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Help! Have 2 old Subarus and need to know which one to keep

Here’s the deal. My husband is away for another 18 months and I can’t afford to keep 2 old cars running. I have a 1997 Impreza Outback Sport with a rebuilt engine that has 50,000 miles on it. 150,000 miles on the body. Stick shift, stripped down model. Needs brakes, clutch is a little sticky in the cold. No frills but fun to drive in the Rockies. I also have a 2001 Forester S with 180,000 miles on it. This one has the cold weather package, moon roof, and is a ton more comfortable and easier to drive in Denver than the Impreza. It needs $1300 worth of work, timing belt, water pump, transmission pan seal, etc. and the heated seats just stopped working. What do I do? Do I keep the one with the rebuilt engine or sell it and use the money to fix up the Forester? Or sell them both and try to get something a little newer? I can’t have a car payment…so I don’t have anything extra to spend. I have no clue what’s the best answer so I can have one reliable car to drive for the next 2-4 years.

Has the Forester had the head gaskets replaced? It’s right in that time when they were a problem.

Keep the one that does NOT have all those silly bumper stickers and DOES go faster than 10mph slower than all the other traffic around it.

( I vote for the plain one with reman engine already. )

I think I’d keep the '97 and sell the '01. Reason, if the auto transmission goes out on the '01 you are talking a bunch of money. With 180K miles it is not unusual for an auto trans to fail and need a rebuild. Without the extra goodies there is less on the older Impreza to go wrong. It might not be as comfy, but the motor is “newer” and the manual transmission should hold up fine.

You might need some of the proceeds of the sale of the '01 for future repairs to the Impreza, such as a clutch replacement, brakes, or tires. If the Impreza holds up for 18 months perhaps you can get a newer car when your husband returns.

The 01 is drivable? Did u toss the wp cost onto a timing belt service to get 1300 in costs? Or is wp fine, and tb just due? If wp does not leak, and car is running ok, than lead it alone and keep trans fluid topped off.

My money is also on the simple older one. The Forester is just getting to the stage where is might become a money pit. The head gaskets could go, and the transmission is a crap shoot at this stage. The failed seat heaters are a sign of things to come.

Wear the 1997 one out completely and then buy something nice and newer. Keep you husband posted on what you are doing. We lived out of the country for 4 years and my son had complete instructions on how to take care of our 2 cars. He did a great job.

If you must keep one, keep the one with the newer body, always. The body is the most expensive to repair item. The chassis integrity is most important for safety. Personally, I would sell both and get newer one…but of the two, keep the Forester.

sell old fix newer one. Comfort is important when driving

Keep the forester.

Yiou are wise in letting some else make the decision for you. If you make the decision, there is a greater than 50% chance that you choose wrong. It’s better that someone else take your wrath than you forever blame yourself. Pick any CarTalk participate-but not me, I am not giving you advice. :-))