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Considering Buying a 2005 Subaru Forester with 225k Miles

My wife and I are looking at buying a used 2005 Subaru, but wanted to get some feedback first. The car does have a lot of mileage on it, but the seller is asking 2k for it if she sells it to a friend, and she’ll ask for higher later if we don’t buy it. She said it tends to eat oil, but nothing past that. Is this car worth looking into?

First thing first, you need to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before you consider buying. They can let you know mechanically what kind of shape it’s in, if the body and frame are still safe, etc. I would also try to get as much of the maintenance history for this car that you can as well. Personally, I wouldn’t spend 2 grand on a 12 year old car with 225k miles unless I knew the repair history, the seller, and had it inspected first. Now, I also live in Pennsylvania where road salt is a way of life in the winter and cars will rust out because of it.

I wouldn’t look into it. Lots of things to go wrong with an old high mile Forester that ‘eats oil’. Do you have to have AWD? A wagon?

Yes, it’s an AWD wagon. I have all the repair history that she had, and we were planning on taking it to a mechanic if we move forward with it. What all should I look for in the repair history?

Are you referring to the maintenance history?
If so, you should make sure that you see evidence that the tires were rotated on a consistent basis–either every 5k or every 7.5k miles. You should also see evidence that the car’s tires were always replaced in sets of 4, rather than one or two at a time. If that wasn’t done, and if the tires weren’t consistently rotated on schedule, then you are looking at the upcoming replacement of the center viscous coupler.

Was the trans fluid changed every 30k miles?
If not, then you are courting disaster with the very expensive transmission.

Tires have been replaced with sets of 4 every 2 years with rotations in between, the latest being 3/16. Don’t see trans fluid changed, some receipts say transmission fluid was checked, but nothing on replacing it.

The best way to lose a friend: sell vehicle to friend or buy vehicle from friend.


old forester has famous head gasket problem. "Eat"oil is not really “eat” but “leak”, you can google it.
by the way, sell/buy a car to/from friend it not good idea.

Walk away and keep a friend. Let’s step back first and consider the value and use of a 12-year old used car with a quarter million miles. If you were paying a nominal amount, like $500, and you planned to use it as a short-range beater for a short period of time, you may have ended up happy. $2K seems crazy to me to pay for a car with a known defect that can lead to engine failure. That Subaru “eating oil” thing is no small matter. Here is more info on used Subarus from CarTalk. Let us know what you decide.


Just to pass time I looked at Kelly Blue Book and it shows trade in value at around $1000.00 and the $2000.00 asking price appears to be at the top range. This is not a bargain among friends at all.

Note: Mr. Goreham is an automotive writer so his statement does carry some weight.

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Thanks for all your help. Didn’t know the oil consumption could be such a potential problem. We’re gonna pass on the car and let her know what we found.

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Sound decision. Best of luck, plenty of good used cars out there. Suggest to follow the advice by one of the posters above about buying used cars, make the offer contingent on your approval of a pre-purchase inspection from your own mechanic.

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