2000 Subaru Outback...Time to Sell, Trade-in, or Keep?

Just brought my car in to the Mechanic because the check engine light came on. Some of the following problems I knew about, some I did not. The mechanic told me I need a new under carriage, new head gaskets, new front brakes and rotors, new front axel and a new catalytic converter. Yikes! The car has 136,000 miles on it and I know I don’t need to do everything all at once. The big questions: Do I fix everything on my car? Fix one thing at a time? Trade it in? Sell it independently? What do you think?

I drive a 1999 Subaru Outback with 124k miles & went through some pricey repairs in the last year. They replaced a lot of stuff under the car (which finally eliminated a terrible burning smell that plagued the car since I bought it), new idlers, replaced the stabilizer bar when it broke, … and a few other things I can’t recall running me a couple thousand dollars. Now, the car runs great (but for a klunk in the rear end over bumps) and I’m confident it’s worth way more than the book value (around $4k). I guess I might end up having some of the same issues you are having in about 10k miles though. I am also looking at selling just to get something that’s more fun to drive - may be having a midlife crisis!

There are many folks out there getting more than 200k miles out of these cars, so if you want to drive it for years to come it might be worth the cost to repair it. If you are itching to drive something different after 10+ years with the same car, then it’s probably a good time to change.

Since yours needs some work you’d probably get a low price for it in a private sale. Book values of these seem low (especially compared to something like a $3k repair bill). Do you have something in mind that you would trade it in against? That might be your best bet.

Personally I would trade it off. None of those items are out of the ordinary for a 11 yr old vehicle except for the head gasket. The problem is the head gasket is common for Subaru non turbo’s and pretty expensive to fix ($1000+) and can lead to other issues if the vehicle was overheated.

Before you leap get a 2nd opinion from another mechanic.

New under carriage? That could mean almost anything.

In my experience Subarus become expensive to maintain as they age. I recently sold a Legacy with about 140K miles on it because I was tired of spending money on it.

So if I were in your position I’d sell or trade the car and move on to something else.

If you decide to keep it fix everything.