What Subaru Legacy Years To Avoid? A Tainted Legacy

(Last Updated On: March 13, 2024)

We are set to examine the reputation and potential issues of Subaru’s most renowned sedan in detail. Let’s dig into the specifics of why certain years of the Subaru Legacy may potentially pose problems.

Offering consumers a captivating blend of power, comfort, and reliability, the Legacy holds an enviable position in the automotive sphere. However, like any other ride, it’s not infallible. Unseen problems lurk beneath its sleek contours, hidden glitches brought to light only after time illuminates its shadows. But which Subaru Legacy years have the specter of these unprecedented complications?

The truth is, these are some of the worst Subaru Legacy years to date. So, strap in as we put the pedal to the metal, answering your most urgent question: “What Subaru Legacy years should I avoid?” Your road to a better-informed purchase starts here.

A Quick Brief of Subaru’s Reliability Development Over The Years

Subaru, a Japanese automaker, has a reputation for producing high-quality, reliable vehicles. This is primarily due to its emphasis on safety and the use of innovative technologies. Over the years, Subaru has made significant strides in improving the reliability of its vehicles.

The Subaru Legacy, in particular, has seen steady improvements in reliability over the years. The Legacy is a mid-size car that has been in production since 1989. Over the years, the Subaru Legacy line has undergone various transformations with each new generation, some of which have had reliability issues. Aside from these, the Legacy was known to be a fairly reliable vehicle.

List of Subaru Legacy Years to Avoid

While Subaru is known for its reliability, there are some Subaru Legacy model years that have had more than their fair share of issues. The following are the Subaru Legacy years to avoid:

  • 2009 Subaru Legacy
  • 2010 Subaru Legacy
  • 2011 Subaru Legacy
  • 2015 Subaru Legacy
  • 2018 Subaru Legacy

These specific Subaru Legacy models have been reported to have more problems compared to other Legacy models. The issues range from engine failure to head gasket leaks and faulty transmissions.

Read next: Best Year Subaru Legacy

a subaru motor with the head taken off to access the horizontal pistons after a piston ring and head gasket failed
Your engine might find itself in this position too. Total engine failure and failing head gaskets often lead to a complete top-end rebuild. Subaru’s boxer-style engines are particularly vulnerable to these failures.

Common Subaru Legacy Problems

Subaru Legacy vehicles are generally reliable. However, like any car, they are not exempt from experiencing mechanical problems. Here are the most common problems found in Subaru Legacy vehicles:

  • Excessive Oil Consumption: Some Legacy models have reported excessive oil consumption, requiring frequent top-ups between oil changes. If ignored this can lead to total engine failure.
  • Premature Headlight Burnout: Some owners of 2010-2011 Legacy models have reported that their vehicle’s headlights burn out prematurely, requiring frequent replacement.
  • Failed Oxygen Sensors: Legacy models from 2000-2006 have had issues with oxygen sensors failing, causing poor fuel efficiency and engine misfires.
  • Infotainment System Errors: More recent models, particularly the 2018 Legacy, have experienced issues with the infotainment system freezing or refusing to turn off.

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Were Any Of These Issues Recalls?

Yes, and Subaru being a brand that prides itself on safety and reliability, hasn’t turned a blind eye to these issues. Various recalls have been issued over the years, addressing some of the more pressing concerns. For instance, the 2015 Legacy had recalls regarding transmission fluid leaks, stability control issues, and a collision-avoiding system failure. It’s always a good idea to check if the model you’re eyeing has been part of a recall and if the necessary fixes have been implemented.

A battery related recall: Subaru Battery Problems: Causes, Solutions, & Prevention

Subaru Legacy Problem Breakdown by Year

While we’ve highlighted the years to be wary of, it’s essential to understand the specific issues that plague these models. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to make an informed decision.

2009 Subaru Legacy

This year is particularly notorious for its catastrophic engine failure, with some unfortunate souls experiencing it as early as 75,000 miles. The repair? A hefty price tag that can set you back around $5,000. And if that wasn’t enough, the head gasket is another Achilles’ heel, often giving up the ghost around the 140,000-mile mark.

2010 Subaru Legacy

Beyond the engine woes, this model year introduced another gremlin: faulty headlights. These aren’t your typical burn-outs; some owners found themselves replacing bulbs as frequently as every three weeks. And let’s not forget the CVT transmission system, causing the car to shudder, vibrate, and stall. Repairs for this issue can cost up to $2,000.

2015 Subaru Legacy

If you’re one for quiet drives, the 2015 model might test your patience. Owners have reported excessive wind noise, especially when cruising over 40 miles per hour. And if you detect a burning smell? That’s likely due to burning oil, a common complaint for this year. Some users also reported water covering the entire engine bay, which is never a good sign.

Being able to identify these reported problems in a Subaru Legacy, before purchasing, can help you avoid costly repairs down the line. Here are some tips:

  • Regular Inspection: Regular vehicle inspection by a professional mechanic is essential. They can spot potential issues that may not be immediately apparent.
  • Check Service Records: Review the vehicle’s service records to determine if it has been regularly maintained and if any major repairs have been done.
  • Test Drive: A test drive can help identify any unusual noises, vibrations, or performance issues.

Matter of fact, use this checklist:

Keep reading: What Do These Subaru Dashboard Lights Mean?

Is It Safe to Buy A Used Subaru Legacy?

Buying a used Subaru Legacy can be a good investment if you choose the right model year and ensure the vehicle is in good condition. It’s crucial to avoid the problematic years listed above and to have the vehicle thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic before purchasing.

Were There Any Good Years Of The Subaru Legacy?

Yes, there were many excellent years for the Subaru Legacy. The 2014 Subaru Legacy, for instance, received high marks for reliability from Consumer Reports and JD Power. The 2020 model also addressed many of the problems found in earlier models, making it a solid choice for those in the market for a newer model.

Related article: Are Subarus Expensive to Maintain?

How Do These Legacy Model Years Compare To Its Competitors?

While the Legacy has its quirks, how does it compare to its peers? The Legacy, in many respects, holds its own against competitors. However, when it comes to specific problematic years, some rivals might offer a smoother ride with fewer hiccups. But remember, every car has its day, and the Legacy’s best years, like 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2020, showcase Subaru at its finest.

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How To Test A Subaru Legacy for Ongoing Issues

If you’re considering purchasing a used Subaru Legacy, it’s important to test for any ongoing issues. Here are some steps to take:

  • Professional Inspection: Have the vehicle inspected by a skilled mechanic who is familiar with Subaru vehicles.
  • Test Drive: During the test drive, pay attention to the vehicle’s performance. Look for any warning lights on the dashboard and listen for any unusual noises.
  • Check Fluid Levels: Check the oil and coolant levels. Low levels may indicate a leak or other issues.

When To See A Professional (So They Can Inspect The Vehicle)

If you’re considering buying a used Subaru Legacy, it’s crucial to have the vehicle inspected by a professional before finalizing the purchase. A professional mechanic can identify potential issues that you might not notice, giving you peace of mind and potentially saving you money in the long run.

Either way, now that you know the Subaru Legacy years to avoid, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when purchasing this vehicle. Always remember to have the car inspected by a professional before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about its maintenance and repair history.

What is the most reliable year of the Subaru Legacy?

The 2014 and 2020 Subaru Legacy are considered some of the most reliable model years.

Are Subaru Legacy expensive to maintain?

The Subaru Legacy is not significantly more expensive to maintain than other vehicles in its class. Regular maintenance can help prevent costly repairs in the future.

Is Subaru Legacy a reliable car?

Yes, the Subaru Legacy is generally considered a reliable vehicle. However, like any vehicle, some model years are more reliable than others.

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