How many miles can a Subaru WRX last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand WRX, 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 WRX lasts between 190.000 – 210.000 miles. A WRX needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.33 times per year, with a 14% chance of severe problems. Furthermore, WRX owners spend an average of $682 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 WRX can last. After that, we’ll also show you how much a WRX costs per year and which production years are the most and least expensive. Furthermore, we also discuss the common problems that the car can have. Read on!
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How Many Miles Can A Subaru WRX Last?
First, we have to look at the Subaru WRX as a group. For this, we went to autotrader.com where we gathered information on all the Subaru WRXs that are currently for sale. We ended up with a sample size of 3.548 units. Then, we divided these vehicles into groups depending on the number of miles they had driven. The results are displayed in the table below.
|Amount Of Miles||Percentage Of Cars|
|Cars With 150.000+||0.37%|
|Cars With 100.000 – 149.000||2.79%|
|Cars With 45.000 – 99.999||32.16%|
|Cars With 0 – 44.999||64.68%|
What immediately comes to our attention is that only 0.37% of WRX cars that are for sale in the second-hand market have crossed the 150.000 miles mark. Having written more than 100+ articles of this kind for all different kinds of vehicles we typically expect to see a percentage between 3-5%.
This either indicates many new WRXs have been sold in recent years (dragging down the average number) or WRXs aren´t capable of reaching higher mileages reliably. Looking at the sales numbers we see that the WRX has only been in the market as a standalone model since 2015. So yes, many models will be new. However, the number is still awfully low in that case. More research is needed.
How Reliable Is A Subaru WRX Compared To Its Competitors?
Furthermore, we also have to compare the WRX to its competitors. This will give us a much clearer understanding of how well the WRX actually performs. Once again we did the same type of research for the vehicles that are displayed in the table.
What we see in the table is that the WRX is putting up similar vehicles as most of its competition. The main differentiator is how long each vehicle has been on the market. For example, the TLX and XE were introduced in 2015 like the WRX. They all put up similar percentages under 1%.
Besides the fact that these vehicles are new, we also have to keep into account that the WRX and most of its competitors are vehicles that are focussed on performance. These vehicles typically have a lesser percentage of vehicles crossing the 150.000-mile mark. So, in general, it does seem there´s nothing inherently wrong with the WRX so far.
|Model||Sample Size||% Of Cars With 150.000+ Miles||Highest Mileage|
|Dodge Charger GT AWD||1.425||1.61%||209.650|
|Buick Regal GS||110||6.36%||214.568|
Do you want to know more about how this car compares to other vehicles 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 WRX Compared To Other Subarus?
Besides comparing the WRX to its competitors we also have to have a look at Subaru as a brand. The reason for this is that this will give us a better understanding of what we can expect from the brand in terms of reliability. The results are displayed in the table below.
|Model||Sample Size||Expected Mileage||Highest Mileage|
What we can conclude from this is that Subaru does seem to build reliable vehicles that are consistently capable of crossing the 200.000 miles mark. However, we also conclude that none of their vehicles seem to be extremely reliable which we would classify as having an expected mileage of 250.000 or higher.
For this reason, we conclude that Subaru is definitely a reliable brand, but that it doesn´t put up numbers like Toyota and Honda.
Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Subaru WRX (& STI)
How Much Does Maintenance Cost Per Year?
Furthermore, there´s more to the reliability of a vehicle than just the number of miles we expect it to drive. For example, you also have to know how much the car will cost in terms of maintenance to make sure you´re not paying extremely high annual maintenance costs. To gather this data, we went to Repairpal and Caredge.com.
Here we found that you´ll spend an average of $682 per year to keep a Subaru WRX on the road. On average, you would expect to pay $562 per year to keep a compact car like the WRX going. This indicates that the Impreza does have higher than expected maintenance costs which isn´t a good thing. However, we do have to say that it´s not completely fair to classify the WRX as a regular compact car given the performance focus. Still, $682 per year is on the high side even when we take this into account.
|Model Year||Annual Maintenance Cost|
As you can see, the newer model years have lower maintenance costs which is logical. However, after 5 years of ownership, you can expect to have quite serious annual maintenance costs.
Also read: The Complete Cost Of Maintaining A Subaru
Owners’ Reviews Of The Subaru WRXs Reliability
Besides knowing all the data, it’s, of course, also essential to see how owners experience the WRX. For this, we went to Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Truecar.com. All three platforms have gathered hundreds of reviews from actual car owners. We summarized our findings in the image below.
One interesting thing to note here is the fact that the owners rating of the Subaru WRX is very high. Rarely do we come across a model that has 4.5 star ratings or higher on all three of the platforms. This is most likely because the WRX has a strong following of people that absolutely love the vehicle. The below quote sums up the sentiment quite well:
I’ve read numerous reviews before buying my WRX. It receives great ratings for acceleration and handling. Most reviews have scored it low for ride and amenities. This a sports car! The ride is firm like it should be, yes the road noise does come through, but in my opinion it’s not distracting.
(…) It has just the right amount of things I need. Some higher end cars have more things that are in my opinion too much and I would never use them. The WRX to me has the right balance for a performance sports sedan.Source, 2020 owner
Subaru WRX Common Problems
Furthermore, we also have to discuss common problems you´ll come across when you´re in the market for a second-hand WRX.
NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you 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.
Second Generation (2021 – Present)
This generation hasn´t been on the market for long. Because of that it has received very few complaints and only one recall. The recall is for 2015 – 2021 models (of which the 2021 is the only model year of this generation). The backup light switch may corrode and become inoperative, which can result in the backup lights not illuminating and the rearview camera image not displaying when the vehicle is in reverse. Recall number 22V522000.
First Generation (2015 – 2021)
Overall, we have to say that the vehicle is quite reliable, especially for a performance-focused sedan. However there´re some problems that are worth mentioning:
- For the 2015 – 2016 WRX, the turbocharger air intake duct may crack and possibly result in an engine stall. A recall was issued for this problem under number 16V162000. Furthermore, the reliability of this engine was a problem in some cases. Complaints include a blown head gasket and burning a lot of oil. However, these complaints aren´t widespread and didn´t persist in other model years.
- The 2015 model year had some complaints about premature transmission failure in the six-speed manual. People complained about a squeaky clutch which caused them to wear out prematurely.
- 2018 – 2019 model years of the WRX were recalled because the low-pressure fuel pump inside the fuel tank may fail. Recall number 21V587000.
- 2015 – 2019 model years have had problems with prematurely dying batteries. These problems have persisted throughout the generation.
Also read: Types Of Gas A Subaru Impreza Takes (Also WRX)
Is a Subaru WRX A Smart Buy?
Finally, we have to answer the question of whether or not a WRX is a smart buy these days or not. Looking at our research we found that we expect a WRX to have a lifespan of around 215.000 miles. Most likely, it won´t do many more than this. However, the same can be said for most of its competitors. The main reason for this is, of course, that it´s a performance-focused sedan which is a whole lot different than a regular Toyota Camry.
Nevertheless, we found that the maintenance cost of the WRX are on the high side, creeping up on $700 annually. However, the owners ratings of the car are fantastic. This tells us that the vehicle is most often driven by enthusiasts who don´t mind paying the maintenance costs.
Finally, we saw that the 2015 – 2016 models do have some problems and recalls that we would rather stay away from. However, most other model years are very reliable and don´t provide their owners with many headaches.
Long story short, if you´re looking for a performance-focused sedan and you don´t mind spending the extra money these cars require in order to keep up with maintenance, the 2017 and older WRX should definitely on your list.
Subaru WRX Maintenance Schedule
If you want to keep your Subaru WRX healthy for a longer period and save your money on expensive repairs, you don’t want to go wrong in this section. A well-maintained car could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars on repairs, and you would also remain carefree while driving it.
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 Subaru for actually giving genuine numbers for the oil change. In contrast, so many other manufacturers give stupid numbers so that the maintenance cost will look less.
- Brake inspections
- Tire pressure check
- Diagnosis for any check engine lights
- Oil filter replacement
- Check for any oil leaks
Before/On Every 20,000 Miles
- Power steering check
- Exhaust system check
- Transmission fluid level check
- Fuel lines inspection to make sure that there is no leakage
Before/On Every 40,000 Miles
- Change fuel filter
- Flush and change hydraulic fluid
- Service fuel injectors
- Inspect the valve cover gasket, and replace it if necessary.
- Inspect the timing chain whether it’s in sync or not.
Before/On Every 60,000 Miles
- Replace the spark plug if the spark is orange
- Rotate or replace the brake rotors as per requirement
- Clean the fuel system. But if you regularly use the sea foam, you can save some bucks.
- You might consider changing the timing chain at this point, as in most cases, by this time, the timing chain starts jumping, and that is not good, you will also hear a lot of rattles from the engine if the timing chain has lost its synchronization and has worn out.
Also read: Subaru WRX Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!