Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Fix or get rid of my 2001 Subaru legacy

My station wagon needs over $3000 in repairs. A catalytic convertor for $2200, new muffler, possible oil leaks. Should I fix it and does it have any value as trade in or sale?

Get a second opinion from another mechanic. That steep price for the catalytic converter sounds like a dealer price. You can get aftermarket catalytic converters for far less than that. See if you can find a good independent garage nearby that can do the work for you. I’d bet it will be less than half your quoted price. As for the oil leaks, see how much oil is lost over time; check weekly. If it’s not that much, postpone the leak fix until it gets worse.

Your choice depends on how long you want to keep the car. I’d definitely do it if you want to keep the car another 2 years or more.

I guess it depends on how much longer you want to drive it. Assuming that all you say is correct and are not replacing the CAT needlessly you could go ahead and repair it if you want to keep it going for at least another 3 years. I think you would get the value out of the repair work by then. If the body is damaged and there are other issues then perhaps you may be better off with a new car if you can afford it. The car will have some resale value ‘as is’ though naturally it won’t be as much without the repairs. It wouldn’t be cost effective to fix it up just to sell it. Since the new car dealers are so motived for sales right now and with hugh discounts going on, you may be able to get a decent trade in value on your old one for a new car. A new '09 Outback would be nice. The deals on new cars right now are incredible I think. So if you can afford it, perhaps new is the way to go, and with proper maintenance you shouldn’t have to worry about repairs for a long time.

Is this the dealer giving the quote? Find an independent of even muffler chain for 2nd or 3rd quote. $2200 is beyond steep and can come down to half including the exhaust possibly.

The car has plenty of value unless it appears(Check engine light) or has problems that readily apparent like poor running or noisy due to bad exhaust.

You could probably find an aftermarket performance cat-back system for less than $1000, which should replace the cat-con and muffler and everything in between

How many miles ? This car should be good for 250, 300k. Even IF you spent the entire $3k on the repairs, that’s still cheaper than even a 10 yr old used car. Fix the Subaru and drive it another 8 years.

Keep the car. Find a reputable repair shop (I know, that’s an oxymoron)get your cat changed for 300-500 bucks. Some oil leaks can be repaired pretty cheaply, it might be minor. Don’t support the new car dealers until they practically give the cars away. They are still making a hefty profit (I know) so even though they are slashing prices, they are making plenty. Your 2001 has many years and miles of life left in it.