Subaru Legacy Problems: Too Much To Handle?

(Last Updated On: March 13, 2024)

Imagine this scenario: You’re smoothly sailing down the freeway in a stylish Subaru Legacy, feeling the wind against your hair, while the world outside is nothing but a fast-paced blur. It’s common knowledge that the Subaru Legacy holds a special place in the Subaru brand, being renowned for its sturdiness and its knack for all-terrain exploration. However, even the greatest have their peculiarities, just like that one time you attempted to whip up a soufflé and it failed to rise (we’ve all had those moments).

So, if you’re a proud Subaru Legacy owner or considering becoming one, buckle up! We’re about to take a deep dive into the most common issues faced by this iconic vehicle. From the mysterious world of CVT transmissions to the occasional hiccup in the infotainment system, we’ve got the scoop. And trust us, you’ll want to stick around for the full ride. So, grab your favorite road trip snack, and let’s get started!

Ready to uncover the secrets of the Subaru Legacy? Keep on reading!

Broad Overview of Common Subaru Legacy Problems

Before we explore each problem in detail, let’s provide a snapshot of the most frequently reported issues with Subaru Legacy vehicles:

  • CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) issues
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Complete engine failure
  • Brake problems
  • Infotainment system glitches
  • General electrical problems
  • Power steering system issues
  • Brake light switch defects
  • Overheating wiper motor

It’s crucial to remember that these issues don’t imply that every Subaru Legacy will encounter these problems. Instead, they represent the most common complaints reported by a fraction of Subaru Legacy owners.

Infographic of Subaru Legacy common problems, such as CVT, brake, electrical, and power steering issues

CVT Transmission Issues

One of the most reported Subaru Legacy problems lies within its CVT transmission. Many owners, especially those with 2010 to 2015 models, have complained about their vehicle shuddering and stalling during abrupt stops or acceleration. The culprit, in most cases, was found to be the CVT transmission.

Replacing the CVT transmission isn’t a cheap fix, costing around $2,000. The silver lining is that Subaru extended its CVT transmission warranty from five years to ten years or 100,000 miles. However, this extended warranty only covers new replacements and must be done within a specific timeframe.

Excessive Oil Consumption

Another significant issue with Subaru Legacy is excessive oil consumption. Many owners have reported their vehicles consuming a significant amount of oil between oil changes, even with regular maintenance.

In some cases, this issue led to severe engine problems, requiring a complete engine replacement costing nearly $7,000.

Total Engine Failure

Total engine failure is a nightmare scenario for any car owner and, unfortunately, some Subaru Legacy owners have faced this horror. This problem is typically linked to the excessive oil consumption issue discussed earlier.

When a vehicle loses a substantial amount of oil, the engine can get damaged over time, leading to total engine failure. The only solution in such a scenario is a complete engine replacement, a costly and time-consuming process.

Brake Problems

Brake-related issues are another common complaint amongst Subaru Legacy owners. Problems range from brake noise, brake light failure, to more severe issues like brake failure while driving.

Intermittent Infotainment Issues

In the digital age, infotainment systems have become an essential part of modern vehicles. However, some Subaru Legacy owners have reported intermittent issues with their vehicle’s infotainment system.

These problems include freezing display screens and radio controls, which refuse to turn off even after the vehicle is shut down. Fortunately, Subaru has covered these issues under its warranty.

Related: Subaru Dashboard Lights and Meanings

Transmission Issues

Transmission issues are a common problem in many vehicles, and Subaru Legacy is no exception. These problems typically manifest as a rumbling or growling noise from the engine during acceleration, or the vehicle abruptly stopping while driving.

General Electrical Problems

Electrical problems are quite common in modern vehicles, given the plethora of electronic components and systems they contain. Subaru Legacy owners have reported various electrical issues, including problems with the headlights, battery drain, and malfunctioning sensors.

Power Steering System Issues

Some Subaru Legacy owners have reported issues with the vehicle’s power steering system. These problems typically manifest as difficulty in steering the vehicle, particularly at low speeds or while parking.

Defective Brake Light Switch

A defective brake light switch is another common issue reported by Subaru Legacy owners. This problem can cause the brake lights to fail, posing a serious safety risk.

Overheating Wiper Motor

Some Subaru Legacy owners have reported issues with the wiper motor overheating. This problem can lead to the wipers failing to operate, impairing visibility in rainy or snowy conditions.

Related: Are Subarus Expensive To Fix and Maintain?

Breakdown of Subaru Legacy Issues By Worst Years

Now that we have a broad understanding of the most common Subaru Legacy issues let’s delve into the specific problems reported in various model years:

Infographic showing Subaru Legacy issues by model year. For instance, the 2010 has common CVT problems, while 2013 models struggle with high oil consumption.
  • 2010 Subaru Legacy: The 2010 Subaru Legacy model seems to have the most reported problems. The most common issue in this model year is related to the CVT transmission. Owners have reported a “shuddering” feeling and stalling when driving or stopping abruptly. A significant number of owners have also reported an issue with the vehicle’s headlights, requiring frequent bulb replacements.
  • 2013 Subaru Legacy: 2013 Subaru Legacy models are plagued with excessive oil consumption issues. Many owners have reported losing between 1 to 3 quarts of oil between oil changes, leading to severe engine problems in some cases.
  • 2015 Subaru Legacy: As for the 2015 model year, these saw a continuation of the excessive oil consumption problem. Additionally, some owners reported intermittent issues with the vehicle’s infotainment system.
  • 2016 Subaru Legacy: The 2016 Subaru Legacy model year saw a continuation of the excessive oil consumption and infotainment system issues. In addition, some owners reported problems with the vehicle’s power steering system.
  • 2018 Subaru Legacy: Models from 2018 seem to have fewer reported problems compared to previous model years. However, some owners have reported issues with the vehicle’s brake light switch, which can cause the brake lights to fail.

Related: What Subaru Legacy Years To Avoid? A Tainted Legacy

Do Subaru Legacys Suffer From Faulty Head Gaskets?

Yes, Subaru Legacy vehicles have been plagued with head gasket leak complaints, a problem that can be quite costly to fix. It’s worth noting that this issue is not limited to Subaru Legacy vehicles alone; many Subaru models are known to have head gasket issues.

Do Subaru Legacys Have Transmission Problems?

As mentioned earlier, many Subaru Legacy owners have reported issues with the vehicle’s CVT transmission. These problems typically manifest as a “shuddering” feeling and stalling when driving or stopping abruptly.

What’s With The Flashing Temperature Light?

A flashing temperature light on your Subaru Legacy usually indicates that the engine is overheating. This problem could be due to a faulty radiator, an issue with the coolant, or a more severe problem like a head gasket leak.

Wrapping Up

While the Subaru Legacy has its share of problems, it’s crucial to remember that these issues do not affect all vehicles. A well-maintained Subaru Legacy can provide reliable service for many years. However, if you own a Subaru Legacy or plan to buy one, being aware of these common issues can help you diagnose and address any problems early, potentially saving you time and money in the long run.

It’s also worth noting that Subaru has made significant improvements in its recent models, addressing many of the issues mentioned above. For instance, the 2020 Subaru Legacy model has received positive reviews for its reliability, with fewer reported engine and transmission issues.

Infographic showing recap of article. Some of the most common problems include shuddering and stalling and leaky head gaskets. Ultimately, regular maintenance is one of your best bets to avoid issues.

Remember, regular maintenance is the key to keeping your Subaru Legacy running smoothly for years to come. If you do encounter any of the problems mentioned above, we recommend seeking help from a qualified mechanic or a Subaru dealership.

Read next: Best Year Subaru Legacy: Are They Actually Any Better?

Frequently Asked Questions

How has Subaru addressed the CVT transmission issues in the Legacy?

Subaru has recognized the CVT transmission problems, especially in the 2010 to 2015 models. To support affected owners, Subaru extended its CVT transmission warranty from five years to ten years or 100,000 miles. This extended warranty covers new replacements within a specific timeframe.

What measures can Subaru Legacy owners take regarding excessive oil consumption?

Excessive oil consumption has been a concern for many Subaru Legacy owners. While regular maintenance is crucial, some owners have found it beneficial to keep extra oil in their vehicles. In severe cases, a complete engine replacement might be necessary, especially if the issue leads to engine problems.

Are there any known infotainment system concerns in the Subaru Legacy?

Yes, Subaru Legacy owners have reported intermittent issues with the vehicle’s infotainment system, such as freezing display screens and radio controls that remain active even after the vehicle is turned off. Subaru has addressed these concerns under its warranty.

What should Subaru Legacy owners be aware of regarding the vehicle’s power steering system?

Some Subaru Legacy models have reported difficulties with the power steering system, especially noticeable at low speeds or during parking. Owners experiencing such symptoms should consult with a Subaru dealership or qualified mechanic for diagnosis and repair.

Have there been any recalls or safety concerns related to the Subaru Legacy’s brake light switch?

Yes, some Subaru Legacy models, notably the 2018 version, have reported issues with a defective brake light switch, which can result in brake light failures. This poses a potential safety risk, and affected owners should seek immediate assistance.

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