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Should You Buy A New Subaru? What It Costs To Keep A 5 And 10-Year-Old Model

If you are thinking of trading in your five or ten-year-old Subaru on a 2021 Forester, Outback, or another new model? Here is what it costs to keep your older vehicle.

Is it time to trade in your older Subaru and buy a 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, or another model? Is a Subaru expensive to maintain? Here are the maintenance costs on a five or ten-year-old Subaru. A new study from Consumer Reports (by subscription) gives the cost of car ownership over time.

In their annual auto surveys, owners reveal how much they paid out of pocket for total maintenance (oil changes, etc.) and repairs during the previous 12 months. Check out the average mainstream automaker's maintenance costs below.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback
photo credit: Timmons Subaru

The average of all automaker's five-year-old vehicles costs $205 per year in maintenance. The average ten-year-old car costs $430 in maintenance. The report says Subaru’s average cost for a five-year-old vehicle is $290. Subaru’s average cost for a ten-year-old car is $480. Both are slightly more than the average of all twenty-seven car brands.

What the maintenance study from Consumer Reports does not take into consideration is a car's depreciation and resale value. Check out the Torque News report here.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback
photo credit: Timmons Subaru

How does Subaru compare with the other mainstream brands?

In order of highest to lowest, here are the five and ten-year average maintenance costs. Jeep has $236 cost per year at five years and $600 at ten years. Subaru $290/$480 5/10, Mazda $188/$406, Kia $177/$392, Honda $219/$337, Nissan $183/$376, Hyundai $170/$376, Buick $122/$358, GMC $222/$344, Chevrolet $164/$342, Toyota $207/$338, Ford $175/$321, and Chrysler $183/$317.

Maintenance costs go up when the warranty and free maintenance periods are over. Subaru’s warranty on new vehicles is 3-year/36,000-miles and powertrain limited warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles.

Subaru now offers owners two years of free maintenance on 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or other all-wheel-drive vehicles. It’s only offered in states like Florida, Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, and California, where Subaru wants to grow its market share and competitive presence. You can read the Torque News report here.

By the time a vehicle is five years old, the free perks have phased out, and maintenance costs rise. But when a car is ten years old, it’s when the costs go up. It’s also a time when other costs go down, like license plates and insurance. If you own your Subaru Forester or Outback, you also don’t have a car payment and may want to keep your all-wheel-drive vehicle.

A new study by iSeeCars reveals many Subaru owners do keep their older models longer than 10 years. The Subaru Forester makes the top-10 cars and SUVs lists, and the Subaru Outback is one of the top ten SUVs owners keep longer than 15 years.

If you are ready to trade in an older model, Subaru offers special no-interest financing on the 2021 Subaru Forester and 2021 Outback models. You can check out the lease deals on all Subaru vehicles for your area here.

You Might Also Like: New Vincentric Study Says 2021 Subaru Outback, Crosstrek, and Legacy Are The Lowest Cost To Own

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

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Photo credit: Timmons Subaru


mjs (not verified)    April 16, 2021 - 6:57AM

I can't speak for the other cars that were evaluated but this survey is ridiculous. If people who love their Subarus drive the average mileage of 15000 miles per year or 75000 miles in 5 years they will need to replace CV joint boots on the front (they're exposed to the exhaust system). YOU can do that for about $30 per side but Subaru gets you for almost $500. Within 10 years (of the average mileage) you'll need to do wheel bearings...all 4 of them. Again, Subaru gets you for about $500 per but you can do that for less than $50 per and an hour for each one. That's just for "stuff" you'll need to do and doesn't count the other things that will go wrong. Just pointing out how flawed this survey is.

Scott Masse (not verified)    April 16, 2021 - 9:54PM

In reply to by mjs (not verified)

I agree. Subaru maintenance per year needs to include parts that fail, as the bearings on the left and right rear needed to be replaced prior to 100k. The main wire harness inside the dash overheated and melted the blower switch component and needs to be replaced for $2024.00 read that right. That alone blows the average yearly maintenance cost survey. I love my Subabru but let's be honest, they break down and are expensive to fix.

jg (not verified)    April 16, 2021 - 10:57AM

Don't forget about the proprietary connectivity services that each manufacturer now has, like starlink. Those cost are almost more than any maintenance costs, depending on what you select.

QW (not verified)    April 19, 2021 - 10:19AM

Well, my wife's 2016 Forester was definitely "above average" this year. Between the 60k service and replacing the failed eyesight unit we're in for over $3k and it will need tires in a couple months... But it's paid for so we're keeping it. My 2015 Outback hasn't had any unexpected repairs needed.

C. Yoder (not verified)    April 19, 2021 - 2:42PM

That's why I like my old one 1996 and 99 legacy wagons with manual transmission and the 2.2 engine they keep on going bought both of them for 3k and the 96 put on 12k average a year and in 10 years I have probably 4k into it I think it was a good investment and it still is legal the rust looks better than any 5-10 year old car out there and the 99 is in great shape