30th Dec 2008, 16:46

I'm a little surprised at the problems as well. I have a '97 Legacy Outback, 150,000 miles on it, been neglected and abused, and is the single most problem free car I have ever owned. Bought it used it 2001, at which point it had already had a water pump replaced under warranty, but that was about the only problem it's had. Since then I've replaced the brakes, tires, oil changes, changed the tranny fluid once, I think I replaced the battery once, and that's it.

It's in the shop right now for some long overdue maintenance - timing belts, one bad axle/CV joint, new exhaust past the converter, new belts, new water pump - all normal wear for a car that old. I've owned lots of cars from GM, Ford, Toyota, Mazda, Volkswagen, and this is the single most problem free car I have ever known. Much more perfect than I ever imagined when I bought it. And the parts and service is about the same as Chevy and Ford, rather than Mazda and Toyota repair prices. All the listed work above is running me under $1500 with parts, which is much less than I expected.

That said, I know they made some serious blunders starting around the '98 models. Some stupid head gasket material that gets destroyed by coolant, if you can believe it. Maybe you got a late '97 model or something. As for mine, I couldn't be happier. Best car I've ever owned, period. Sorry to hear you got a lemon.

10th Feb 2009, 20:07

I don't know what to tell you. I have the same car. I bought it at about 2.5 years old (late summer of '99). Today is Feb. 10, 2009 and it's out there running fine. 110,000 miles. My check engine light comes on when the tank is full. I'm 90% sure I just need a new gas cap. Big deal.

I've had nothing but good luck with this car. I agree with the other poster; you should've called in a lemon.


31st Aug 2010, 09:43

Your major problem was letting the dealer do the work. You could have had a lot of that work done for much less money somewhere else. It doesn't take rocket science to put on spark plug wires.

23rd Sep 2010, 18:43

I purchased a 1997 Subaru Outback brand new in '97. The engine block cracked at just over 95,000 miles. I have always had the oil changed every 3,000 miles, and kept other things up to date. I had to pay $2500 for a repair. I did not go to a Subaru dealer. It is still leaking, and I have had it in 4 times so far. Next week I have to give up the car again. I hope they can fix it this time. I would not buy another Subaru!

15th Dec 2010, 14:07

My understanding is that Subarus ALL suffer from more problems than most other marques of car. Having known many people who have owned or been fan boys of Subaru, all have regretted it. Over complexity, weak components, poor fuel economy and often lacking in power, even in the turbo ones!

What surprises me is that people often rush out and buy ANOTHER Subaru?! Hoping it will be better... There are certainly more interesting cars produced by Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda.. take your pick!

It's true all cars have their problems, but my god, look at all feedback on just THIS car alone, then compare to any Toyota or Nissan car? I challenge you!

9th May 2011, 02:57

Ugh. Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans (do not get me started with Nissan) had the most unreliable issues that causes the Subaru's negligible little issues to pale in comparison to 10! In the family! 10 Camries (from old to brand spanking new) to have repeated transmission replacements (oh, and they're properly taken care of).

Hondas are generally for people who think that they're easy to maintain; this is useful for taking care constant issues. Oh, and their products are under-planned. The Element? So dangerous to operate even at the small breeze on the Interstate, also worse when it's raining. And it doesn't even do 27 MPG, no less 20.

A Subaru: My old '89 XT6 is at 267K miles, with seldom neglected oil changes and yet, she's still here. My '95 Legacy: now at 205K miles, no problems (Pop hates stickshifts, however). My '02 Outback: No issues to report at 107K miles. My friend's '97 Outback with the EJ25: He did have a faulty head gasket (passenger) but ended up doing the full bill and now, she is heading up the 167K miles.

Find me a Toyota, Honda or Nissan that can do that.

9th May 2011, 19:49

OK, I will. My '96 Toyota Corolla with 191,000 miles on it has yet to give me a serious problem. My '95 Subaru Legacy that I just recently had to scrap? Only 161,000 miles, and it had rotted out so badly that the day before I planned to scrap it due to the rot (and the heavy engine knock), the rear subframe actually punched up through the unibody into the trunk. Subaru = PURE JUNK.

24th May 2011, 22:25

I don’t care what you own, they're all good until they break, and they will all break sometime!

I purchased my first Subaru in May of 2007. It was a 1997 Legacy Outback wagon (5-speed) and it had 164,000 miles on it. In March of 2011 my wife hit a patch of ice and rear-ended a Jeep with it. This totaled both vehicles. I purchased the Subaru back off of the insurance company to fix it. My car is (was) an all original paint with NO rust anywhere or any other damage. The car has 216,000 miles on it now and it has been the most dependable car I have ever owned. After the accident, I purchased another Outback like mine (even the same color) to use as a parts car. Two weeks later I purchased a 1999 Outback Limited with 154,000 miles on it. It runs as well and looks as good as my ‘97.

After I cut the radiator support off of my car, I pulled the engine to replace the timing belt, pulleys, and the water pump. I also changed the clutch (even though it looked almost new), pressure plate, throw out bearing; valve cover gaskets, and the oil pan gasket. At this time the engine looks like a new engine inside, I’ll look at it again at around 300,000 miles. All totaled, I put around $750 in maintaining the car this time. Besides maintenance items, I have only changed the knock sensor and a front axle. I do not believe any of this is a big deal.

Before I purchased the ‘99, I looked at around 10 Outback’s ranging from ‘98 to '02 and could not find one that had no rust on it, top or bottom (I would not have taken the ‘02 LL Bean Edition if the guy gave it to me - RUST). I did not want to purchase a Subaru that was less than I have now.

When you purchase a vehicle, the first one you look at or the cheapest one may not be the best buy. Just because you had problems with a vehicle (any brand) does not make them all bad. Sometimes “lack of” or “poor maintenance” will cause problems you could never imagine.

3rd Jun 2011, 21:24

Just a note of interest for yourself and friends; the knock sensor does nothing for your car. It is a test sensor only, it WILL NOT turn your engine light on, but can leave a code stored, but it is a waste of money to replace, and if someone tells you different, they are not only a moron, but a thief.

I know cars in and out. I also just bought a 97 Subaru Outback wagon automatic. It has 144k. Just replaced head gaskets and water pump, timing belt etc. The car runs awesome. I work for Nissan, and own several. Also own Toyotas and Hondas; all are great cars, and all have their problems. None more than another. The one true car to stay away from is anything VW; they are the worst cars on the market, period...