How Long Do Subarus Last? How Many Miles? – In-depth Guide!

Updated: | Author: Steve Freling | Affiliate links may be present.

Subaru claims the title of Kelley Blue Book’s Most Trusted Brand for seven years running. Their vehicles are known to be innovative, long-lasting, and able to handle tough terrain. Most potential Subaru owners want to know if their claims of a long lifespan are true.

Are Subarus really a trustworthy brand? Just how long do they last, anyway? Is one model better than the other? How do they compare to other similarly sized vehicles? Let’s find out!

Most Subaru models keep running for up to 200,000-250,000 miles, or 13-17 years (assuming an annual mileage of 15,000 miles). However, with proper maintenance and responsible driving habits, a Subaru can remain on the road for up to 300,000 miles or 20 years. This makes its longevity much higher than the average vehicle lifespan of 200,000 miles or 13 years.

How Many Miles Does a Subaru Last?

Subaru owners state that their vehicles usually last at least 200,000 miles, with proper care and maintenance. Some owners even report that their Subarus lasted for 300,000 or more when driven in mild weather and smooth terrain.

According to ‘Car and Driver’ this is average to above-average longevity. Normally, a car will run up to about 200,000 miles.

How Many Years Does a Subaru Last?

On average, a car is driven about 15,000 miles per year. If you do the math, a Subaru should last for over 13 years. In fact, according to Torque News, 96% of Subarus are still up and driving at the 12-year mark. The average vehicle lifespan is reported to be around 12-13 years.

Of course, the longevity of any vehicle depends on maintenance, the environment, and driving behavior.

Are Subarus Reliable?

Reliability is an important factor for any vehicle! No one wants to be stranded by the side of the road with a broken-down car, or in the shop every other week for an expensive repair.

U.S. News and World Report give the 2022 Subaru Forester a reliability score of 83/100. This puts it in the ‘great’ range for reliability. It is rated number 5 out of 14 compact SUVs.

According to Consumer Reports 2020 Automotive Reliability Report, Subaru was the 7th most reliable brand, overall.

Repair Pal gives Subaru a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5, or above average. The average annual cost for repairs on a Subaru is $617. This is lower than the average national cost of $652 across all vehicle brands. Most problems did not occur until after the vehicle reached 100,000 miles.

Repair Pal also reported that Subarus visit the repair shop on average of 0.3 times a year for unexpected repairs. This is slightly lower than the national average of 0.4 times per year for most vehicles.

What is the History of Subaru?

Subaru is a Japanese company that started in 1954. In 1968, Subarus came to America for the first time. Their American headquarters was built in the Delaware Valley area, where it remains today. The American manufacturing facility is in Lafayette, Indiana. The corporate headquarters is in Ebisu, Tokyo.

The first Subaru sold in America was the Subaru360. Many people thought that it was an ugly car, but it was characterized by the same innovative engineering as Subarus today.

In the 1970s, Subarus were a lot more common in America as they introduced their first 4 wheel drive station wagon. In 1996, the popular Subaru Outback was introduced.

Subarus can be found across the globe, including marketing and sales facilities in the United States, Canada, Asia, and the United Kindom.

What is Unique About Subaru?

Subaru boasts several unique designs and engineering features. They have a small group of devoted enthusiasts who like the rugged, all-terrain nature of Subarus.

Design of the Boxer Engine

Subaru is best known for their boxer engine, a horizontally opposed engine. In a boxer engine, the cylinders are located on the sides of the central crankshaft.

A boxer engine provides the vehicle with a lower center of gravity and a balanced distribution of weight. This helps with stability and safety, especially for top-heavy or tall vehicles.

All-wheel Drive Capability

Subarus are designed to handle rough terrain. They have all-wheel drive and rough road capabilities that make them appealing to drivers who want to go off the beaten path.

Do Subarus Hold Their Value?

Subarus are known to hold their value better than other car brands, and typically have higher than average resale value. In fact, according to Car Edge, Subaru is ranked number one in retained value after 3, 5, and 7 years of ownership.

The top-ranked model year for residual value in a Subaru is 2020. This means that 2020 Subarus hold their value better than any other make or year.

What Are the Most Common Problems with Subarus?

Subarus are generally highly regarded as tough, durable, reliable vehicles. However, no vehicle is completely free from issues.

Faulty Head Gasket

The most common engine issue for Subarus is a leaky head gasket. There were two rounds of faulty head gaskets in all models of Subarus from 1996-2005. This problem caused coolant and oil leaks. Subaru extended its warranties to try to fix the problem.

High Oil Consumption

There have been consistent reports of Subarus with excessive oil consumption. This affected more than 650,000 Subarus made between 2011-2014. There was a lawsuit filed due to excessive oil consumption. Subaru settled with the owners of the faulty vehicles.

How Can I Make a Subaru Last Longer?

A vehicle is an investment. Most drivers want to do everything they can to make that investment last as long as possible. Here’s how you can make the most of your Subaru.

Driving Habits

Did you know that your driving habits affect the longevity of your vehicle? Here are some tips to keep your Subaru on the road as long as possible.

Be Careful During the Break-in Period

The first 1,000 miles on a vehicle are known as the “break-in” period. Baby your car during these miles. Keep your speed under 75 MPH and RPMs below 3,500. This gentle period allows the piston rings to shape themselves to the cylinders without any extra stress.

Warm up the Engine on Cold Days

Allow your car to warm up on cold days before you drive. By allowing the car to idle in cold weather, the engine can warm up slowly. Turn the engine on 30-60 seconds before you drive, then drive slowly for the first five minutes.

Don’t Speed

Slow down! Excessive speed is damaging to your engine. It makes the engine parts move faster and work harder, and uses more fuel. Ideal cruising speed for most vehicles is 50-55 MPH. By increasing the speed to 70 MPH, you use 160 percent more horsepower.

Lighten the Load

Extra weight in the vehicle also puts a strain on the engine. Don’t tow heavy loads if your car isn’t rated for towing. Avoid leaving heavy cargo in the trunk for a long time while driving.

Maintenance Schedule

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your Subaru on the road as long as possible. Check the manual for maintenance recommendations.

Oil Changes

Clean oil is essential to the life of your engine. Change the oil every 3,000 miles, no matter what. Regular oil changes will save your engine in the long run.

CV Boots

The CV Boots keep water and grease out of the joint. This is one of the most common culprits in a Subaru breakdown. Typically, the CV Boots need to be replaced around 75,000 miles in most Subarus. Check on them periodically to avoid a CV boot blowout.

Fluid Levels

This is another simple maintenance task that is often forgotten. Check your fluids religiously! By spending a little time and money to check and refill fluids, you will save time and money down the road.

Regularly check and top off the following fluids:

  • Coolant
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Brake Fluid
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Oil Levels

Valve Cover Gasket

The valve cover gasket tends to break down as time goes on. When this happens, the car will leak oil. The engine light may come on, or you may notice a burning smell. Check the gasket periodically to make sure it is still sealing properly.

Power Steering Pump

The power steering pump moves the power steering fluid to the steering system. When it goes out, steering will become difficult. Many Subarus need a new power steering pump after 100,000 miles. Check it for leaks or wear periodically.

How Long Does Subaru Forester Last?

According to Consumer Reports, the Forester is one of Subaru’s most popular and most reliable vehicles. This sturdy, small SUV typically runs for 250,000 miles or 13-17 years.

It has similar longevity to the popular Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CRV. The Subaru Forester ranked better in terms of longevity than the Mazda CX-5.

How Long Does Subaru Outback Last?

The Subaru Outback is a small, rugged vehicle that is valued for its durability and long life span. In fact, most Subaru Outbacks will last 250,000-300,000 miles, which is well above the average 200,000-mile lifespan of most vehicles.

According to longevity reports, the Subaru Outback will outlast the Hyundai Santa Fe but has similar longevity to the popular Toyota RAV4.

How Long Does Subaru Impreza Last?

The Impreza is Subaru’s compact car model. This durable, reputable car will drive for 200,000-250,000 miles or 13-17 years with proper maintenance. This gives it a slightly longer lifespan than the average car.

The Subaru Impreza has a similar lifespan to the Toyota Corolla and the Mazda 3. However, according to longevity reports, the Honda Civic has better longevity.

How Long Does Subaru Legacy Last?

The Subaru Legacy was rated by Consumer Reports as the second most likely vehicle to reach 200,000 miles. Its normal longevity is even longer than that and may last up to 300,000 miles, or 20 years of service.

The Subaru Legacy has a similar lifespan to a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. However, it is usually on the road longer than the similarly sized Mazda6.

Final Thoughts

Subaru typically has a reputation as a reliable, long-lasting, rugged vehicle. Most of the models have higher than average lifespans.

You can expect a Subaru to last at least 200,000 miles or 13 years with 15,000 miles per year. According to reports, though, it is likely that a Subaru could last at least 250,000-300,000 miles or up to 20 years! If you own a Subaru, you should have many happy years of driving ahead!

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About Steve Freling

Steve has worked for more than 20 years as an automotive mechanic, and later run his own repair shop for both cars and motorcycles. He's a maintenance freak, and generally pretty good at troubleshooting!

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