Looking to purchase a 2011-2012 Subaru Outback

Asked by Sep 22, 2017 at 02:50 PM about the Subaru Outback

Question type: General

I have been looking around for a 2011-2012 Outback in the Arizona area.
Buying used especially when most of the dealerships around here don't
certify very often scares me a bit, so I just want to make sure I cover my
bases. I found a 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i SUV with 104000 miles and a
clean carfax for $10500.

I guess my main concern is I have heard from my mechanic that I should
make sure it has new heads (which I dont think it does) because they are
know to go bad after 80k miles. Is there any truth to this? Are there any
issues or things I should look for when I go to check out this car?

Thanks in advance for anyone's help!

3 Answers


The best thing to do is when you find one that you like is have it checked by a shop that does used car check over, believe me it is money well spent especially if they find something that can cause serious problems down the road. A lot of people like Subaru, I'm not one of them, but have a used car checked out is just the right thing to do.


The issue is not new heads but head gaskets. Have a mechanic that knows Subaru's check it out before buying. Dealers don't usually don't certify older cars (certification is a warranty that adds a thousand or two to the price).


2010-2012 OBs are clones. You're wise to avoid the first year's production. '11-12 still use the older SOHC t-belt driven motor, so although heads are probably clean you should have a wrench take a peek at the t-belt, as well refresh the iridiums, fluids (esp the CVT!) and air filter, of course. My biggest concern with the '10-12 OBs (and '15+ for that matter) is the substandard handling from lack of body control because of soft suspension. A moderately successful low-cost upgrade is to replace the skinny rear swaybar with Subaru's own fatter (19mm) one. The result will be a VERY satisfying reduction in rear-end lag and yaw. You won't mitigate the front end dive nor all the roll, but for about $300 you'll approach the far better body control of the '13-14 iteration. (Note taht removing the old swaybar end-links can be difficult, so it's easier to just install a new pair with the swaybar; takes only a half hour.) Forgot to mention that you should NOT buy an OB "basic", but only a Prem or Ltd. You'll improve road feel considerably by getting H (or even V)-rated tires instead of the heavy-feeling T that it probably has. (Disclaimer: I have a modified '12 and late '13 OB for sale here in Boston if you feel like flying in and having a fun return!) I should probably mention that the '13-14 Leg/OBs also have the peppier new DOHC chain-driven motor that also squeezes +1mpg or so. Hence I specialize in the '13-14 sub- era, but the '12 I modified was so clean I had to buy it! Your highest risk in chasing one is getting a defective CVT (either bad torque converter or worn internal bearing). This is easily assessed during a test drive unless you hear a worn wheel bearing masking it. Other stuff like bad CVs, brakes, tires, etc., are easily assessed. Good luck!

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