Subaru has built a reputation for reliability and durability, with their vehicles often celebrated for their all-wheel drive capabilities and unique boxer engines. However, like any manufacturer, Subaru has had its share of issues, particularly with certain engines. Here’s a detailed look into Subaru engines, highlighting which ones to avoid, common problems, and overall reliability.

Are Subaru Engines Reliable?

Are Subaru Engines Reliable

Subaru engines are generally reliable and designed for long-term use, especially when properly maintained. The unique boxer configuration offers a lower center of gravity, contributing to better balance and handling. However, some engines have been more problematic, leading to a mixed perception of Subaru’s reliability.

Which Subaru Engines To Avoid?

1. Subaru 2.5-L Turbo 4 Cylinder (EJ255 and EJ257)

These engines, particularly from mid-2000s models, have been notorious for issues such as head gasket leaks, turbocharger failures, and rod bearing failures. They were used in performance models like the WRX STI and Forester XT.

2. SUBARU EJ25 (Non-Turbo)

The naturally aspirated version of the EJ25 has also faced head gasket problems, particularly in models from the late 1990s through the late 2000s. While Subaru has made improvements over the years, older vehicles are still at risk.

3. Subaru EJ205/EJ207/EJ20G Engine

These earlier 2.0-liter turbo engines, found in late 1990s and early 2000s WRX and STI models, are known for their performance but also for reliability issues like head gasket failures and piston ring land failures.

Subaru Engine Problems

Oil Leakage

Oil leaks are common in older Subaru engines, especially around the head gasket and oil pan. These issues are often due to the boxer engine‘s horizontal layout, which can exacerbate seal and gasket wear.

Oil and Coolant in the Chamber

Head gasket problems can allow oil and coolant to mix, leading to overheating and potential engine failure if not addressed promptly.

Subaru Boxer Engine Problems

The boxer engine design, while offering benefits in balance and performance, can be prone to specific issues like:

  • Head Gasket Leaks: Particularly in the EJ series engines.
  • Oil Consumption: Some newer models have been reported to consume oil more rapidly than expected.
  • Complexity in Maintenance: The horizontal layout can make certain repairs and maintenance more labor-intensive compared to traditional inline or V engines.

Why Do Subaru Engines Fail?

Failure often results from a combination of age, high mileage without adequate maintenance, and inherent design flaws in specific models. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are crucial in preventing major issues.


Which Year Does Subaru Have Engine Problems?

Models from the late 1990s to the early 2010s are most commonly cited for engine issues, especially those with the EJ25 and the early 2.5-L turbo engines.

Which Subaru Engine Has Head Gasket Problems?

The EJ25, particularly in non-turbocharged versions, is infamous for head gasket issues. Turbocharged models also have their share of problems but are more known for turbo and rod bearing issues.

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Subaru Boxer Engine?

  • More complex maintenance and repairs.
  • Potential for oil leaks and consumption.
  • Certain models prone to head gasket failures.

What Are The Advantages Of A Subaru Boxer Engine?

  • Lower center of gravity for improved handling and stability.
  • Reduced vibration due to the opposing piston design.
  • Compact design that can lead to improved safety in frontal collisions.

How Many Miles Will A Subaru Boxer Engine Last?

With proper maintenance, a Subaru boxer engine can last over 200,000 miles. Lifespan can be significantly affected by driving habits, maintenance quality, and the specific engine model.

Is It Expensive To Fix A Subaru Engine?

  • Repair costs can vary widely depending on the issue and the specific model of Subaru. Head gasket repairs, for example, can be costly due to the labor-intensive nature of the job on boxer engines. However, routine maintenance and smaller repairs are generally in line with other vehicles in Subaru’s class.

Are Subaru Engines Easy To Work On?

  • The boxer engine’s design can make certain maintenance tasks, like spark plug changes, more challenging compared to inline or V engines. However, many Subaru enthusiasts appreciate the layout for its balance and performance benefits and find working on these engines rewarding.

Which Subaru Model Is The Most Reliable?

  • Models like the Subaru Forester and Outback have consistently ranked high in reliability ratings over the years. Newer models, especially those made after 2010, have seen improvements in engine design and reliability.

Do All Subarus Have Head Gasket Problems?

  • Not all Subaru models have head gasket problems. The issue is most prevalent in certain models and years, particularly older 2.5-liter engines. Subaru has made improvements in materials and design to address this issue in newer models.

Can A Subaru Last 300,000 Miles?

  • Yes, a Subaru can last 300,000 miles with diligent maintenance and care. There are many reports from owners who have achieved or surpassed this milestone. The key to longevity is regular maintenance, including oil changes, timing belt replacements, and addressing any issues promptly.

What Is The Best Subaru Engine?

  • Opinions vary, but many consider the FA20DIT (2.0-liter direct-injection turbo) engine used in newer WRX models and the FB20 (2.0-liter naturally aspirated) engine found in models like the Impreza and Crosstrek to be among the best in terms of reliability and performance balance.

Are Subaru Cars Good In Snow?

  • Subaru vehicles are renowned for their excellent performance in snow, largely due to their symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. This feature provides superior traction and control in slippery conditions, making Subarus a popular choice in regions that experience heavy snowfall.

Why Are Used Subarus So Expensive?

  • Used Subarus often retain their value well due to their reputation for reliability, durability, and excellent performance in adverse weather conditions. The brand’s loyal following and the perception of longevity also contribute to higher resale values.

What Is The Most Common Problem With Subaru?

  • Beyond the engine-specific issues already discussed, some common problems across various Subaru models include suspension components wearing out, like bushings and bearings, and electrical gremlins, particularly in older models.


While Subaru engines, particularly certain models of their boxer engines, have had their share of problems, they can still be reliable and long-lasting with proper care and maintenance. Potential buyers should be aware of the specific issues related to the engines mentioned above, especially when considering older or high-mileage vehicles. As with any vehicle purchase, a thorough inspection and understanding of the vehicle’s maintenance history are crucial.


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