Subaru Problems

No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Subaru reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

Why is the battery in my 2021 Subaru Forester going flat and how do I fix it?

Answered by CarsGuide 27 Jan 2022

A: If the reason the battery is going flat has anything to do with a fault within the rest of the car, then yes, I would imagine the problem – and the subsequent battery replacement if the battery is damaged – would be a warranty issue. The body computer in modern cars can do curious things with the electrical systems and accessories fitted, and that can sometimes result in a flat battery.

Subaru is not the only brand with this problem, but flat batteries caused by it are definitely not the sort of statutory wear and tear issues that normally exclude a battery from any warranty claims. It would be the same with tyres, brakes and clutches. Normally, when these components wear out its deemed normal wear and tear and is not covered by the car’s warranty. But if a tyre, clutch or braking system fails because of a manufacturing or materials fault, then the new-car warranty should cover it.

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What is the height dimension of an open tail gate from ground level to top on a 2021 Subaru XV?

Answered by CarsGuide 22 Dec 2021

Let me guess; you have either a shorter family member or a car-port or garage with limited height clearance. You might have thought it would be as easy as phoning Subaru Australia and asking the question. Which is what I did, but Subaru Australia couldn’t give me the answer. It’s just not included in the specifications supplied by the Subaru factory. Apparently.

So, I grabbed a tape-measure and headed to a Subaru dealer who allowed me to measure the XV’s tailgate. So here’s how it pans out (bearing in mind I didn’t have a ladder, so the measurements might not be millimetre-perfect): The distance from the ground to the highest part of the open tailgate is 2100mm (as I said, give or take a few); the distance from the ground to the lowest part of the grab-handle that closes the tailgate is 1960mm. Hopefully that helps you out.

 

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Does the 2021 Subaru Outback Touring have any electronics issues?

Answered by CarsGuide 29 Oct 2021

Subaru is firmly committed to the CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) concept as it gives a theoretical efficiency advantage over conventional transmissions. The catch is that to make the CVT feel less alien, many car-makers (including Subaru) engineer in electronic `ratios’ which kind of sidesteps those theoretical advantages.

It’s true that Subaru CVTs have experienced some reliability problems in the past, but in the case of the Outback, that appears to mainly affect vehicles built between 2010 and 2015. After that build date, things improved dramatically on the reliability and durability front, not to mention the driveability and comfort offered by the CVT. So we wouldn’t be too concerned about this aspect of the vehicle. Given that you’re buying a brand-new vehicle, you’ll get the full five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. And as proof of Subaru’s faith in the CVT concept, for the 2018 facelift of the Outback, the CVT got a seventh `ratio’ and a shorter-pitch chain to reduce cabin noise. So a brand-new Subaru CVT should represent the best the concept has ever been.

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What car should I buy to tow a trailer?

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Oct 2021

While turbo-diesels aren’t perfect for everybody, when it comes to towing trailers, they do a pretty impressive job. The combination of a torquey diesel engine with an automatic transmission is a pretty handy one when you have a decent sized trailer hooked up. The caveat with a modern diesel, however, is that if most of your driving is urban running about, then the diesel is probably not for you. That’s because the emissions system on a modern diesel (the particulate filter) needs regular longer runs at freeway speeds to avoid giving trouble. But if, as you say, you tow a trailer often, then that should provide the load on the engine the diesel requires to remain trouble-free.

The good news is that the dominance of the SUV right now means that just about every car-maker has a mid-sized SUV in its showrooms right now. So really, you’re spoiled for choice. I’m not surprised the X-Trail is found a bit wanting at times; even brand-new, that version of the petrol-engined X-Trail could feel a bit underdone. You’ll be amazed at how good newer vehicles have become.

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Does the Subaru Forester's 'boxer' engine feature a timing belt or a chain-driven set-up?

Answered by CarsGuide 6 Sep 2021

Disassemble the engine of the popular SUV, and you might find either a Subaru Forester timing belt or chain driving the valve-gear of the four-cylinder boxer. That’s because the Forester has been with us long enough to have spanned two distinct generations of Subaru engines, the first with a timing belt, the second with a timing chain set-up.

Going back all the way to 1997 when the Forester was launched here, the vehicle used Subaru’s EJ series of engines. That meant they were fitted with a rubber timing belt. That continued right through to the new model in 2008, but for the facelift of that third-gen Forester in 2011, Subaru introduced the FB series of engines, and those were fitted with a timing chain. Simply, then, a 1997 to 2011 Forester will have a timing belt, while any of the fourth-gen Foresters (from 2013 or later) will have a timing chain. And for a brief period from 2011 to 2012, the Forester was fitted with either a timing belt or a timing chain depending on which engine was fitted. The other exception is the turbo-diesel Forester which launched in 2008 and used a timing chain rather than a rubber belt.

Subaru’s factory recommendation for timing belt replacement is every 100,000km for Foresters built from 1997 to 2006, and 125,000km for post-06 models. You also need to change the tensioners at this point as these are the most common culprits for timing-belt failures. Budget on spending the thick end of $1000 for this work. The good news is that, unlike the majority of cars out there, the trade reckons you only need to replace the water pump every second timing-belt change. That’s a remarkable vote of confidence in the basic engine’s durability.

Meantime, the task of the timing chain or timing belt is exactly the same: They take drive from the engine’s crankshaft to the camshaft and, in the process, keep all the moving parts in harmony. Many car makers moved away from a timing chain to the rubber, toothed drive belt as a way of simplifying engine design and driving down the cost of each engine. The rubber timing belt is also quieter in its operation and is also less prone to stretching (as a timing chain can) so the camshaft (commonly referred to as the cam) stays in perfect synch with the rest of the engine’s rotating parts. The rubber belt is a simpler design because it doesn’t need to be tensioned via oil pressure from the engine as many timing chain systems are.

The timing chain, meanwhile, is preferred by some manufacturers because it should last the lifetime of the engine and never need replacement. This isn’t always the case, however, and some engines designs from a variety of manufacturers suffer problems in this regard. But, in a properly maintained engine of sound design, the timing chain should never need attention, while the rubber timing belt generally requires periodic replacement.

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Need to change the oil on my Subaru Forester, but want to know the right type and the best way to go about it

Answered by CarsGuide 5 Aug 2021

A Subaru Forester engine oil change is a great way to start to learn about DIY maintenance and save yourself some money by performing an oil change service at home. Precisely how to change oil on a Subaru Forester is far from a trade secret and essentially involves removing the old oil, fitting a replacement oil filter of the right type and size and then replenishing the engine oil. Okay, it’s not quite that simple, and you need to take into account disposing of the old oil as well as learning the correct tightening specifications for the sump plug and filter. But this is a job that the typical mechanic at a service centre would tackle every day and earn their bread and butter income from. And that’s money you can save at home. Bear in mind, though, that this is not the only maintenance job a Forester requires, but it’s the most common one.

The other issue is knowing when to tackle your Subaru Forester oil change as well as how often to change oil as time and kilometres go by. Waiting for the maintenance light to appear on the dashboard can leave things too long, and you’re much better off learning the correct service interval. This information will be listed in the owner’s manual.

The best Subaru Forester oil type is the one recommended by the manufacturer, and in that case, the petrol and diesel versions of the Forester need a 5W40 and a diesel-specific 5W30 respectively. That applies for cars made from 2008 to 2012 and includes the new 2.5-litre petrol engine introduced with a facelift in very late 2010. The same grade of oil is also specified for the engines fitted to 2013 and 2014 models, while a 5W30 is also the correct oil for the revised diesel engine introduced in 2015 which continued through 2016 and beyond to the end of that model in 2018. Foresters with petrol engines have a 4.8 litre oil capacity, while the diesel engines require almost six litres of oil, so make sure you buy enough as well as a little for top ups in the future.

You should also fit the correct Subaru oil filter when ever you change the engine oil and, for the majority of petrol engined Foresters from this era, the proper filter is a Ryco (or equivalent) Z436, while the turbo-diesel engine requires a Ryco Z148A. Any spare parts store should be able to provide these filters and confirm the correct fitment.

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Will Australia get the 2021 Subaru Levorg?

Answered by CarsGuide 26 Feb 2021

Subaru has told CarsGuide that the 2021 Levorg will, indeed, make it to Australia. There’s also speculation that it will be an even higher performance car this time around with the new 2.4-litre turbocharged engined from the WRX tipped to power the new Levorg wagon. The only catch is that, due to the need to supply other markets as well as Australia, Subaru may not be able to get hold of the first batch of the new Levorg until well into this year, perhaps even the last quarter of 2021.

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Has Subaru Australia discontinued the Levorg?

Answered by CarsGuide 21 Jan 2021

Not sure where you heard or read that. Stuart, but it’s not even close to being true. Australia will get the 2021 Subaru Levorg, but the nuances of global supply from the Japanese factory mean that it might not show up in local showrooms until the fourth quarter of this year.

What precise form it will take is still a matter of great conjecture, but the smart money seems to think that it will be a muscled-up Levorg this time around. It will definitely have a turbocharged petrol engine and, again, the rumours suggest it might use the new 2.4-litre engine from the WRX, perhaps with a slightly different tune. A hybrid or plug-in electric Levorg? Not this time around, it would seem, and Subaru will probably wait until the next platform upgrade before it introduces electric-drive technology to the Levorg range.

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2010 Subaru Outback Diesel Problems

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Dec 2020

Subaru Outback diesel problems don’t seem to be too frequent or too common. And that’s probably in line with the brand’s overall reputation for reliable engineering.

Probably the biggest complaint from owners is that the engine lacks a little oomph from a standing start and suffers from what’s called turbo-lag; a delay between putting your foot down and the car responding. Even though Subaru claimed a torque peak of 350Nm at anywhere between 1800 and 2400rpm, in reality, the engine didn’t feel that strong down low, particularly just off idle. The other barrier to the success of the Outback diesel was that it could only be had with a six-speed manual transmission and no automatic option was offered in the model you’re talking about.

Beyond that, the usual diesel-engine caveats apply including the requirement to give the engine a decent run at highway speeds every few weeks at the very least. Without this, the engine’s particulate filter (which aims to clean up tailpipe emissions) will clog up and may need to be manually cleaned or even replaced, and that won’t be cheap.

Subaru engines have, over the decades, proven themselves to be tough customers on the one condition that they’re serviced absolutely by the book. Skipping scheduled services is a sure way to send a Subaru engine to an early grave. So make sure any car you’re considering has a full and complete service history with no evidence of missed oil changes. It’s also worth noting that this model was caught up in the Takata air-bag fiasco, so make sure this critical recall has been attended to.

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How is water getting inside my 2009 Subaru Outback?

Answered by CarsGuide 17 Sep 2020

Short of a broken or degraded window seal, check the door rubbers for signs of damage. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a small twig or even a thick blade of grass sticking to the rubber seals that will allow water in. However, there’s a more likely answer. If it was the front-seat foot-wells that were wet, I’d be blaming the air-conditioning vent that is supposed to drain the water - that builds up in the system - to under the car, but can sometimes lock or clog and run the water into the car.

So let me ask you a question: Does your car have a sunroof? If the answer is yes, that’s where I’d be looking. The sunroof, being set into the roof panel, naturally collects water when it rains. So, there are tubes that run from the sunroof, down the rear pillars of the car and vent to the outside just in front of the rear wheels. If these drain tubes block up, the water will run down the outside of them and into the rear foot-wells. Cleaning out the tubes will usually fix the problem.

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