1998 Subaru Legacy Outback Limited-Deal or No Deal?


Need some opinions. I’ve been offered to buy this 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback Limited. One Owner, EXCELLENT condition, exterior and interior are like new, 77,100 miles which is considered low for a nine year old car, automatic trans. Rides great. Did not hear any unusual noises. Car is loaded. I ran a carfax on it to confirm all of the above. Was serviced regularly at a Subaru dealer. Carfax stated I could expect to pay 9100.00 for it from a dealer. It was offered by an acquaintance who is a mechanic and sells used cars in his own small shop. He offered it to me for 7395.00. He says I will easily get another 100,000 miles out of it. Do you think this is too much. A few people said it is too much for a 9 year old car. I say they have not been shopping in awhile. Anyway, before I buy, what say you?

Deal or No Deal?


No deal…

This vintage Subaru 96-2000 is known to blow head gaskets(cost $1500+).


Deal if you can get a lower price…Looks to me that it is about $1,000 too much,


Sounds way overpriced for a Subaru to me. For a good indicator of what a vehicle is going for in the real world try eBay.

Other than the previously mentioned head gasket problems you might ask if that annoying, and expensive, timing belt/tensioner/water pump job has been taken care of.


Go here:


Nada shows with all options low retail is $6175.00, clean retail is $7350.00 and high retail is $8200.00

I would say he is low on his price if it is in as excellent shape as you say. I would buy it!


Your opinion of EXCELLENT is based on what? Appearance and no funny noises? That may not mean anything.

It also sounds like you’re putting a lot of faith in CarFax, which is often incorrect and does not give you the entire picture.
CarFax MAY show recalls performed and any insurance claims that have been made against the car (likely, but not definitive) and that’s IF they’re reported.
CF will not give you a mechanical and maintenance history.

(For what its worth, my last Subaru was totalled and rebuilt on a SALVAGE title. CarFax showed that Subaru as having a clean title, which means no body damage. This car was on an Oklahoma SALVAGE title for 8 years in spite of CarFax’s history. The windshield forward consisted of another front end from a blown up Subaru I bought on the cheap.
CarFax even showed another car of mine once as being “currently stolen”, which was news to me and law enforcement.)

I do have a question. If this car is very low miles for the year and is in excellent condition (creampuff it appears) then why did this car end up at a mechanic shop?


If you don’t get heavy snow seasons, you will never need AWD. If you have a damaged tire, you have to change all four. The price is right, but the drive system is complex. It has to be your own coin that gets flipped to decide this one. Not all cars have problems, but when an AWD has transmission problems or drive train problems, you don’t want it to be your car. The risks are only slightly worse, but the bill for the fix would be more if you need the repairs.


We bought a used 98 Legacy Outback last fall w/115K mi on it. It’s been in the shop four times since for transmission, seals, timing belt, and now for a head job due to a failed timing belt tensioner. The previous comment about the complex transmission rings true, fortunately the dealer we bought it from fixed our auto tranny on warranty sine we brought it to their attention immediately.


Prices can vary for vehicles in certain locations. Here in Alaska for instance, Subarus hold their value well and sell pretty fast when put on the market. It sounds like the price may be a little high on this one but it does have farily low mileage (if it is true mileage). If the engine is the 2.5 liter I would try to see if the headgaskets have been replaced. That is a fairly common trouble on these cars.

I like the limited versions since they usually have all the options you can get. If you really like the car you may make them a counter offer and see what they say. You are in driver’s seat when it comes to the sale. I do also like the fact that it is a one owner car. We bought a one owner '00 Outback Limited in Texas recently for $7,000. The price started at $7,800.

If you have never owned a Subaru before I think you will really like it. Especially if you live in an area that gets snow.