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The Complete Cost Of Maintaining A Subaru

The Complete Cost Of Maintaining A Subaru

When you’re in the market for a new or used Subaru and checking with your large local dealership, you’ll eventually wonder what a Subaru generally costs in maintenance. In this blog, we’ve done our absolute best to give you a complete rundown of the costs and what you can expect for different models and model years. Let’s start with a quick answer:

Subarus have an average annual maintenance cost of $617 per year. This is slightly below the average of $646 for all car brands. However, it’s higher than the $428 – $551 for most Asian carmakers. This is because Subaru mainly sells larger vehicles that are used intensively compared to other Asian brands.

However, that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Below, we’ll start by looking at the annual maintenance cost of the most popular models and their corresponding model years. Furthermore, We’ll look at the eight most common service points and discuss what a Subaru costs you in this regard. We’ll also compare the annual maintenance costs of a Subaru to 23 other car brands and discuss why a Subaru is considered cheap or expensive in maintenance. Read on!

How Expensive Are Subaru Models To Maintain?

First of all, we feel it’s essential to understand how much each model, and different model years, cost per year in terms of maintenance. For this, we’ve taken data from Repairpal. We’ve compiled this data in the two tables below.

In total, we analyzed seven popular Subaru models. For most models, we’ve gathered the maintenance costs associated with older models than 2018. This is because newer models are still under warranty and have fewer problems overall, which means not enough data is gathered.

The first table shows the expected maintenance cost per model year for the Outback, Foresters, Impreza and Legacy. We can see here that the maintenance costs for most Subarus are pretty similar and follow a similar pattern. Most start in the high $400, low $500 range. However, after eight years on the road, their maintenance costs essentially end up in the high $600’s, low $700’s.

2019 $479 x x x
2018 $463 $484 $488 x
2017 $520 $535 $503 $556
2016 $541 $547 $483 $515
2015 $577 $576 $524 $521
2014 $586 $683 $618 $623
2013 $634 $650 $697 $575
2012 $664 $668 $714 $603
2011 $646 $673 $722 $543
2010 $612 $676 $672 $582
2009 $813 $720 $768 $738
2008 $707 $647 $654 $618
2007 $627 $551 $564 $642

In general, we would say these maintenance costs aren’t high, but they also aren’t that low. We’ll dive deeper into why this is the case for Subarus at the end of this article.

Right now, let’s also have a look at three other Subarus. For these cars, less data is available because they haven’t been on the US market for that long. We found that the Crosstrek seems to have reasonable maintenance costs so far (although this is likely to go up the older the model gets.

Interesting to see is that the WRX and the WRX STI are pretty expensive. However, this is not that strange given that this sedan is very much a performance sedan which means higher maintenance costs will be an expected factor.

YearCrosstrekWRXWRX STI
2019 $400 x x
2018 $413 x x
2017 $508 $729 $734
2016 $497 $684 $780
2015       x $652 $749

Are Parts And Services Expensive For A Subaru?

Furthermore, it’s essential to discuss the average cost of general maintenance tasks. This way, you know what to expect from your Subaru, and you’ll be able to see if specific maintenance is more expensive than others. How many miles your Subaru Crosstrek, Legacy, WRX, or Impreza is going to last and how long you will be maintaining it also matters.

For the sake of this comparison, we compared the cost of the tasks mentioned below for a small Subaru (Impreza), A sportscar (WRX STI), and a large SUV (Outback). This way, we get a complete understanding of the full range.

Oil Change

An oil change on a Subaru will generally cost you $40 – $120. On average, an oil change costs $40 – $60 for conventional oil and $60 – 120 for full synthetic oil for a car. Therefore, Subaru is quite average. Some Subarus need conventional oil while others need synthetic, which averages out the prices.

Brake Pads

Replacing the brake pads on a Subaru costs between $150 – $300 per axle. On average, brake pad replacement costs between $150 – $300 per axle. Therefore, most Subarus have a standard price for this maintenance task.


Replacing filters is also a task you’ll encounter from time to time. The fuel filter is generally the most expensive filter to replace. Replacing a fuel filter in a Subaru will cost between $90 – 207. Replacing a cabin air filter is $80 – 112 and replacing an air filter is $79 – 108.

Typically, replacing a fuel filter costs between $80 – $150. This means replacing the fuel filter on a Subaru is a little more expensive, but that’s because many of their filters can last 72 months or 72,000 miles. Replacing a cabin air filter costs typically between $60 – $80, meaning Subaru is a little more expensive. Replacing the air filter costs usually $50 – $70, which means Subaru is about slightly more than average.


The average price to replace a Subaru battery is between $120 – 250. On average, replacing a car battery costs between $120 – $240. This means that Subaru has average costs in terms of replacing the battery. The Outback is the one on the upper range of the spectrum with a cost of $250, including parts and labor.

Timing Belt/Chain

Another replacement that you’ll come across when owning a car is a timing belt replacement. Timing belts need to be replaced around the 100,000 miles mark. However, replacing the timing chain on a Subaru will cost $571 – 725. For most Subaru, the cost will be below $800.

On average, replacing a timing belt will cost between $500 and $1,000 for standard cars. Therefore, Subarus are slightly more affordable in terms of costs.

Tire Rotation And Replacement

Replacing a set of tires on a Subaru will cost $120 – 400. The Subaru Impreza has slightly cheaper tires than the Outback, although we have to say the price difference isn’t that significant.

On average, a single tire costs $50 on the low end for sedans and smaller cars, whereas it can cost up to $500 per tire for SUVs and trucks that require a premium tire. Subarus are, therefore, about average but not on the premium side of things.

Spark Plugs

Replacing a set of spark plugs costs between $150 – $257 per set for a Subaru. On average, it costs $75 – $250 to replace a set of spark plugs. This means that replacing spark plugs on a Subaru has an average cost, although the larger vehicles such as the Outback are on the upper end of the spectrum.

Headlight Bulbs

On average, it costs between $97 – 150 to replace a set of headlight bulbs on a Subaru. On average, replacing headlight bulbs costs between $100 – $150 for a set. Subarus, therefore, are about average.

Are Subaru More Or Less Expensive Compared To Other Brands?

Knowing everything we know now, it’s essential to have a final look at Subaru as a brand. For this, we’ve compiled data of 23 other carmakers. The average annual maintenance costs of each carmaker are in the table below. By comparing all brands to each other, we understand how expensive a brand truly is in maintenance.

In doing so, we found that Subaru is an average brand in terms of maintenance costs. Expect to pay an annual average of $617 to maintain a Subaru. This is not as much as brands such as Dodge, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and many others. However, it’s also certainly not as low as Asian brands such as Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, etc. In the next subheading, we’ll look at why Subaru ends up in the middle of the pack.

BrandAverage Annual Maintenance Costs
Honda $428
Toyota $441
Mazda $462
Hyundai $468
Kia $474
Nissan $500
Acura $501
Mitsubishi $535
Lexus $551
Buick  $608
Chrysler $608
Subaru $617
Dodge $634
Jeep $634
Infiniti $638
Chevrolet $649
Volkswagen $676
GMC $744
Volvo $769
Ford $775
Cadillac  $783
RAM $858
Lincoln $879
Mercedes $908
 BMW  $968

Why Are Subaru So Expensive To Maintain?

We have to answer the final question: why Subaru ends up in the middle of the pack. Looking at the data and making some logical assumptions, we can identify two factors that play a role here.

First, let’s see why Subaru is not as expensive as many American or other foreign brands. Of course, this has to do with the fact that Subaru is an Asian brand and doesn’t focus on the premium segment. Plus, while you do pay a little more for maintenance, vehicles like the Subaru Crosstrek take octane 87 gas and you save some money here.

The fact that the company is Asian means the labor and costs for materials are cheaper than many brands that aren’t manufactured in this part of the world. That’s why all other Asian brands are the most affordable in terms of maintenance. Furthermore, Subaru doesn’t make luxury vehicles, eliminating the need for expensive equipment and materials reducing cost.

However, if this is the case, why isn’t Subaru as cheap as the other Asian brands? That’s because Subaru mainly makes larger, outdoor-focused SUVs or performance-oriented sedans. The larger a car is, and the more it’s used in an outdoor environment, the more you’ll spend on maintenance. Furthermore, the more a car is focused on performance, the more wear-and-tear parts such as the fuel system and the brake pads will have.

That’s why Subaru isn’t as cheap as other Asian brands, but it’s also not as expensive as American or foreign brands.


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