Defective Piston Ring Test(s)?

First of all, love the videos...informative and pretty darn entertaining.

I am considering a 2012 Subaru Forester w/ 90,000 miles for $10,500 (also leaning toward a 2009-2010...and yes, I am aware of the head gasket issue in those models).

It will essentially be a spare. We are expecting to add our first little human to the family in a matter of weeks and we both work full-time, so I want a reliable vehicle we can drive while I take my good ole time fixing any potential issues with our main vehicles.

Let me first say that I'm on of those people who love their Subarus, so while I will appreciate anyone's inevitable suggestion to buy a RAV4 or CR-V instead...I'm just stubborn. I know Subies have their issues, but ours have all made it 20+ years and/or 200,000-300,000 miles with regular maintenance, which I do mostly myself. The only major issue was the head gasket in from "08 Legacy (100,000 miles), but I went to a local Subaru specialist with a solid reputation, and the Grey Ghost is rolling down the road as breezily as ever.

Here are the things that I know about the 2012:

  1. Horror stories and the class action suit regarding oil consumption due to defective piston rings including the 2011-2014 2.5 Foresters.
  2. 98% of those vehicles are theoretically "unaffected" (according to Subaru spokesperson at least). So only 2% have the problem...again theoretically.
  3. The specific vehicle has a strong CARFAX service maintenance history.
  4. Also, it exhibits none of the oil burning/consuming symptoms that I am aware of and can easily check during a test drive: blue/black smoke from tail pipe upon cold start, excessive soot or carbon build up in tailpipe, milky frothy residue inside oil cap, etc. (if there are more simple checks, feel free to share).

So the question...IS A COMPRESSION TEST THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO DETERMINE IF THE PISTON RINGS ARE DEFECTIVE?

Thanks for reading this, and thanks to anyone who throws in their 2 cents.

SubaruDude

Comments (9)
No. 1-2
SubaruDude
SubaruDude

Thanks, I'll see if the dealer is willing to do that for the sale. That Forester has been there for almost 45 days. With the end of the month, holiday sales, and new models coming in, hopefully they will be motivated to sell cheap and

Do you know how long-ish those test(s) take? Perhaps my mechanic can fit it in during a pre-purchase inspection.

Top 5...I'll take it.

Techsus
Techsus

Wet & Dry Compression Test. This week, Subaru placed 5th-out-of-five on Scotty's list of the 5 Best manufacturers.