2003 Subaru Outback LX from North America


Never buy Subaru


At 40K, the head gasket failed.

At 31K, the brakes needed to be rebuilt, top to bottom.

Somewhere between 25K and 35K, the air conditioner and the radio stopped working.

Subaru has a history and a known inability to design HGs, yet they keep producing cars that consistently fail. Look it up on-line and the evidence is plentiful.

I will NEVER buy another Subaru. This is the second one I've had, and was told at the dealership that the "old days of HG failure were behind the company". The fact that he knew about the historical problem, and that there was a silent recall of 1999-2002 Subarus for HG failure, says loads about their honesty.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th June, 2010

2003 Subaru Outback 4 cylinder from North America


Great car, until the head gaskets fail, which they will at ~60,000-100,000 miles


Replaced radiator at about 56000 miles.

Head gaskets went out at 57000 miles.

General Comments:

Drove great, until the head gaskets blew and started overheating. I didn't know that Subaru had a history of this, and never truly fixed the problem. We drove a 1992 Subaru Loyale over 200,000 miles, and figured the '03 Outback would be just as durable, apparently not. We are very disappointed that this problem is happening, and also to find out that the fix is only temporary until the head gaskets crack again. As soon as it's out of the shop, we're trading in for a Toyota Rav4.

Luckily (??) our head gaskets blew before 60,000 miles, and the dealership mechanic has worked it out that Subaru will cover up to $1500 of the repair costs, so we'll only pay about $300 to get it out of the shop and trade it in.

It would be awesome if Subaru fixed designed their engines so that they would have a long-lasting car again, and then one day I'd maybe consider driving Subaru again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st February, 2009

2003 Subaru Outback Legacy 2.5 from North America


A car only for people who trade their vehicle in every other year or so. It doesn't hold up


Head gaskets leaking, heads are warped, etched. Will need to be re-milled.

Valves are so bad that they will most likely have to be replaced or at least re-bored.

This car was in to a Subaru garage for every service until the last 2 oil changes. The mechanics at the Subaru garage never mentioned any of this to me. I had a full service done at 63, 000 miles; all the standard stuff and the timing belt replaced.

I asked then about the loud clicking noise that the engine was making, and I was told that this was typical and not to worry about it.

I shifted to a local garage/mechanic because of travel cost and service costs with the high gas prices, and that was when all these problems were discovered.

Research on line was clear that getting this fixed at a Subaru shop would be considerably more expensive than getting it done locally.

Subaru apparently has had a defective design for many years, and they at one time extended the warranty to 100,000 to cover all the failures.. But the 2001 on up are limited to 60,000, so owners falling into this mileage and year mine field need to consider the possibilities.

Depending on which on line survey or discussion site you visit, 18 - 21% of the Subaru owners reporting, talk about head gasket failure between 65,00 and 110,000.. So this expensive repair on a 6-7 year old car but with relatively low mileage is a real bite. And I think it says a lot about the lack of quality control in this particular model of Subaru..

I definitely will never purchase another one. It's a shame because it has been dependable to a fault up until now. But for the engine to have a major failure just a couple ticks past the warranty limit is a red flag. Since this has been an ongoing problem for at least a decade, I am assuming they are in no hurry to fix it. They have a very aggressive sales campaign to existing owners. I can see why now. I thought I had purchased a car that was an equivalent to a Honda or a Toyota for longevity. Boy was I wrong! I wish now I had traded in when I could. Who would have thought that such a vehicle would be ready for the scrap heap at 79,000.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th January, 2009