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How Many Miles Can A Subaru Legacy Last? (Answered)

How many miles can a Subaru Legacy last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand Legacy, that’s, of course, a very reasonable question to ask. After all, you’re probably looking to get the most bang for your buck. In this blog, we’ll look at this question in great detail but first, let’s start with a quick answer:

On average, a Subaru Legacy lasts between 190.000 – 210.000 miles. A Legacy needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.28 times per year, with a 12% chance of severe problems. Furthermore, Legacy owners spend an average of $563 per year on repair costs.

Having said that, we’re certainly not done. Below we’ll first explain in more detail how many miles a Legacy can last. After that, we’ll also show you how much a Legacy costs per year and which production years are most and least expensive. Furthermore, we also discuss the common problems that the car can have. Read on!

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Also read: How Well Does A Subaru Legacy Drive In The Snow?

How Many Miles Can A Subaru Legacy Last?

This is something that can’t be answered by just looking into one Subaru Legacy’s odometer and going like, yeah, this is how much they are going to last. And can you rely on the computer-generated estimates? No.

You would need to look at hundreds of Subaru Legacy and scrutinize all the data, and then the answer to this question would be an accurate one, and that’s exactly what we did. We have compiled the data from 2922 Subaru Legacy, and then we have calculated some percentages that will help us better understand how reliable they actually are.

If we see a percentage greater than 3%, then it would mean that Subaru Legacy is reliable, and if the percentage comes out to be less than 3%, then it would mean that they aren’t reliable. So after we had carried out the strenuous research, the data was finally out.

Amount Of MilesPercentage Of Cars
Cars With 150.000+5.71%
Cars With 100.000 – 149.00014.00%
Cars With 45.000 – 99.99934.71%
Cars With 0 – 44.99945.58%

There were more than 5% of them crossing the 150k mile mark, which is very good. The reason why it’s higher is that they have been around for quite some time now. So a lot of them have been able to cross that mark in the time they had. But when we looked into the below 45k mile category, the results were in favor of the Legacy again.

If the below 45k mile category is more than 60%, then it would mean that the vehicle might have some underlying problem because of which more than 60% of the owners want to sell. But in this case, we have about 45%, which is good.

Our analysis is based on facts, not computer-generated estimates. After we have compiled all the data, the highest miles that the Legacy can last came out to be 230k miles.

Also read: The Types Of Gas A Subaru Legacy Takes (Explained)

How Reliable Is A Subaru Legacy Compared To Its Competitors?

Relative marking is actually a thing here. It’s important to know how the competitors are performing in terms of reliability to understand better how reliable a Subaru Legacy is and where it stands because some cars would show better percentages than others. It would become prominent which competitors did better.

ModelSample SizeCars With 150.000+ Miles% Percentage Of Cars With 150.000+Highest Mileage
Subaru Legacy29221675.71%230000
Volkswagen Passat43201483.43%210000
Toyota Camry2427016656.86%330000
Honda Accord2570516116.27%320000
Chevy Malibu13076755.19%280000

Here, in this case, no wonder the competition is strong. The Subaru Legacy doing a good job keeping up. The most reliable vehicle in this category is none other than the Camry, not so surprisingly. Honda Accord has also shown better numbers than the Subaru Legacy.

If you are looking for a reliable vehicle but don’t want a Toyota or a Honda, you can go for the Subaru Legacy, but we have more tests on our list to make 100% sure if it’s a good decision or not.

Do you want to know more about how this car compares to other cars regarding the expected miles it can last? Read more about that in this article: How Many Miles Can A Car Last? (156 Models Analyzed!)

How Reliable Is A Subaru Legacy Compared To Other Subarus?

It’s valuable to know how a vehicle performs against its own badge mates, as it would give us an overall picture of how reliable these Legacies are as a whole and how reliable other Subarus are.

ModelSample SizeCars With 150.000+ Miles% Percentage Of Cars With 150.000+Highest Mileage
Subaru Legacy29221675.71%230000
Subaru Impreza45071533.39%250000
Subaru WRX3548130.37%225,257
Subaru Crosstrek5990881.47%250000

From the data, it’s clear that Subarus can easily last up to 250k miles, and the most reliable Subaru came out to be the Legacy in terms of numbers, but when we take into account that it has been around for a long time now, then it’s an okay-ish number. But overall, Subarus are reliable.

How Much Does Maintenance Cost Per Year?

The reliability rating won’t matter if the maintenance cost doesn’t back it up. An unreliable vehicle can also go hundreds of thousands of miles if money is put into maintenance and repairs. So we need to see how much it would cost on maintenance because if the amount comes out to be less, then it’s reliable, and it wouldn’t be otherwise.

Model YearAnnual Maintenance Cost

$563 is what you would have to spend annually on AVERAGE, which is a lot. Honda Accord and Toyota Camry give much better performance and features with much lower maintenance costs. So the Subaru Legacy is not a reliable vehicle, hence proved.

But wait, we have further tests that will validate this point, and we will get to see how the Subaru Legacy is not a very good choice if you are looking to buy a vehicle in this category.

Also read: The Complete Cost Of Maintaining A Subaru

Subaru Legacy Common Problems

NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the car isn’t having any problems that I should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.

Personally, I like this one on Amazon because it has a lot more functions than basic OBD2 scanners. This particular one also runs tests on your emission system and tests if you’re fuel mix is optimal (or if your engine is misfiring), so you have a complete understanding of how the car’s performing.

Head Gasket Failure

Subaru Legacy made before 2013 have significant problems with the failure of the head gaskets due to issues with the cooling system. The issue was so severe that the warranty of the head gaskets was extended to 8 years or 100,000 miles, whatever comes first.

However, this means that this warranty has expired on the pre-2013 Subaru Legacy, and this is something to be aware of when buying a second-hand model. The head gaskets tend to fail around the 110,000 miles mark, and replacing them without a warranty will cost between $1,500 – $2,000.

Defective Fuel Pump

Problems with the fuel pump are a factor to watch out for in the 2019 Subaru Legacy. The impellers inside these fuel pumps (the parts responsible for regulating the gas flow inside the pump) were overexposed to a drying solvent during manufacturing. Therefore, they crack and need to be replaced. The recall affects Legacy’s made between April – July 2018. Make sure to check if the vehicle you’re buying is affected by this recall and if the fuel pump was replaced. Replacing a fuel pump yourself will cost $400 – $800.

Excessive Battery Drain

Excessive battery drain is a problem for Legacy sold between 2015 – 2020. The battery cannot handle the load of the vehicle’s controller area network. This is the part of the car responsible for making sure all sensors and modules communicate together. Replacing a Legacy’s battery will cost $100 – $150.

Sudden Acceleration

Legacy made between 2015 – 2019 may have problems with sudden acceleration. However, Subaru hasn’t acknowledged these claims, resulting in class-action lawsuits. Because of the lack of investigation, it’s unclear what causes these surges in acceleration.

Cracked Windshields

In 2015 Subaru switched to acoustic sound glass; this glass helps keep noise out. However, the windshields were more susceptible to breaking due to some manufacturing issues (and arguably, cost-cutting). For the 2015 and early 2016 models, the glass warranty was extended to 5-years/unlimited mileage. However, later versions of the car still seem to have this problem, resulting in class-action lawsuits. Replacing a windshield will cost between $150 – $300.

Faulty STARLINK Infotainment System

Subaru introduced the STARLINK infotainment system in 2016 Legacy models. Reported problems include the GPS not working and the screen spinning or going black. Software updates in 2016 – 2019 models didn’t fix these problems, and therefore, this is something that persists until this day. However, newer models of the Subaru Legacy (2020 and onwards) don’t seem to have these problems.

Unreliable Lineartronic CVTs

The Lineartronic CVTs used in 2010 – 2014 and 2015 – 2019 has been shown to be quite unreliable over and over again. Complaints include heavy shuddering when coming to a standstill, transmission fluid leaks in the torque converter cases, and ‘bumping’ at idle. Subaru increased the warranty on these CVTs to 10 years/100,000 miles, but the CVT had to be inspected before July 31, 2018, for this warranty to apply.

Burned Out Headlights

Legacy made between 2010 – 2012 burn through headlight bulbs much quicker than other model years. Why precisely this happens remains unknown, but there are two likely causes. The first one is that the auto-mode (which detects when headlights are needed) is too aggressive, and therefore the lights burn a lot more throughout the day.

Another problem could be a surge in the output of the electrical system, which causes the headlights to wear out. Some of these models need to have the headlights replaced twice a year, which means going to the dealership twice a year—replacing the bulbs of the headlights costs around $80 – $100 each time.

Eyesight Not Working

Eyesight is a Subaru system that helps with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane departure alerts. Legacy made between March 10, 2014, to April 16, 2015, were recalled because the Eyesight system would spontaneously shut off. Even though the Legacy isn’t an autonomous car, it is a helpful feature that should be on.

The recall supposedly fixed the problem; however, make sure that it has been recalled when you’re looking at a Subaru from this period. Later Legacy’s still have the Eyesight system, and these should work a lot better, although they are sometimes a little too sensitive with the lane departure function.

Recalled Takata Airbags

Subaru Legacy sold between 2003 – 2004 and 2009 – 2014 have been part of a significant worldwide recall of Takata airbags. Arguably, this is not Subaru’s fault since the recall affected 100 million vehicles worldwide. However, please ensure that the recall has been carried out if you’re looking at a Legacy from this period. Otherwise, you run the risk of having an airbag spontaneously inflate because of high humidity or temperature fluctuations.

High Oil Consumption

Subaru Legacy, made between 2010 – 2014 with an F-series engine, have much higher oil consumption than other models. This is because they use a very thin oil (0W-30), and some engine parts have been loosened to increase MPGs. Subaru has stated that they think oil consumption is still within a normal range. However, expect to burn 1/3 of a quart per 1,200 miles with these engines.

Rusted Body Panels

Subaru’s tend to have rust problems sometimes. However, this is also because they are wildly popular in snow-heavy regions. This increases their exposure to road salt. Combine this with a lack of maintenance and sufficiently getting rid of the road salt on the car, and you have a rust problem. There’s no specific model year in which these problems occur more frequently, but it is something to inspect when you’re in the market for a second-hand Subaru.

Also read: Subaru Legacy Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Is a Subaru Legacy A Smart Buy?

It depreciates about 45% in the first 5 years, which is the highest we have seen in Subarus so far. If you are looking to buy one of these, then make sure that you go for the latest models, ideally with lower miles. Make sure that they have been well maintained as well.

Our recommendation would be the Camry as it would cost less on maintenance and be much more reliable than the Subaru Legacy. The data analysis has shown that the Legacy will only last up to 230k miles, while it’s a fact that the Camrys go 300k+ easily.

But if you are a Subaru person and you want to have a Legacy, then make sure that the one you will buy has no electronics issues, no rattles, and should have a clean title. Ideally, go for the ones below 45k miles, but if you want to go a little higher, then you can.

But make sure that they are 100% okay. If the G35 has a problem, then ask the seller to lower the price accordingly. It’s better to go for the ones that don’t have any issues.

Also read: How Much Can A Subaru Legacy Tow?

Subaru Legacy Maintenance Schedule

Many manufacturers give the figure 10,000 miles for an oil change that is too far-fetched to give a low overall maintenance cost, but you should have the engine oil changed at not more than 7000 miles. Earlier is better.

Now coming to the overall maintenance schedule, recommended by the manufacturer. So let’s get into the schedule, shall we!

Before/On Every 6,000 Miles

  • Change Engine Oil
  • Replace the oil filter.

But it’s actually better to change these before 6,000 miles for best performance and long-lasting protection. Still, we applaud the Subaru for actually giving genuine numbers for the oil change. In contrast, so many other manufacturers give stupid numbers that the maintenance cost will look less, but Legacy has a lot higher maintenance cost.

  • Tire rotation
  • Airbag system check
  • Wiper blades inspection

Before/on every 30K mile interval

You must have a thorough inspection of these important components

  • Brake system inspection
  • Fuel filter replacement
  • Dust and pollen filter replacement
  • Tire inspection
  • Tire filler bottle expiration date check
  • Brake fluid check
  • Clutch unit check
  • Check the water pump and the timing chain at regular intervals or otherwise it will become an expensive fix

Before/On Every 40K interval

This is the most comprehensive inspection that you must have to ensure that all the vehicle functions are working fine.

  • Engine
  • Coolant
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust
  • Electrical components
  • CV joints
  • Battery
  • Underbody sealants
  • transmission fluid change and filter change

If you can have the receipts for all the regular maintenance appointments, you will know that this car is well maintained. But not all people keep tabs on these things, so they might check how well the car is kept. It’s a rule of thumb if the car is super clean and there are no oil leaks, then you know it’s well maintained.

If the car is not kept clean, it generally means that it hasn’t been properly maintained either.

Other Maintenance Tips

To prevent your car from rust, make sure there is no area open to moisture/air. In other words, the paint is not chipped because that’s where the rust will happen. And make sure that you keep your car clean and don’t let mud stay on it for more than 4 days, because after 4 days, the reaction between moisture and iron happens that produces rust.

Have your engine oil replaced before/on every 6000 miles to keep the engine healthier for a longer period of time. And add a can of high-quality petroleum to your gas tank to have the internals of your engine thoroughly cleaned. It’s inexpensive and would save you a lot of dollars on servicing the internals later on.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Subaru Legacy