Subaru Crosstrek rust

Anyone know why I would have major rust on my exhaust system? My car is only six years old. I was shocked when I saw this. My dealer kept saying “you have some rust” every time I would take it in for an oil change. Finally I said I want to see this rust you’re talking about. I was completely flabbergasted. I took it to another mechanic and they said it’s the worse they have ever seen. Worse than up north cars. I live in Florida so no salted roads here. They said my best bet would be to buy another car. Wow. What could have caused this?!?

Those folks have never really seen rust. There is no rust on the bottom of the car, only rust on the exhaust and drive line. If it rusts to the point of a hole developing, you just replace the exhaust pipe and components. No big deal. Looks like a lot of short trips that never heat the exhaust up to dry the pipes off.


Do you park on pavement or damp ground? Parking on gravel or soil can help those parts rust faster.

+1 to Bing’s comments. The chassis of the car looks pristine, so the worst case scenario for the OP is the replacement of the exhaust system when appropriate.

Or, he/she could buy a new car. I’m probably going out on a limb here, but I think that a complete exhaust system would be a bit cheaper than a new car. :wink:


Man, that’s rich! In a word- hardly.

Sounds like a dealer recommendation. YOUR best bet is to buy another car because the exhaust is rusty? Or theirs? It’s an exhaust, nobody in the rust belt throws out a car because the exhaust rusts out- it’s a common replacement. Just because yours appears to have rusted prematurely, it’s no reason to throw out the baby with the bath water so to speak.

As noted, only the exhaust and drive shaft components look rusty. I do find it curious that
the driveshaft is rust free where shielded by the exhaust. Are you the original owner? Did a prior owner like to ride along the beach in the sand??


That exhaust rust is worse than I’ve seen in decades on my cars here in MN and WI. If that is Subaru original equipment, or whatever it is, it is not up to the quality I have come to expect on new or on aftermarket exhaust parts.

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No gravel or soil.

No an independent mechanic told me it would be cheaper to buy a new car.

Thank you for the zoomed-in picture

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I would run, not walk, out of that establishment. Did they offer to buy your old car by any chance?

What is the year and how many miles? Did you buy it new?


… and I would find a new mechanic.


I only take short trips. I Googled and found that might be my problem too. The dealer said it was because of where I live on Tampa Bay and the streets flood at high tides with salt water. I avoid going through it. It makes more sense to me that it’s short trips because it’s concentrated in the exhaust system. So you recommend getting a new exhaust system?

I take it for short trips, which someone replied that could be my problem. I also have driven it through salt water that comes from Tampa Bay during high tides. I avoid going through the water now. But the rust is concentrated on the exhaust system so it tells me it’s the short trips. That’s been my dilemma, short trips or high tide flooded roads.

Not a significant problem at all. Worst case you get a new exhaust when leaks (noise) occurs, but that could be years.


It may be the salt water splashing on the exhaust and drive line. The lack of rust on the drive line above the exhaust may be because salt water didn’t splash in there. Once the exhaust starts to leak, you should replace it completely. Probably the best way to deal with the drive line, if you want to, is to clean off the rust and paint it.

Makes more sense that it’s short trips. I only do in town driving.

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It’s a 2017 with 30,000+ miles. I only drive in town hence the low mileage.

As they said in the old detective movies… The plot thickens…
Doing solely local, short trip driving is extremely bad for the engine*, as well as the battery and the exhaust system. Is it possible that your mechanic noted excessive sludge build-up in the engine in addition to the surface rust on the exhaust system, and that was what led him to suggest buying a new car?

*Has your mechanic explained to you that you need to change the oil on the basis of elapsed time, rather than on the basis of odometer mileage? Even though you don’t log many miles, you need to change your oil at least twice per year. Hopefully you have been doing so.

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It only takes a mile or two for the exhaust pipe to get hot, it takes much longer for the driveshaft to get hot.

Distance isn’t as much of a factor as driving through sea water is.