There’s no denying that the Subaru Outback is a reliable crossover station wagon that can serve you for years if well-maintained. And although known to be versatile and durable, your Subaru Outback isn’t immune to performance-related issues, especially if not regularly serviced or well-maintained. So what are some of the signs that your Subaru Outback needs repairs and is about to cost you money?
You’ll know your Subaru Outback is about to cost you money if its engine is stalling or misfiring or if there are transmission problems or issues with the suspension. Excessive smoke and unusual noises when braking also indicate problems with the exhaust system and braking issues, respectively.
In this article, we take a closer look at some of the signs that indicate your Subaru Outback needs professional attention. In addition to discussing the signs and symptoms of potential problems, we’ll also share how much it can cost you to fix your Outback and have it in good shape.
1. Misfiring/Stalling Engine
Although Subaru Outbacks have pretty decent and powerful engines, they aren’t immune to problems. Let’s take a look at some of the common signs that your Subaru Outback has an underlying engine issue.
- Check engine light. In-built Subaru Outback sensors are designed to detect underlying issues. So when your check engine light is on, it’s a sign that your Outback’s system isn’t functioning as expected.
- Decreased performance. At times you can notice a negative shift in your engine performance. If your Subaru Outback isn’t accelerating or doesn’t feel as powerful as before, chances are you might be dealing with engine problems.
- Poor fuel economy. Another sign that your engine needs to be checked by an expert is reduced fuel economy. You’ll know this when your miles-per-gallon ratio reduces significantly.
- Strange noises. Unusual engine noises like whining, rattling, and knocking often indicate underlying issues. You’ll need to get your car checked out as soon as possible to avoid worsening the problem.
- Smoke. Heated residues (on the engine block), faulty wire casings, and overheated oil, brake fluid, and transmission fluid can leave your engine producing smoke.
It’s usually hard to determine the fixed cost of a Subaru Outback’s engine repair. Repairing minor issues like a malfunctioning sensor or loose gas cap won’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars. However, you may have to part with over $1,000 to fix more serious engine problems like a damaged block or blown head gasket.
2. Transmission Problems
Although Subaru Outbacks are known to be reliable, some of the new models have had their fair share of problems with their transmissions. Below are some signs that your Subaru Outback is having transmission problems.
- Unusual Noises. Whining, grinding, or clunking sounds coming from the transmission usually indicate an underlying problem.
- Leaking Fluid. You’ll know your Subaru Outback needs to be checked if you spot an oil leak. Transmission fluid leak repair can cost you anywhere from $150-$200, depending on the extent of the problem.
- Warning Lights. If the ‘transmission’ or Check Engine lights are on, chances are your transmission has issues.
- Difficulty shifting. If you’re having a hard time shifting gears or if they’re slipping, then your Outback almost certainly has transmission problems.
- Delayed engagement. Is there a delay between shifting your Subaru’s gears and its transmission engaging? Such delays often indicate transmission problems.
Fixing your Subaru Outback’s transmission problems varies depending on the extent of the issue. For instance, a new transmission could cost you anywhere from $3,500, while minor issues like transmission fluid flush or fluid changes typically cost below $150.
3. Suspension Problems
Subarus are generally known to be safe and stable even in harsh conditions and compromised roads. But although Subaru’s independent transmission system is reliable, issues with the system can leave you spending hundreds of dollars on repairs.
Here are signs that your Subaru Outback might be having transmission problems.
- Vibrations when driving. If your Subaru Outback shakes or vibrates when driving at higher speeds, then you might be having an underlying suspension problem.
- Drifting. Does your Subaru Outback feel like it’s pulling or drifting to one side when driving? If so, your suspension system might be in need of fixing.
- Nose-diving. Another issue that indicates suspension problems is nose-diving or bouncing when you brake or approach bumps.
- Noise. Knocking or clunking sounds from your suspension system indicates that there’s an issue with one of the components.
- Uneven tire wear. Suspension problems like worn-out shocks and misaligned wheels can lead to uneven tire wear.
The cost of fixing suspension problems usually varies depending on the severity and the components affected. A damaged control arm can cost above $1,000 while replacing shock absorbers can cost up to $700.
4. Braking Issues
It’s normal for all cars, and not just Subaru Outbacks, to have occasional issues with the braking system. Below are signs you might need to spend to repair your Subaru Outback’s faulty braking system.
- Soft or spongy brake pedal. If your brake pedal feels extra soft or spongy upon pressing, the problem could be with the master cylinder or the presence of air in the brake lines.
- Longer stopping distance. Another indication that your Subaru Outback has transmission problems is if it takes you longer than normal to come to a stop.
- Vibrations. Vibrations or a shaking steering wheel when you apply brakes are signs of warped brake rotors.
- Squealing noises. One of the most common indicators of a faulty braking system is when you hear squealing or grinding noises when you apply brakes. This often means you have worn brake pads that need to be replaced.
Just like other parts of your Subaru Outback, the average cost of repairing faulty brakes will vary depending on the affected parts and the extent of the problem. Repairing worn-out brake pads and rotors usually costs between $400- $700 at the mechanic. Replacing a brake master cylinder can cost you around $150-$200 for parts without factoring in labor.
5. Issues With the Exhaust System
Problems with your exhaust system can leave you spending thousands of dollars, especially when dealing with severe damage. Here are some of the common signs that your Subaru Outback has a faulty exhaust system.
- Unusually Loud Noise (exhaust). Your Subaru Outback probably has an exhaust leak if it makes unusually loud noises when accelerating. The noise usually worsens by the day and is a clear indicator that your car needs to get checked.
- Strong smell. If the exhaust fumes are too strong, then you could be dealing with a light or severe exhaust issue.
- Reduced fuel efficiency. If you’re spending more on fuel than usual, it could be that your Subaru Outback has an exhaust issue that needs professional attention.
- Declining engine performance. Another common indicator of a faulty exhaust system is a decrease in acceleration or power. While several factors can contribute to the issue, it could also be due to exhaust blockage or restriction.
Repairing your Subaru Forester’s exhaust system can cost anywhere from hundreds of dollars to several thousand, depending on the severity of the issue. Repairing an exhaust leak usually costs between $100 to $1000, depending on the severity of the leak and its location. Worn-out mufflers can be replaced for around $200 to $500.
To avoid spending thousands of dollars on exhaust system repair, it’s best to have your Subaru regularly monitored to detect and fix issues as early as possible. Make sure you bring your Subaru in at the recommended intervals, 30k miles, 60k miles, 90k miles, and 105k miles!
If you are in the Little Rock, Arkansas area, be sure to bring your Subaru to the experts at SL Autoworks! Get a quote for your next service by filling out this short form.