2013 Wrx Wagon Resale

My husband has a 2013 Impreza Wrx wagon. We bought it used 18 months ago. It now has a major engine problem. There is a cylinder misfire and after months of back and forth with our trusted mechanic he has determined that the engine needs to be completely taken apart to diagnose and fix the issue. There is some type of compression issue in cylinder 4 but he can’t figure out the cause from the outside.

We owe $8000 and don’t want to go into debt to pay $5000 to rebuild the engine. My question is, in a private sale what value is left on this car? I know very little about cars but based on the year and issues, I’m not expecting more than $2000 from a dealership trade in.

Any advice? Thanks!

If it’s worth $8000 in excellent condition and the repairs cost $5000, then the car is worth no more than $3000. A dealer offer of $2000 is pretty good. You might also consider a used engine. That is probably less than $5000 installed.

1 Like

The good news is that’s it’s semi-niche (wagon) enthusiast’s car. So you might be able to get a bit more than you think, particularly if it’s a manual. You won’t get $8k or even $5k. But you can probably do better than $2k. I’d also strongly consider getting a 2nd opinion, you might not need a rebuilt engine, and the cost to repair it could be considerably less than your mechanic is suggesting.


A 2013 WRX wagon with average mileage for the year, has a trade-in value of around $14k in the current market.

You owe $8,000, you sell it for $2,000, You’ll still owe $6,000 and have nothing.

You owe $8,000, put $5,000 into it, You’ll owe 13,000 and still have a car.

Will you be able to get a car as nice as what you have for $5,000 ?

1 Like

Right. We paid $15700 in 2019.

Thanks! Our mechanic reached out to Subaru at one point and they were no help, but you’re right we should get a second opinion.

I like the idea of a used engine. Thanks for this suggestion.

Yeah the numbers do reflect that we are better off fixing it when you put it that way. But a car loan vs credit card debt are what we’re weighing in on. $5000 on a car loan over 5 years vs 5000 on a credit card make a difference for us. I’d rather roll the amount we owe on the wrx into a new loan if it comes down to selling it. Thanks!

It is not just the 5000 on a car loan . It is the balance of 8000.00 you still owe plus the price of the next vehicle and you will not get the best loan rate . If the next vehicle is used you could find your self in this same situation again . Do you not belong to a credit union or have a bank that will make a repair loan. There is also the possibility of borrowing from your 401K if you have one.

1 Like

Hmm. All my car loans are through a credit union and yes I understand that it wouldn’t just be the amount left on this car loan but I’m weighing how we want to go into debt. But I will look into a car repair loan. I’ve never come across that type of loan.

Is your mechanic a Subaru specialist? If not, find one that is and get a second opinion. My first thought is head gaskets, much less than $5000 to fix.


Yeah, +1 for a second opinion. Makes me wonder if you make have “bought someone else’s problem…”

This is a big (read: expensive) financial decision. You need the best info you can get to make the best decision. Even if you have to pay another mechanic for a diagnosis, it’ll still be money ahead.

In general…you’re going to better off keeping the vehicle you have. Any other vehicle you buy or trade in for can also have expensive, unseen problems.

Thanks, I do believe head gaskets were discussed at one point. But he’s not a specialist, so we will have to find one.

1 Like

Yeah, I definitely think that this was a pre existing problem. Thank you. I think we will be doing a second opinion. My husband doesn’t want to give up this car anyway.

Your mechanic should be able to diagnose this without taking anything apart. I assume from your post that he ran a compression test?

If so, he should have run a wet compression test on No. 4. It could be that there is a valve lash issue due to this regular maintenance procedure being ignored.
A wet test means a small squirt of oil into the cylinder and then a re-test. If the compression number stays about the same that means it’s valve adjustment issue more than likely.

Adjusting the valves could bring the number back up but this may not work for the long term. A lot depends upon how long the valve was tight.
Seems to me it’s way too premature to dump the existing engine.


I have never heard of such a thing. There are, of course, unsecured personal loans, which can be used for any purpose (other than educational expenses).

Sorry, I do not see how this makes sense. Your retirement account(s) are your future, and they are fully protected from creditors–even in the event of a lawsuit/judgment or bankruptcy. I would not loot my retirement to pay off any debt, or to pay for any living expense other than perhaps necessary medical care.

Thanks so much. These are great suggestions that I will pass along. I’m not certain what type of compression tests were run.

Home equity loan? Renter?

  1. Have a knowledgeable mechanic determine what’s actually wrong and how much it will cost to fix.
  2. While you’re there, ask his opinion of the remaining life (miles) of the vehicle.
  3. Go to Kelly Blue Book or similar to estimate it’s value if repaired and then do the math.

And yes, some lenders do offer Repair Loans but they’re often at a higher interest rate.

A cheaper alternative may be to talk to your CU about “Refinancing” the current loan. i.e. Take a new Used Car loan in a total amount sufficient to payoff your existing loan and the cost of the repairs.