99 forester on the way out?

We purchased a 99 Subaru Forester last December. We had the car inspected prior to buying and went ahead after getting the green light. Now the car has been leaking oil for months, and we’ve addressed that by adding oil and recently had the problem checked. Ouch. It needs a new head gasket, new oil pan, new rear brakes, and more… to the tune of $4500. Other than recognizing that we may have a lemon, what should be done? We like the body size and all wheel drive, but hardly feel we should put so much money into an old used car that may need something else major next year. We can’t really afford a new car or $4500 out of pocket, but it seems unwise to buy another used car and then face big repairs again. I am wondering if folks can weigh in: should we buy a new car? What model?

Where did you get this quote from? A head gasket is certainly pricey, and a common thing in the Subarus. But why would you need a new oil pan? A new oil pan gasket maybe - but the need for a whole new pan is not so common. It is also the case that lots and lots of oil pans leak, and most of them not so much. The oil loss that has you adding all of the time is likely the head.

If you need new rear brakes, then you need new rear brakes - they’re just a normal wear & tear item.

It sounds to me like you need to take this to a different shop or two. Find a local, owner-operated shop with a decent reputation. If you are at a dealership or a corporate chain you are likely being sold stuff that you don’t need and being charged too much for it.

“Lemon,” btw, applies to new cars. Not to ones that are 12 years old with ??? miles on them. You have an older car. It will require regular repair (and, of course, maintenance - but that all need that).

Yeah, get a second opinion on this stuff. Either way, you’re probably better off keeping this car. At least you can ignore depreciation and finance expense in your overall cost per mile. You didn’t buy a lemon, but you did buy a 10 year old used car. Things wear out. Still, $4500 seems like dealer prices. Hope that helps.