Why Proper Valve Clearance Adjustment is Critical for Longevity and Performance of Your Subaru Engine

Subaru has long been known to produce reliable, high-performance vehicles that capture the imagination and hearts of car enthusiasts everywhere. To keep your Subaru running optimally, maintenance must be performed regularly. One of the most critical maintenance tasks that owners must perform is valve clearance adjustment. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of valve clearance adjustment in Subaru vehicles, the symptoms of a vehicle that needs adjustment, the process for performing adjustment, and any potential consequences of not performing adjustment.

What is Valve Clearance Adjustment?

First, let’s cover the basics. Valve clearance adjustment involves adjusting the space between the camshaft and the valve. This space is referred to as valve clearance, and the adjustment ensures that the engine is running optimally. If this clearance is too small or too large, it can cause significant engine damage and impact engine performance. Valve clearance is a crucial part of proper engine maintenance.

Why is Valve Clearance Adjustment Critical for Subaru Engines?

Subaru engines are known for their superior performance. They are responsive, powerful, and have some unique features that set them apart from other engines. However, these engines require precise valve clearance to operate at their best. Improper valve clearance can cause significant damage to the engine, resulting in poor performance and reduced engine lifespan. By performing regular valve clearance adjustment, you can extend the life of your engine, improve fuel efficiency, and enjoy a better-performing vehicle.

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Signs You Need Valve Clearance Adjustment

Keeping an eye out for the signs that your Subaru needs valve clearance adjustment is essential. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • A ticking or clicking sound coming from the engine. This noise is typically loudest when the engine is cold and will decrease as it warms up.
  • A reduction in engine power.
  • Reduced fuel efficiency.
  • A rough idle or jerky performance when operating at low speeds.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to schedule a maintenance appointment to have your valve clearance checked and adjusted if necessary.

The Valve Clearance Adjustment Process

Valve clearance adjustment is a technical process that should be left to experienced professionals. The process involves removing various engine components to access the valves, measuring the clearance with precise tools, and adjusting the clearance where necessary. Your Subaru owner’s manual will provide guidance on the recommended maintenance schedule, and your local mechanic or dealership can perform the necessary maintenance.

The Consequences of Not Performing Valve Clearance Adjustment

If valve clearance adjustment is not performed regularly, it can result in significant engine damage. Valve clearance that is too tight can cause the valve to stay open, which results in reduced engine power and efficiency, and increased wear on the valve and camshaft surfaces. Valve clearance that is too loose may not allow the valve to open and close correctly, leading to a lack of power and reduced engine performance.

Proper Maintenance Extends Engine Life

Your Subaru engine is a complex machine that requires regular maintenance to protect your investment and ensure that it runs reliably. Valve clearance adjustment is a crucial component of this maintenance. By staying on top of your maintenance schedule, you can take an important step in extending the lifespan of your engine and enjoying your vehicle for years to come.

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Q: What is meant by valve clearance?

A: Valve clearance refers to the space between the camshaft and the valve. Adjustment of this clearance ensures that the engine is running optimally.

Q: How often should valve clearance adjustment be performed on a Subaru engine?

A: The recommended maintenance schedule can be found in your Subaru owner’s manual. Generally, valve clearance adjustment should be performed at least once every 30,000 miles.

Q: What are the symptoms of a Subaru engine that requires valve clearance adjustment?

A: Some of the most common symptoms include a ticking or clicking sound coming from the engine, reduced engine power, reduced fuel efficiency, and a rough idle or jerky performance when operating at low speeds.


Valve clearance adjustment is a vital part of maintaining your Subaru engine’s optimal performance and extending its lifespan. By staying on top of this maintenance task, you can enjoy a reliable, high-performance vehicle that will be the envy of your friends and family. If you suspect that your engine requires valve clearance adjustment, it’s essential to schedule a maintenance appointment today and protect your investment for years to come.

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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