me a fortune to keep on the road. Definitely one of the better and safer cars out there, but far from the least expensive to own.
Flat fours are prone to head gasket issues because the coolant doesn’t drain out when sitting the way a verticle orientation allows. The problem is accelerated by the ground cable from the battery going to the block, which sets up an electro-chemical reaction that causes the deterioration of the gasket material. Changing the coolant at least every 2 years (preferrably annually) helps a lot, because the coolant picks up the acid gasses from the battery.