Which Subaru Engines To Avoid

Subaru is known for producing highly reliable vehicles that will serve its owner well for many years. Like every auto manufacturer, however, Subaru does have some years that are better than others.

Engines you should avoid if you are buying a Subaru include the EJ20 2.5L/EJ205/EJ207/EJ20G and EJ25 2.5L.

Which Subaru Engines To Avoid

Additionally, some Subaru’s have head gasket problems. You should always check with Subaru when buying a vehicle to ensure the engine in the vehicle you want is trouble-free.

Types of Subaru Engines

Throughout its existence, Subaru has had over 50 automotive engine models. The most recent engine is the CB. CB stands for Concentration/Compact Boxer.

The new engines are known for producing increased torque at lower engine speeds, saving fuel, and making the vehicle safer.

Subaru’s most famous vehicles are from when it enjoyed immense popularity in the mid to late 1990s. The most prominent engine model had the letters EA followed by a two-digit number.

Subaru Engine Problems 2022

While still highly reliable, the 2022 engines in some Subaru models have experienced some issues. That is typical of all vehicle models for all manufacturers. Here is a sampling of what Subaru has experienced in 2022.

Rough Idling

The engine drops to 500 RPMs or lower for a second and returns to normal. It then repeats the cycle, often indefinitely, if the vehicle is idling, either when the vehicle was in operation and came to a stop or during the period when a vehicle warms up in cold weather.


The engine in the BRZ coupe develops a rattle at higher RPMs. The rattle could happen at any point the vehicle was in operation. The issue was due to a faulty fuel pump.

Media System Issues

Drivers of the BRZ coupe have reported communications issues with Bluetooth, the iOS, dropped cell signals, and sudden termination of phone calls.

The problem is still being addressed in some vehicles, and the solution is likely a firmware update.

Keyless Access

The vehicle sometimes fails to recognize the key when the key is in the cabin. Additionally, the keyless ignition does not work intermittently. The issue has not yet been successfully corrected.


The BRZ has issues with the windows freezing shut. Owners have used de-icers to get the automatic raise and lower functions to work. Also, there have been reports of the windows not going up and down.

Which Subaru Engines To Avoid

Subaru has had a few engines that have had enough problems that you’ll want to avoid dealing with. It also has a few issues that require monitoring to prevent or fix them.

Subaru EJ20 2.5L Engine

The EJ20 was a two-liter model engine with aluminum-alloy cylinder heads. They were designed with Single Overhead Cam features.

This engine’s most popular Subaru models include the Forester, Legacy, and Impreza in the 125, 135, 155, and 140 HP versions.

The most common problems include:

  • A knock in the 4th cylinder leads to overheating when the piston or rods start knocking
  • Prematurely leaking oil from some seals and gaskets

Subaru EJ205/EJ207/EJ20G Engine

The first issue with this engine is that the air-conditioned intercooler did not prevent overheating the engine core.

Another issue was that the engine went through a lot of oil caused by stuck rings. The answer for this issue, as recommended by Subaru, was to use higher quality oil and fuel.

Which Subaru Engines To Avoid

Subaru EJ25 2.5L Engine

The problems with this engine covered the EJ15, EJ16, EJ18, EJ20, and EJ22 models. The EJ25 was one of the most prevalent Subaru engines. It was very popular with owners of the Forrester and Legacy models.

The most common problems were engines making knocking noises in the 4th cylinder. The cylinder would run extremely hot. Another issue was with malfunctioning camshafts as well as loose cylinder headcovers.

Head Gaskets

For the last 40 years, Subarus has had a reputation for head gasket issues once the vehicle gets up around 125,000 miles.

While there has been no official recall, many models have had at least the perception of many head gasket issues. If you are buying a used Subaru, you need to ensure the model you are considering buying has not had this issue.

2022 Recall

Subaru recalled almost a million vehicles because of engine stalling issues. Over half a million 2018 and 2019 Crosstrek SUV and Impreza vehicles were affected.

The issue was a short circuit caused by the car computer powering the ignition coil. The solution was a software update and, if necessary, a replacement of the ignition coil.

What To Consider When Choosing a Subaru Engine

Before buying a Subaru, make sure you cover the following:

The Head Gasket Issue

Check and ensure your vehicle is not on the list of vehicles with many head gasket problems.

You Need To Check on Recalls

Subarus have not had more recalls than usual, but because their owners tend to drive them as much as they do, a recall can be issued for a model at any time, even after the average vehicle expected lifespan.

Insist on a Certified Used Subaru Dealer

If you buy used, make sure the dealer is certified by Subaru. A certified dealer will save you time and money if you have issues.

Test Drive, Inspect, Poke, and Prod

This is more advice for buying used. Go over every inch of the vehicle with a fine-toothed comb. The reason is that Subaru models on a used car lot tend to have amazing miles on them.

Most Reliable Subaru Engine

Because Subaru has so many types of vehicles, it is almost impossible to pick out “the best” engine. Additionally, some great Subaru engines were in vehicles from 20 or 30 years ago that are extremely difficult to locate now.

How Hard Is It to Swap a Subaru Engine?

For a mechanic, it is not difficult. The flat engine poses some hoist and removal issues, which are easily overcome. Compared to other vehicle engines, Subaru’s engine is not easier or harder to swap out.

Do Subarus Have a Lot of Problems?

In reality, Subaru vehicles are not as amazing as their owners claim, but it is a major stretch to say that the company’s vehicles have many problems.

It has some vehicles you must keep an eye on, but many more will be a workhorse for you for years to come.

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Author: DJ

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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