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Car Stolen and Crashed - Repair or Replace?

So, here’s my situation. I own a 1998 Subaru Legacy that I’ve been driving forever. It was recently stolen, crashed, and recovered, and as I only have liability insurance I’m not getting any financial assistance. I haven’t gotten a complete estimate from the mechanic yet, but it’s looking to be at least:

Steering column (it was hotwired) - $500

Clutch (thieves burned it out) - $900

Body work (nothing to major, and I don’t care if it’s pretty) - $???

On top of that there are other repairs that I was going to get done right before it was stolen, including replacing the brakes, a cv joint, and various minor repairs.

So I’m guessing it will probably end up being at least $2500 - $3000, maybe more if there is other damage from when it was stolen, to get the car back in decent shape. I’m not sure if this is even worth it. Looking on Autotrader for similar cars they seemed to be listed for around $3-6k.

I’m having trouble deciding what I should do - no matter what I’m going to be spending much more than I want to. I prefer to use my bike whenever possible, but want to have a car for winter, grocery shopping, etc. I don’t want to get a new car and have a monthly payment. I’m not at all opposed to getting a cheap used car, but I’m worried that with my lack of car savvy that could end up being more expensive. I also don’t want to downgrade too much in terms of reliability and safety (including handling in snow/ice), which the Subaru has been great for.

So what do you all think? Am I better off putting a lot of money into this car, or trying my luck in the used car market? If I do decide against repairing the Subaru, what can I do with it?



I wouldn’t spend a cent on this car. Who knows what hidden damage there might be? If the thieves burned out the clutch there could be damage to the engine, transmission, and drive train, and repairing a Subaru AWD drive train can be quite expensive.

In my opinion it’s time to move on to another vehicle. There are lots of good used cars that won’t cost any more than you’d spend to repair this one. This car is a gamble. You won’t know what you’ve got until after you spend a lot of money.

I think I would try and sell it as is. You won’t get much for it, but you might make some high school kid very happy.

Sorry to hear about the problem.

It will never be the same again. Had a car stolen and had it repaired and it was never the same again. Started to have a whole list of other issues pop-up over the years. It was fixed just enough to get it too the dealer and get some money for it. This is just my opinion but I would talk to the mechanic and see if it can be reapired to the point of getting it to a dealer and using it as a trade and try and get money for it. If that can’t be done sell it as is or for parts.

I agree–as I usually do–with mcparadise. Given the likelihood of more damage than you are aware of, coupled with the high cost of repairing a Subaru differential/transmission/center differential, coupled with the relatively low book value of the car, I would not invest any money in it.

If it was in a high speed chase on TV, get the network that aired it to buy you a new one. Thieves are now doing this to get on TV.

I’d get another car. Good luck with the new one. You might contact your insurer to find out what the top ten stolen cars in your area are. They should know. You should also ask what the top ten least likely to be stolen are. When you find a car you like, ask your insurer where it falls on the fun-to-steal list. Also, antitheft devices really do work. A Club will make the casual thief move to another car. If yours was stolen by a professional thief, it never would have been recovered. And nothing stops a professional thief.

I’m in full agreement with others…Subarus are tough but not IMO as tough as Hondas and Toys. Motor/drive train abuse would be a big concern to me as well. Was it driven off road…they can self destruct because of their capability to go where another fwd couldn’t even get through the ditch. Once there there’s nothing to keep them from going into harms way. They are tough for a car…but not for a truck.