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Buy used or old?

I totalled my car and will receive $8000. I can get a 2003 Camry for $10K/35K miles, but I found a 1990 Subaru Legacy with only 55K miles for $3K in great shape. I put on about 30K miles per year. Which is the better buy?

No one can answer the question. The Legacy is so old that it’s impossible to tell anything about it. What you really want to know is if it will cost you $5000 more to repair the Legacy than the Toyota for as long as you own it. My guess is that the Subaru probably will cost at least $5000 more due to it’s age, but we know nothing about the cars so we can’t help much.

I like cars with low mileage and good reputations, So initally I like the Toyota.

A inspection of your money situation and both cars could change things.

Keep in mind you drive a lot

Don’t forget the inspections, get vehicle maintiance history, do a cost analysis of repairs that are required now or will bee soon (also maintiance due).

Exclude the Subaru from the problem set of Subaru’s (look and see if that model has known problems)

Sure would like to get the Toyota price down (look for bargining chips)

I’d stay away from the Legacy, older Subarus often have head gasket problems.

For general knowledge the Head Gasket issue with Subaru is isolated to the 2.5L natural aspirated engine.

The 2.2L engine(used all 1990-1995 Subaru) is known for incredible reliability/durability. My family has a four approaching 250k without any serious engine work.

The balance of engines including 2.5L, 2.0L, 2.2L turbo’s rarely have the head gasket failure even under modified situations with increased boost pressure from turbo.

I think you might consider a new Hyundai. They have a 5 year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and 5 year unlimited mileage road side assistance plan, and a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. Sure, that’s only 2 years bumper-to-bumper warranty, but with an $8K down payment you’d likely have it paid off before the warranty expired. Just a thought.

My other thought is to look for a late model Crown Vic. Those are nice and comfortable for someone who drives a lot and they are easy to find parts and get repaired. Cheap to buy used, so you’d get a newer one than the Camry.

Right you are. I’d heard so much about th 2.5s, didn’t look to see which engine.

Given the miles you drive, I’d still stay away from an 18-year-old anything with 55k. New cars are better overall, and things start to fail from age. An 18 year old car with only 55k miles might even be worse, if those are all stop and go miles.