Are Subaru WRX Reliable? Yes And No (Here’s Why)

(Last Updated On: March 13, 2024)

The Subaru WRX, commonly praised for its athletic aesthetics and remarkable capabilities, has sparked discussions regarding its dependability.

The WRX has been garnering attention for over two decades now, with fans appreciating its powerful Boxer engine and the thrill it offers. However, the question of its dependability still lingers.

In this article, we delve deep into whether the Subaru WRX is a reliable choice for car enthusiasts or not. Let’s dive in.

Overview Of Common WRX Problems

The Subaru WRX, like any other car, has had its share of issues. These problems range from minor inconveniences to significant mechanical failures.

Photo of a Subaru WRX next to a list of common problems, including excessive oil consumption, which may lead to engine failure, as well as trouble shifting the manual transmission, premature suspension wear, and turbo failure, especially in STI models.

Some of the most commonly reported issues include:

  1. Engine Problems: Some WRX owners have reported excessive oil consumption, which can lead to engine failures if not addressed promptly.
  2. Transmission Problems: Issues with the WRX’s manual transmission, such as difficulty in shifting gears, have also been reported.
  3. Suspension Problems: Some owners have faced problems with the suspension system, including premature wear and tear of components.
  4. Turbocharger Problems: There have been instances of the turbocharger failing, especially in the WRX STI models.

Why Do These Occur So Frequently?

The frequency of these issues can be attributed to a variety of factors. One of the most significant factors is the high-performance nature of the WRX. The car is designed for speed and agility, and this can put a strain on the engine and other components, especially if the vehicle is not properly maintained or if it’s subjected to aggressive driving.

The Boxer-type engine, unique to Subaru, also has its quirks. While it offers excellent balance and low vibration, it has relatively complex internals. Failure to adhere to maintenance schedules can lead to issues like excessive oil consumption and even engine failure.

Moreover, the WRX’s popularity among car enthusiasts means that it’s often subjected to modifications. While some modifications can enhance the vehicle’s performance, others can strain the engine and other components, leading to premature failures.

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Overview Of Boxer-Type Engines And Associated Problems

However, the Boxer engine isn’t without its problems. Oil leaks are a common issue in these engines due to the horizontal layout of the cylinders. This layout can cause oil to seep past the piston rings when the car is parked, leading to excessive oil consumption.

Learn more about the Subaru Boxer engine in the below video:

Subaru’s signature Boxer engine, also known as a flat or horizontally-opposed engine, has both its strengths and weaknesses. Its design, where the pistons move side to side in pairs, gives it a low center of gravity, resulting in improved stability and handling. Also, its configuration leads to less vibration, contributing to a smoother ride.

Another common issue with the Boxer engine involves the head gaskets. The gaskets, which seal the gap between the engine block and cylinder heads, can fail over time, leading to coolant or oil leaks. In severe cases, a failed head gasket can cause overheating and significant engine damage.

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Can These Problems Be Prevented?

While it’s impossible to guarantee that you’ll never encounter a problem with your Subaru WRX, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk. Regular maintenance is crucial, particularly when it comes to the engine oil and transmission fluid. Ensuring that these fluids are changed at the recommended intervals can help prevent a variety of issues.

Infographic of how to prevent WRX problems, including suggestions of regular maintenance and following recommended oil change and transmission fluid intervals.

Also, if you plan on modifying your WRX, do so responsibly. It’s essential to understand that not all modifications are beneficial, and some can even harm your vehicle. If you’re unsure about a particular modification, consult with a professional or a trusted mechanic.

Are Subaru WRX Reliable In Newer Model Years?

When it comes to newer models of the Subaru WRX, the reliability seems to have improved. Subaru has made several changes and updates to the WRX over the years, addressing many of the issues that plagued earlier models.

According to J.D. Power, the 2020 Subaru WRX has an overall reliability rating of 82 out of 100, which is considered above average. However, it’s worth noting that the ownership experience can still vary, with some owners reporting issues while others have a trouble-free experience.

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Would I Recommend Buying A WRX? Yes And No

Buying a Subaru WRX can be a good decision, depending on what you’re looking for in a car. If you want a sporty, fun-to-drive car that stands out from the crowd, the WRX might be a great fit. Its powerful engine, excellent handling, and unique design are sure to turn heads.

However, if you’re primarily looking for a vehicle that’s practical, fuel-efficient, and requires little maintenance, the WRX might not be the best choice. Its high-performance nature means that it requires regular care, and its fuel economy isn’t the best.

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How To Decide For Yourself

When deciding whether to buy a Subaru WRX, it’s important to consider your personal needs and preferences. Think about how you plan to use the car and what you value most in a vehicle. If you’re a car enthusiast who loves the thrill of a high-performance car and doesn’t mind the extra maintenance, the WRX could be a great choice.

Subaru WRX decision guide, is the WRX the best option for you? If you want a powerful engine with great handling and a unique design, yes. If you want low running costs and a reliable/practical daily driver, maybe not.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a reliable daily driver with low running costs, you might want to consider other options. In the end, the best way to decide is to test drive the WRX and see how it feels. Only then can you truly determine if it’s the right car for you.

What To Look Out For

If you’re considering buying a used Subaru WRX, there are a few things to look out for. Firstly, check the car’s maintenance history. Regular oil changes and other routine maintenance are crucial for the WRX, so a well-maintained car is a good sign.

Also, be wary of heavily modified cars. While some modifications are fine, others can cause problems down the line. If the car has been modified, make sure the work was done professionally and that the car has been well cared for since the modifications were made.

Lastly, listen for any unusual noises when test driving the car, and check for any signs of oil leaks. If anything seems off, it might be best to walk away and look for another vehicle.

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Recap Of Subaru WRX Reliability

The Subaru WRX, while offering a thrilling driving experience with its powerful Boxer engine and sporty handling, has had its share of reliability issues. Common problems range from engine and transmission issues to suspension troubles and turbocharger failures.

Infographic of key article points, including pros and cons and what to keep in mind when shopping.

However, with regular maintenance and responsible driving, many of these problems can be prevented. Newer WRX models also seem to have improved in terms of reliability.

Ending Thoughts

In conclusion, the Subaru WRX is a unique car that offers a lot of fun and excitement. However, prospective owners should be aware of the car’s potential reliability issues and be prepared for the regular maintenance it requires.

If you value performance and don’t mind putting in a little extra care, the WRX could be a great choice for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Subaru WRX expensive to maintain?

The WRX, due to its high-performance nature and unique engine design, can be more expensive to maintain than your average sedan. Regular oil changes, transmission fluid changes, and other routine maintenance are crucial for keeping the WRX running smoothly.

Are Subaru WRX good for long trips?

While the WRX is primarily a performance car, it can also handle long trips. Its comfortable seats and spacious interior make it suitable for longer drives. However, keep in mind that the WRX’s fuel economy isn’t the best, so be prepared for frequent stops at the gas station.

What is the lifespan of a Subaru WRX?

With proper care and maintenance, a Subaru WRX can last for well over 200,000 miles. However, the car’s lifespan can be significantly shortened if it’s not well-maintained or if it’s driven aggressively.

Does the Subaru WRX hold its value?

The WRX tends to hold its value fairly well, thanks to its popularity and unique features. However, the car’s resale value can be affected by factors such as its condition, mileage, and how well it’s been maintained.

How often does a Subaru WRX need an oil change?

Subaru recommends changing the oil in your WRX every 6,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. However, if you drive your WRX aggressively or frequently drive in severe conditions, you may need to change the oil more frequently.

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