Subaru Turbo Lifespan: How Long Can a Turbocharger Last and How to Care for It

If you own or are considering purchasing a Subaru vehicle, you may be curious about the lifespan and care of its turbochargers. Turbochargers are essential components in modern car engines that boost power and increase performance. However, they are also subject to wear and tear, requiring proper maintenance and eventual replacement.

In this article, we aim to answer the most common questions about Subaru turbos, debunk myths about their lifespan, and provide tips to care for them. Whether you are a Subaru owner, car enthusiast, or looking to buy a Subaru vehicle, this article will help you understand and maximize your Subaru turbo lifespan.

How long can a Subaru turbocharger last?

The lifespan of a Subaru turbocharger depends on several factors, such as driving conditions, maintenance, and usage. On average, a properly maintained and unmodified Subaru turbo can last up to 150,000 miles or more. However, many factors can shorten or prolong the lifespan of a turbocharger.

Common factors that affect the longevity of a Subaru turbo include:

  • Lack of maintenance: Regular maintenance is crucial to keep a turbocharger functioning correctly. Maintenance includes oil changes, air filter replacement, and inspecting the turbo components for signs of wear or damage.
  • Driving habits: Aggressive driving, such as frequent hard acceleration or high-speed driving, can put more stress on the turbocharger, causing it to wear out faster.
  • Modifications: Engine modifications, such as aftermarket turbos, can significantly increase the power output of a Subaru vehicle. However, they also put more strain on the turbocharger, reducing its lifespan.
  • Factory defects or quality issues: Although rare, factory defects or quality problems can cause premature turbocharger failures.
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Signs that a Subaru turbocharger needs replacement

Knowing the signs of a failing or worn-out turbocharger is essential to prevent further engine damage and costly repairs. The following are some of the common symptoms of a failing Subaru turbocharger:

  • Loss of power: A worn-out turbocharger cannot provide the necessary boost and horsepower, resulting in reduced engine performance and acceleration.
  • Excessive exhaust smoke: If a turbocharger is damaged or worn, it may allow oil to seep into the exhaust, creating thick, blueish smoke.
  • Loud whining or grinding noise: A failing turbocharger may produce a high-pitched whining or grinding noise as the internal components begin to wear or malfunction.
  • Check engine light: The check engine light can illuminate for various reasons, including a failing or faulty turbocharger. If the light comes on, have the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic.

How to care for a Subaru turbocharger

Proper maintenance and care are crucial to maximize the lifespan and performance of a Subaru turbocharger. Here are some tips to care for your turbocharger:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule: Regularly scheduled maintenance, such as oil changes, filter replacements, and component inspections, can help prevent premature turbocharger failure.
  • Use high-quality oil: Subaru recommends using synthetic oil for optimal engine performance and longevity. Low-quality oil or insufficient oil can cause damage to the turbocharger and other engine components.
  • Avoid aggressive driving: Avoiding rapid acceleration, high-speed driving, and hard cornering can reduce the strain on the turbocharger, increasing its lifespan.
  • Avoid modifying the engine: Although engine modifications can increase power and performance, they also put more stress on the turbocharger, reducing its lifespan.
  • Inspect for damage or wear frequently: Regularly inspect the turbocharger and its components for signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, leaks, or abnormal wear patterns.
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How much does it cost to replace a Subaru turbocharger?

The cost of replacing a Subaru turbocharger can vary, depending on the year and model of the vehicle, as well as the cost of the replacement parts and labor charges. On average, the cost of a turbocharger replacement can range from $800 to $2,000 or more.


Q: Can I extend the lifespan of my Subaru turbocharger?

A: Yes, by following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, avoiding aggressive driving, and using high-quality oil, you can maximize the lifespan of your Subaru turbocharger.

Q: Should I modify my Subaru engine with an aftermarket turbo?

A: While aftermarket turbos can significantly increase power output, they also put more strain on the turbocharger, reducing its lifespan. Additionally, modifications can void the vehicle’s warranty and may lead to other engine issues.

Q: What are some common problems that can affect the lifespan of a Subaru turbo?

A: Lack of maintenance, aggressive driving, engine modifications, and factory defects or quality issues can all affect the lifespan of a Subaru turbo.

In conclusion, Subaru turbos can last long if cared for and maintained properly. Regular maintenance, such as oil changes and filter replacements, inspecting for damage, and avoiding aggressive driving, can help maximize the lifespan and performance of a Subaru turbocharger. Although rare, factory defects and quality problems can cause premature failures, and modifications can void the vehicle’s warranty and reduce the lifespan of the turbocharger. If you suspect a failing or worn-out turbocharger, have the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic to prevent further engine damage.

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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