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Common Subaru Problems (And What to Do About Them)

Subarus are some of the most practical and reliable vehicles gracing our roads today. Compared to many of their competitors, Subarus are beacons of reliability, able to withstand the turmoils of daily driving, off-roading, and long road trips with relative ease. But, like all cars, they are not perfect. Meaning that, like all cars, they have their share of issues that potential buyers should be cognizant of before making a purchase.

Fortunately, there are a few central Subaru problems that buyers and owners should note; these are issues that are commonly seen on Subarus. If you can learn to deal with these problems, you should be in the clear, as you’re unlikely to find many other issues or problems that arise with your Subaru. Here are a few of the common Subaru problems, as well as some tips for how to prevent issues, and handle them when they do occur.

Common Problems With Subarus


Leaking and broken head gaskets seem to be the bane of Subaru’s existence.

Leaking and broken head gaskets: Head gaskets seem to be the bane of Subaru’s existence. It’s an issue that the company can’t fully shake. With that said, current iterations of Subaru’s models have greatly improved head gaskets, and you’re far less likely to find issues with the gaskets in a Subaru that was made in the last decade (though it still remains a minor issue). Head gaskets in the late-90s and early 2000s, however, were a serious problem, specifically in the Outback and Forrester, but also in the Impreza and Legacy. With models in those years, you can almost be guaranteed that the head gaskets will malfunction, and sooner rather than later.

Discontinued tires: Like all vehicles, Subaru has tires that are prone to popping, leaking, or being punctured. The problem, however, is that Subaru constantly updates their tires, and discontinues the old line. The result is that, if you need one tire replaced, a Subaru dealer will tell you that the line has been discontinued, and you’ll need to replace all four tires with the newest iteration. What you thought was a small problem, just turned into a big one.

Knock sensor malfunction: Subarus are known for having the knock sensor malfunction. The knock sensor essentially listens to your engine, to gauge that it is firing correctly. If it hears otherwise, it will alter the engine. When the knock sensor cracks, it falsely hears issues with your engine, and then adjusts incorrectly, which hurts both your performance and your mileage.

Things To Do to Prevent and Handle These Problems

Take it to a mechanic: It goes without saying that when these issues occur, they must be fixed. It’s important to take your Subaru to a good mechanic. For Subaru owners in British Columbia, give us a call at Collins Automotive. One of the benefits a place like Collins Automotive is that we are not a Subaru dealership, which means that, in the case of the discontinued tire issue, we can seek out the one tire you need, rather than forcing you to purchase four new tires.

Do your research: Once the head gasket is replaced, most users report that their vehicle will go 250,000 – 350,000 kilometers without gasket issues. Save yourself time and hassle by purchasing a Subaru that has already handled this issue.

Be thorough: When you notice a warning signal (such as a funny noise, or leaking oil), take your car to the mechanic. Chances are you have a small issue that can be resolved before it becomes a big issue.

With these tips, you should know what to look for, and how to handle any problems.

Collins Automotive

Family Owned Auto Shop, Serving Abbotsford, BC and surrounding area since 1993

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