1998 Subaru Outback 2.5L flat 4 from North America

Summary:

Tough

Faults:

I am the third owner, and thankfully the head gaskets were properly fixed long before I bought this car.

Repairs done/to be done:

Replaced both front axles - driver's side CV started to click when turning, will soon replace the right rear wheel bearing. Small oil leak (probably crank seal or cam seal(s)).

Minor issues:

Headlights seem to burn out in pairs (very strange). Rear wiper stopped working. HVAC & radio/tape player control panel lights burned out.

These all seem to rust behind the left rear wheel. Almost every 1st gen Outback/Legacy I see in Minnesota has a little rust here.

I am willing to do maintenance and minor repairs until the engine or the transmission die. I think this car can make it past 300,000 miles easily.

General Comments:

The sign of a good car is one that lets you know what's wrong long before it breaks, and gives you adequate time to fix the issue. This is very true of the front axles that I've had fixed, and the rear bearing and oil leak that will soon be fixed.

It has never left me stranded or failed to start, even on a -13F day last year.

It is UNSTOPPABLE in snow. Granted I've never owned a truck or SUV with a transfer case 4x4 system, yet it has never gotten stuck in harsh Minnesota winters. Driving through 6" of snow feels like going through a light dusting.

Not the most comfortable seats for long trips (I've driven between Minneapolis and Chicago several times now), but this is a very minor non-issue. Poor cup holder location; again, I could really care less.

General Subaru-specific tips:

Always rotate tires on an AWD car often, so the diameter doesn't vary between the front & rear tires, or you will damage the AWD system. Make sure the timing belt is changed every 105,000 miles. The 2.5 engine is an interference engine, and if the timing belt snaps, pistons and valves will collide.

I would definitely buy another Subaru again, but I am disappointed how big the Outback got in its 4th body style (2010-current). This is supposed to be a station wagon, not a crossover SUV-like thing...?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th November, 2013

1998 Subaru Outback Legacy 2.5 from North America

Summary:

Reliable

Faults:

Rear struts had to be replaced at 120,000 miles.

CV boots eventually tore, and had to be replaced at around 150,000 miles for the right side, and 189,000 for the left side.

Factory installed car alarm. At about 130,000 miles it started to go berserk when others hit their key fobs. So I solved that by cutting the wire to the alarm sound maker. Lights still flash.

General Comments:

Except for old age problems on things like struts and CV boots, this car has had zero problems! I always get the oil, transmission fluid and brake fluid changed when I'm supposed to. Spark plugs, fuel filter, air filter, that kind of stuff. It has cost me almost nothing to maintain this car!

I have had no transmission problems or head gasket problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st January, 2013

1998 Subaru Outback 2.5 from North America

Summary:

Great all weather wagon that is almost unstoppable

Faults:

Weird drop in rpm and speed gauge, but still able to drive fine. Took it to repair shop; didn't find a thing.

General Comments:

Wasn't looking for a fast car or a great mpg. I wanted a good all weather car that I can do whatever I want and go anywhere. It handles OK, rides fine, but isn't quick by a long shot. So what. AWD is great for winters... no major issues yet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 2011

1998 Subaru Outback 2.5L from North America

Faults:

I am the owner of a 98 Subaru Outback. I too have experienced head gasket problems... My Outback has 196,000 miles. I bought a repair manual and fixed it myself... stop whining when your Subaru blows a head gasket at 150000, and learn how to fix it!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st December, 2010

17th Aug 2012, 13:27

What was the DIY head gasket fix it cost?