Many recent studies show Subaru losing the battle against Honda and Toyota when it comes to reliability. As a shop owner that specializes in Subaru repair, I believe Subaru still makes a great car when it comes to safety standards but it is lacking in reliability when compared to the two giants, Honda and Toyota.
There are a few common failures that our Subaru mechanics are seeing lately that are on the higher end of costs. Here’s why Subaru doesn’t tend to be as reliable as Honda and Toyota.
#1. Subaru Head Gasket Failure
Subaru’s have been known for head gasket failures for many years. Over my years of working with my Subaru specialists, it is common to have Subaru’s come in leaking fluid from the head gasket area around the 100k – 125k mile range. Subaru head gaskets can leak engine oil or, even worse, coolant.
This is not the end of the world, but Subaru drivers should plan for a repair with a fairly high cost around this mile range. It appears that the latest engine packages offered by Subaru have solved this common problem, but only time will tell.
As an independent Subaru repair shop, it typically takes a few years for cars to come out of the factory warranty and start coming into our shops. We will be keeping a close eye out for fluid-leaking issues on the new models.
#2. CVT Transmission
In recent years, Subaru has begun utilizing a CVT style transmission in its cars. This goes the same for most manufacturers. There are emissions standards and fuel consumption standards in play, which is why a lot of manufacturers are going to this style of transmission. We are seeing a high number of failures with Subaru transmissions, and unfortunately, they are fairly high-cost replacements.
We are finding the fluid in the Subaru CVT transmissions is getting too hot and breaking down. This eventually leads to failure. In years past, we have recommended waiting 50k miles to perform your first transmission service and then every 30k miles thereafter. With the amount of heat and high number of failures, it is now our recommendation to perform your first transmission service at 30k miles and then every 15k miles thereafter.
If you keep good quality fluid in the transmission, it reduces the chance of failure exponentially.
#3. AWD system
The biggest reason why Subaru is so popular here in Utah is the fact these cars are all wheel drive. Winters here in Utah can be a lot to deal with on the roads, but an AWD Subaru makes your life a little more safe.
With the safety of the AWD also comes some components that can be damaged or worn out. Most other makes, like Honda and Toyota sedans, are front wheel drive. Subaru’s AWD system consists of a power transfer unit (transfer case), rear driveline, and rear differential, in addition to the front transaxle that most cars have. The additional parts require a couple extra services due on your Subaru every 30k miles.
The leading cause of failures we are seeing on Subaru AWD systems is when people run a mismatched set of tires. If you have an AWD or 4WD vehicle, it is very important to stay on top of tire rotations and keep the tires within 02/32 of total diameter.
Refer to this article for a better explanation: https://www.shadetreeautomotive.net/should-you-replace-all-4-tires-on-awd-cars/.
Are Subarus Good Vehicles?
Although I do not feel Subaru is making vehicles as reliable as Honda or Toyota, they are still a great vehicle for many reasons. They are one of the safest vehicles on the road, and a great vehicle for our Utah winters.
If your Subaru (or other type of vehicle!) is in need of service, swing by Shadetree Automotive located in Layton, UT. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to providing each and every customer with optimal service to keep their vehicle in the best condition possible for as long as possible. Contact us today to learn more about the different makes and models we service and what our services consist of.