Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

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chrischris
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Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by chrischris » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:50 pm

My wife drives a 2009 Subaru Forester. It’s been great and gets the job done. Enough room for the kids and has been reliable.

The car has 130k miles on it and now needs a new head gasket. Local area shops will do the complete job including timing belt and seals for $2500. It’s a common issue with this engine and the shops do several of these jobs each week. I’m located in the Pacific north west where Subarus are valued. If I sold the car, I’d imagine I could get around $8-9k? With a new head gasket, the car would likely work for several more years without major issues.

I hate to throw that kind of money at the car, but I really don’t feel like replacing it. We could actually use a vehicle with more space, but my wife is happy with the car and has driven it for 5 years. I don’t have enough cash saved up for a new vehicle purchase so I would likely have to finance it.

We’d likely purchase a new Odyssey since in our area buying used doesn’t bring much savings versus new. The market is rather interesting for used reliable Japanese vehicles. We would likely keep the new vehicle for at least 10 years. I’ve become more of a buy new and hold car buyer.

Any advice?

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dwickenh
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by dwickenh » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:01 pm

I would shoot for getting 15 years out of the Subaru and have the repairs done. Then start a "replacement fund" for the next vehicle you will need in 6 years.
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

runner3081
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by runner3081 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:04 pm

Fix it.

AerialWombat
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by AerialWombat » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:12 pm

I drive an ‘02 Forester with 205k miles on it. Also PNW.

Fix the car. Drive it ‘til the tranny eats itself.

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Watty
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by Watty » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:17 pm

Even if you wanted to get rid of it it would likely make sense to fix it before you sell it.

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wander
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by wander » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:35 pm

Like you I like to buy new and keep car as long as I can. But I would not keep a car with blown head gasket. Fix or not is your choice, but you should get rid of it.

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Alexa9
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by Alexa9 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:41 pm

Most importantly can you easily afford a new car and will getting rid of it bring you peace of mind?
Otherwise I'd say about 50/50 fix/sell from what I've read it sounds like a common problem.
I'm surprised there is no class action lawsuit. I would call/write Subaru and let them know how disappointed you are and that you won't be recommending them to family/friends. They may offer you something.

chrischris
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by chrischris » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:07 pm

I was able to locate a former Subaru Master Technician that still does work on the side. He agreed to charge $750 if I purchase the parts, which cost around $600. I’ll update after the work is completed.

Teague
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by Teague » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:18 pm

wander wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:35 pm
Like you I like to buy new and keep car as long as I can. But I would not keep a car with blown head gasket...
Why is that, if I may ask, assuming OP is willing to have it fixed?
Semper Augustus

badger42
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by badger42 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:22 pm

It's a Subaru EJ25. The head gasket on that motor is not an "if" but a "when". Do the HG job (have somebody good do it) and keep driving!

ncbill
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by ncbill » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:57 am

chrischris wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:07 pm
I was able to locate a former Subaru Master Technician that still does work on the side. He agreed to charge $750 if I purchase the parts, which cost around $600. I’ll update after the work is completed.
While the engine's apart be sure to replace other components if they're due, e.g. water pump (& timing belt if used) plus all engine seals.

When my 1997 Subaru needed the head gaskets replaced (died out of town, but fortunately near a dealer) they also replaced all external belts/hoses/radiator in addition to the above for one fixed price.

Still going strong nearly 100,000 miles later.

ssquared87
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by ssquared87 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:03 am

chrischris wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:07 pm
I was able to locate a former Subaru Master Technician that still does work on the side. He agreed to charge $750 if I purchase the parts, which cost around $600. I’ll update after the work is completed.
Well done, the car will last you a long time and the repair is worth it. For repairs I can't to myself, I do the same thing, try to find a master tech who does work on the side. They're usually excellent at what they do, and they let me help out so I can learn about the repair.

Nate79
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by Nate79 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:13 am

For a model year 2009 I disagree that this is normal to need a headgasket. The rate is much much much lower than the previous generations. I would also investigate a third party Subaru specialist to get a different opinion and lower price. I would do the repair if the rest of the car is in great shape and there is not a lot of other hidden repairs, especially safety related that are needed.

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nedsaid
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by nedsaid » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:11 pm

My rule of thumb is that you get rid of a car when you start having problems finding spare parts. This seems to start happening after 20 years or so. Another thing to look at is how many things are going wrong at once. When I saw issues, I mean other than routine maintenance, things like brakes. If it is one or two issues, fix and drive on. If multiple issues are coming up at the same time, you want to really think about getting a new car. There gets to be a point of no return with a car.
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CuriousReader
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by CuriousReader » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:20 pm

Very timely. We took our 2009 Forester in before a 300 mile trip last week because the check engine light was on. It needs oil pressure switches replaced (and engine flushed), control arm bushings replaced (with allignment), four new tires (2 will fail inspection in September), and the power steering is leaking fluid on the boot.(which will eventually take out the pump)--all for about $3500. I chose to do nothing for now and took our other car on the trip, but now what?
If I don't fix it, how would we sell it? I've enjoyed it but I swear it makes my back hurt and every time I go on a trip a warning light comes on so I don't exactly trust it now that it's months away from being 10 years old. (140,000 miles)
And is the head gasket going to go?

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whodidntante
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:28 pm

When I owned hoopties I did the repairs myself. $2,500 is too much for a head gasket, unless you drove it long enough to cause extensive damage.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by CyclingDuo » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:30 am

chrischris wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:07 pm
I was able to locate a former Subaru Master Technician that still does work on the side. He agreed to charge $750 if I purchase the parts, which cost around $600. I’ll update after the work is completed.
Excellent! :sharebeer
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Chip
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by Chip » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:04 am

chrischris wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:07 pm
I was able to locate a former Subaru Master Technician that still does work on the side. He agreed to charge $750 if I purchase the parts, which cost around $600. I’ll update after the work is completed.
This is good news. My only advice is don't buy cheap parts. There are lots of junky auto parts out there. RockAuto is a good online source but buy the good stuff (you'll have lots of options there). Ask your mechanic for recommendations on specific brands if necessary.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:11 am

This is normal for a N/A EJ25. The replacement gaskets will be multi layer steel (MLS) and will never go. Doing the timing belt (water pump, tensioner) will complete everything major for this car.

Other things I'd expect to need to do: Possibly power steering pump. CV axles (or boots alone....there's so little price difference, I just do the entire axles) and of course brakes.

I'm picking up a used 17 Legacy Limited today, so will be upgrading from our 04 Outback that we named "The Death Car" because of the Takata airbag....which we had replaced. I'm happy to have the FB25 engine and to avoid direct injection for now. Picking up in just a few hours.
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gotester2000
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by gotester2000 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:58 am

Fix it if you expect at least 3-5 years from the vehicle without being worried about getting stranded.
Buy genuine parts for replacement.

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Pajamas
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Re: Should I fix the car or get rid of it?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:50 pm

chrischris wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:50 pm
2009 Subaru Forester . . . has 130k miles on it and now needs a new head gasket. Local area shops will do the complete job including timing belt and seals for $2500.
Sell. Other things will go wrong and require further major expenses. I've seen this again and again. Don't throw good money after bad.
We could actually use a vehicle with more space, but my wife is happy with the car and has driven it for 5 years.
Sounds like you would be much happier with another car even if your wife is not really unhappy with this one. It's typical not to notice how bad your old shoes are until you get a new pair, for instance, and then you wonder why you didn't replace them sooner.
We’d likely purchase a new Odyssey since in our area buying used doesn’t bring much savings versus new. The market is rather interesting for used reliable Japanese vehicles. We would likely keep the new vehicle for at least 10 years. I’ve become more of a buy new and hold car buyer.
Sounds like a good plan.

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