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Subarus are some of the most coveted vehicles in the sport compact scene. Subaru really landed on the map of curious car enthusiasts when, finally, the turbo all-wheel-drive WRX model started filling the US showrooms back in 2002. During this time, the WRX exploded onto the scene while aftermarket performance companies raced to engineer the latest high-performance upgrades.

Now, almost 20 years after the release of the WRX, it is still one of the more affordable options for enthusiasts. But, as with almost anything, 20 years is a long time to learn about a car and narrow in on the positives and the negatives. And, if you own a Subaru, chances are you’re familiar with heartache, frustration, tears and even an empty wallet. And, at RallySport Direct, we see you. Heck, we are you and share those same tears and frustrations. And, because of the sheer multitude of similar experiences all Subaru lovers have, it was easy for us to pinpoint the Top 5 Reasons Subarus, both old and current, suck and how, we as Subaru enthusiasts chuckle thru the proverbial pain by fixing our cars with quality aftermarket parts.


Subaru turbo platforms are well known for burning oil and for generating a lot of carbon buildup on the intake valves. That oil residue and vapors make their way into the intake system of the engine and gunks up the intake valves with carbon which greatly effects performance. It can cause detonation issues which cause premature piston wear, it can have an effect on your gas mileage, and it robs your engine of power (no!). This issue is not limited to WRX models, it affects all Subaru engines, and is prevalent in most boxer engine designs.

The solution is *insert drum solo here* an air-oil separator. Air oil separators usually plumb into your factory PCV system to help separate the harmful oil and vapors from making their way into the intake system. This helps your engine run clean and burn fuel at optimal octane levels, and you won't risk quick carbon buildup on your intake valves. This is a critical component for those with modified engines (aka all of us) and really depends on the tune for the overall welfare of the engine. But air-oil separators are a must-have for factory engines that are utilized for daily use where owners may not have the time or know-how to meticulously maintain their engines. At the least, air-oil separators provide a preventative service that adds longevity to the intake system and valvetrain.


The oiling system in the Subaru Boxer Engine can be problematic especially for those who participate in high-performance driving conditions. Think about when you’re on an extended corner at your local track. The majority of the oil goes to one bank of the engine which will starve the other bank of oil. Picture Subaru STI models doing donuts in a parking lot…and before you know it, you hear the infamous rod knock noise just before the engine grenades or comes to a halt. That’s the oil shifting to one bank of the engine for an extended period of time at high rpm's: a recipe for disaster. A good solution for this problem would be a proper oil pan baffle. An oil baffle will prevent oil from extreme sloshing from one side of the engine to the other. This will also prevent oil starvation issues that lead to a spun bearing or an engine failure.

Another problem we are all too familiar with, especially prevalent in the EJ25, is the factory oil pickup. The factory oil pickup is known to crack while inside the pan which causes a catastrophic engine failure. The factory pickup cracks, the factory oil pickup then sucks up air instead of oil which blocks the lubrication process, and you end up losing oil pressure or spinning a bearing which causes metal bearing shavings and material to wipe out your engine. Upgrading your factory oil pickup provides extra insurance to your engine and to your peace of mind (if you have any left after all these issues) and should be a mandatory upgrade anytime you rebuild your engine or perform any sort of maintenance that requires the removal of your oil pan.

We also think an oil pressure gauge is one of the most important gauges you can have in your vehicle; especially if you have extensive modifications. Losing oil pressure can be a good indication that your engine may be damaged, or that you need to shut your engine down immediately to prevent a further catastrophe. What happens when you lose oil pressure? In some cases, when you spin a rod or main bearing, you will lose oil pressure. Naturally, there should always be a film of oil that is sandwiched between the bearing of your rod or main journal. Bearings with proper build clearances should never make contact with each other as oil should do its job and provide lubrication. Once the bearings and the rod or main journal make contact, the oil pressure will drop, and you should shut the engine down immediately so that it does not wipe out other major internal components of your engine. In this case, if you continue to run the engine on low oil pressure the bearings and the journals will grind together creating metal shavings that will travel through the other journals on the crankshaft which will create more clearances. Take rod knock for example. Rod knock is where you have spun the bearing so much that it has created enough space where it will bounce up and down on the rod journal on the crankshaft. Note that it is normal to have lateral movement between the rod cap and the rod journal, but if there is straight up and down movement that is a big problem. If you have reached this point, it is too late. By this time metal shavings and debris will have made it through all of the crank journals, and through the gears of the oil pump. The shavings will grind the affected journal on the crankshaft down, and in some cases, the shavings can even make it into the wrist pin bearing. Ultimately if continued to run, the metal-to-metal friction will drastically increase, and your rod will have no choice but to seize and explode out of the engine. If you didn't window the engine block, you would have to disassemble the motor, have the engine block hot tanked, honed, and decked. The crankshaft would need the journals repaired by welding new material on the affected journals, and you would have to compensate with oversized bearings. You would also need a new oil pump, along with new pistons and rods to perform a complete overhaul if not just starting with a whole brand-new short block.

Now, this is all a worst-case scenario, but an oil pressure gauge can warn the driver to shut the car down immediately if the pressure numbers are below your comfortable threshold.


You may have heard the term, "broken ring land" a few times. And, if not, are you even a Subaru driver? The ring land is the grooves on the upper part of the piston that host the piston rings. Subarus are so mod-friendly, yet the pistons can be a weak point especially for those who get power greedy and want to test the horsepower limits. On a bad tune, or too much boost for the turbo, elevation, or lower gas octane, or simply leaning out the engine will pretty much blow up your engine too. You can burn a hole through the top of the factory piston, or the gaps in the ring land can only handle so much heat before they expand or crack. When this happens, you will damage the cylinder bore and you will lose compression. And if this happens while racing, basically the piston will crumble apart breaking off the wrist pin which will smack the valves, and your engine is gone. This is prevalent mainly for those who run cars for extended periods like road racing, or for those who run high boost numbers at the drag strip. Luckily at RallySport Direct, we carry a massive selection of forged pistons to strengthen the engine to handle the perils of high boost or high horsepower conditions. Click here to check out a great catalog of engine build components from pistons, short blocks, heads, and everything in between.


One of the annoying aspects of owning a Subaru is the soft suspension. This may not apply to newer vehicles, but over time components such as your end links and pretty much all of your suspension bushings become weak and soft over time. This creates a lot of clunking noises, and this can also have an effect on your handling and performance. Having all of the go-fast upgrades can be fun, however, it can all lose its luster if you're not comfortable. The worn suspension also greatly affects the driver feedback of the vehicle.

Some examples of the more popular suspension upgrades include the likes of coil overs. With coil overs, there is a broad availability in terms of basic coilovers that allow you to adjust the ride height to your liking, and there are coilovers that are for the most discriminatory of enthusiasts that demand camber adjustment, damping and rebound, or coilovers that have external reservoirs. More importantly, coilovers for the most part will come ready to install right out of the box. Sometimes you will have to re-employ your factory top hats. But this will eliminate the need to remove the factory strut spring assembly, get a spring compressor tool and disassemble everything, just to get an inch or so drop with conventional lowering springs. With coilovers, you can always adjust the ride height for the next set of wheels you may get. Or you can adjust the damping for your daily comfort. Or, you can adjust the camber, damping, and ride height to get the most out of the handling of your vehicle for the next track event.


The factory paint on the Subaru leaves for much more improvement in terms of aging and durability. Meaning if you are not so keen on taking care of your paint and never wax the vehicle and just use drive-through car washes, it creates a lot of wear and tear on the paint. We have the tools for you to learn how to restore the look and finish of your paintwork. Ever notice how wet the paint looks on the cars at your local car meet? It's because, more than likely, the paint has been corrected and has been coated. If you'd like to learn how to correct your paint, it is always wise to start with an oscillating buffer because an oscillating action moves rapidly back and forth like a high vibration. When used with a proper pad and compound, you could remove many of the marring and micro-scratches your paint has collected from drying your car with the conventional bathroom towel or by continually using the bubble brush at your local car wash that always collects and harbors small rocks. RallySport Direct stocks a massive selection of proper detailing products.

Just like every great car brand, Subaru has its challenges. No cars out there are immune to breaking, so just be prepared so that your Subaru can have less downtime, and more time enjoying the overall ownership experience.