Confused in Idaho

I have a 1996 Subaru Legacy with 120,000 miles. I looked on line and it tells me that I need to replace the timing belt every 60,000 miles. I call the dealership and they tell me that it’s really 90,000. Who is right?

Then- what do you think- should I buy a pickup to drive around in potato fields (part of my job) or should I stick with the old car? My husband wants me to buy a truck so he isn’t faced with his conservationist sensibilities. If I buy the truck, then he can borrow it on Wednesdays to go skiing or hiking and not feel guillty because it’s mine.

When I cave to the pressure, what truck should I buy?

According to the Gates guide, 60,000 is the recommended interval (you could check the owner’s manual to be sure), but as this is not an interference engine there’s not the risk of ruining the engine if you push it a little, and it may be that the dealership knows from experience that in your climate you can usually get away with 90k.

Driving around potato fields probably isn’t the nicest thing to do to your Subie and if that’s really a major part of your job you might consider getting a cheap pickup as a second vehicle. As for your husband, I’d say that if I drove a pickup and my wife drove a Subaru, I’d borrow the Subaru to go skiing-- the Subie is going to be MUCH better in most on-road snow conditions than even a 4wd truck.

You should buy a cheap truck. Maybe a Ford Ranger if you want a smaller one, but otherwise just try to find an inexpensive full-size. Depending on where you are in Idaho, you might be able to go to one of the government auctions and get one of those ubiquitous light-green ex-Forest Service trucks-- expect to pay 2-5k (depending on 4wd, payload capacity, options, etc) for a well maintained 10-15 year old truck.

The belt is also time dependent so this means that it should have been changed back in 2002 and you’re yet another person who has made it this far only by sheer luck.

As to truck recommendations, there are a number of good makes out there so you just have to find one that fits your liking.