The Legacy is Subaru’s flagship model, and it represents the company well in terms of reliability. Its resale value is very good, as Subaru is the leading brand in terms of its vehicle’s holding their value over time. A Subaru Legacy will only depreciate 43% after five years, according to CarEdge.com.
In this article, we’ll discuss the Legacy’s reliability and common problems throughout its more than thirty-year history.
Is the Subaru Legacy Reliable?
The Subaru Legacy has gotten high scores for its reliability. RepairPal gave the Subaru an overall score of 3.5 out of 5. The Legacy also has good gas mileage, with owners claiming that it can consistently achieve 30MPG.
According to Donut media, the Legacy was Subaru’s attempt torival the Accord and Camry in the ’90s. To showcase its reliability, Subaru sent three models of the Legacy to a test track in Phoenix, Arizona, and drove for 19 days straight. They managed to cover a hundred thousand kilometers at an average speed of 138.8 miles per hour. In the process, they even managed to set an endurance speed record.
Another testament to the Legacy’s reliability is how it managed to win the notoriously difficult WRC safari rally races in the ’90s. The cars won with very few modifications done to the vehicle, showing how stock components could withstand the stress of bumpy roads and high speeds. Colin McRae, one of the most famous drivers in the sport of rally racing, drove a Subaru Legacy in the first race he ever won. These are statements about the reliability of Subaru’s first-generation Legacy models back in the ’90s. Subaru Legacy models after the first generation are still pretty reliable, though the models do suffer from a few common issues.
Subaru Legacy Problems
Even though the Legacy has a long history of reliability, it still has its fair share of problems. These problems often vary depending on the model year.
Infotainment System Errors
There have been some issues with the 2018 Legacy’s infotainment system. Owners have reported that the radio controls and infotainment screen would freeze up and refuse to shut down even after the vehicle had been turned off. There are also times where the infotainment system would refuse to turn on. It’s a good thing dealerships knew that this was caused by an internal short in the computer and this problem is covered by the Legacy’s warranty.
Oil Consumption Problem
According to CarComplaints.com, the most reported Legacy problem is the engine excessively consuming oil. Owners have found that they had to refill a pint or two of oil between two thousand and five thousand miles. Some owners have even reported losing even more oil in the winter months. Owners have simply dealt with the issue by keeping spare oil in their vehicles in case their oil indicator light starts to illuminate.
If the oil level in the engine goes down too much, it can run into problems like overheating and engine knock. Not having enough lubricant will cause your engine to wear faster and can result in engine damage that will be expensive to repair. The 2013 Legacy model is the most susceptible to this problem.
Headlights Burning Out
Many owners of the 2011 Legacy have reported their Legacy’s headlight burning out every six months, some even as often as after three weeks. While it’s true that the more you use the headlights, the faster they’ll burn out, the Legacy case is unusual because most bulbs can easily last for years. There are theories about why bulbs burn out so quickly. The vehicle’s electrical system may be sending too much voltage to the lights. Too much voltage can fry the small filaments in the bulb.
Owners have also complained about how difficult it is to access their vehicle’s headlights because the wheel and fender need to be removed. This often requires the help of an experienced mechanic. It’s a good thing it’s usually only the bulbs that need to be replaced in order to fix this problem. Getting a replacement headlight bulb can cost from $5 to $50.
While there are only six reported instances of this occurring in the 2009 Legacy, the fact that it can occur randomly and without warning can be worrying. One owner has reported that it was caused by the seals inside the engine leaking oil, causing it to run on low oil levels without a warning light turning on. Engine failure is one of the most expensive problems to fix in a vehicle because mechanics will often recommend replacing the engine rather than repairing it. This can cost a few thousand dollars.
Failed Oxygen Sensor
The oxygens sensors in the 2000-2006 Legacy have a tendency to crack and fail, causing the check engine light to illuminate. Oxygen sensors may be small components placed along the path of the vehicle’s exhaust, but they have a big role to play in making your engine run reliably and efficiently. Without a working oxygen sensor, your vehicle could experience issues like poor fuel efficiency, misfires, and poor acceleration. Misfires can also damage your engine and cause even more expensive repairs down the line. A replacement oxygen sensor can cost around $15 to $300.
Head Gasket Issues
Unlike the first generation Legacy which had stellar reliability, the second generation has a tendency for head gasket failures. Owners have reported that this was caused by the coolant becoming pressurized and causing the head gasket to burst. This can cause the Legacy’s oil and coolant to leak out, which may lead to overheating. Because engines can’t run without either oil or coolant, taking your Legacy to a mechanic immediately after this issue is a must. A replacement head gasket can cost around $20 to $100.
If you’re planning on purchasing a Subaru Legacy, it’s important to learn about any problems that the model may have. Knowing about these problems can help you look out for them, so that you can fix them to prevent further damage.