Advice please!

subaru
outback

#1

I have a 2007 Subaru Outback with 140,000 miles on it. I travel a great deal for work.
It is paid off which is the good news, but it’s beginning to have serious problems. Door handle won’t retract, rear windshield wiper motor dead, and the biggie-I need to replace a head gasket. Had big expensive brake work this summer…is it time for a new car? Should I invest in all these repairs?

It doesn’t have a rust issue that I know of, and I do love my car.


#2

The door handle and the wiper motor are not good reasons to get another car

If you’re 100% sure you need a head gasket, you should get both head gaskets done at the same time, along with a complete timing belt job

Have you been keeping up with all of the required maintenance items, as per the maintenance manual?


#3

The decision of whether or not to keep–and repair–the car should be based on an actual assessment of its overall condition, not on assumptions that might or might not be correct.

So…“It doesn’t have a rust issue that I know of” should be confirmed by putting the car up on a lift and doing a thorough examination of the undercarriage.

Also…Does this car have a manual transmission or an automatic transmission?
If it has an automatic trans…What can you tell us about the maintenance that it has received?
When automatic transmissions have their fluid (& filter) changed every 30k miles, they can last for…perhaps…300k miles. When that type of maintenance is not done, they usually fail somewhere between 90k & 120k miles, or perhaps a bit later. If you haven’t maintained the trans properly, this is essentially a time bomb that is going to explode in your wallet very shortly, thus adding at least a couple thousand $$ to upcoming repair bills.

How about the timing belt?
It should have been replaced by 105k miles.
Was it?
If not, then you have to budget several hundred $$ for replacement of the timing belt, water pump, serpentine belt, and all belt tensioners.

So, the decision about whether to keep & repair this car or to cut your losses really rests to a very great extent on how you have maintained the car. Repairs to a door handle and a wiper motor shouldn’t be very expensive, but if you add that to the cost of replacing head gaskets (there are TWO), and the cost of a trans overhaul plus a timing belt/water pump/belt tensioner replacement, then the total cost is probably more than the vehicle’s book value.

What can you tell us about this car’s maintenance history?


#4

How many miles per year? Do you get a mileage reimbursement from work? Can you afford a car payment? How difficult is it when the car is in a shop for repairs? Do you have to rent a car to complete your work responsibilities or do you have another car you can use?

An '07 car with 140K miles will have more down time for repairs. But the issues you have now are pretty common and normal stuff for that car at this point in its life. You should be able to fix it and drive on.