I have an opportunity to change vehicles and I’m wondering whether or not you think it is worth it. I think the best way to do this is to describe each vehicle and its history.
My Current Vehicle: 2003 Jeep Liberty Sport (3.7L V6)
I bought this car back in 2010. A friend picked it up at an auction, and sold it to me. I don’t know anything about the vehicle’s history before I bought it, but the owner defaulted on her payments, and it appears that she didn’t invest much in terms of preventive maintenance. Since I bought the vehicle, I’ve tried to get it caught up on maintenance. Currently, it has 125,000 miles. Since buying it, I have had the following work done:
- Transmission flush (by an independent shop which also cleaned the pan and replaced the filter)
- Cooling system flush
- Front and rear differentials drained and refilled
- Spark plugs (all replaced)
- AC compressor
- Brake pads / rotors on all four wheels
- Valve cover gaskets replaced
- New PCV valve
Now, on to car number 2:
My grandfather has recently moved into a retirement community and no longer needs his car. Here’s what I know about it:
Grandpa’s Car: 2001 Subaru Legacy Outback
I have not yet had a chance to review his maintenance records, but here’s what I know. He bought it new, and has had it serviced at the dealer ever since. He has been diligent in bringing it in for regular preventative maintenance. Body-wise, it has a few scratches here and there, but it runs fine. It has about 136,000 miles. The vast majority of those miles are highway miles.
I’ve been a grad student for the last couple of years so money has been tight. I will be starting a new job soon. My long term goal is to save up enough money to buy a new car that is more fuel efficient, but I need to save up enough money for a down payment. In the interim, I need a car that will be reliable and not pose a big risk, in terms of a catastrophic failure (i.e. a transmission, head gasket) of some kind.
I recognize that any used car is a bit of a toss-up, but if it were up to you, which one would you pick? I like the jeep but it sucks up tons of gas, and I wonder about the transmission’s long-term health. However, I also know that subarus are known for head gasket problems.
Any constructive input is welcome. Thanks.