'01 Outback (Fix, Trade,or drive into ground?)

I have a 2001 Subaru Outback with about 111k miles in need of some serious work. The head gasket is leaking, timing belt needs replaced and 2 axle boots are ripped. All told thats in the neighborhood of $2600, pretty close to what Kelly Blue Book says its worth. Not that I want another car payment (its paid off and my wife’s is not) but that’s a lot of dough and the advice I have been given is trade it in (with the aforementioned car payment), fix it and drive it and maybe never get the money back or drive it into the ground. I’m not a auto expert just a city commuter (5 miles a day) that should probably ride his bike more but is distressed at the oil puddling in my garage. Any words of wisdom on this situation? Thanks!
-Confounded in Columbus

The Timing Belt Is Probably Routine Maintenance (If It’s Not Been Replaced) That Is Overdue, So You Can’t Count That As A Repair. It Does, However, Need To Be Changed.

That Leaves The Head Gasket(s) And Axles As Needed Repairs.
The head gasket job and timing belt job, overlap (labor) , fortunately.

If the rest of the car is in good shape with no other real mechanical, electrical, or rust problems or body damage and basically everything works, I’d have it maintained and repaired.

Five miles per day doesn’t call for a new car, in my opinion. That type of driving is tough on a car and I’d rather have it be tough on the old feller than a new car.


You may want to get a vehicle inspection to see what other upcoming repairs there may be. If the inspection is clean, no major problems it may be worth it given the cost of an alternate used or new vehicle.

get a price quote for the head gasket and axle shafts. The timing belt should only add the cost of the belt since you need to remove the timing belt to remove the head(s).