I have the chance to buy a 2000 Subaru Outback wagon, LTD with only 24000 miles. However, it has been sitting in a barn for the last 4 or 5 years (husband passed away, then recently wife passed away.) the mechanic says he has replaced all the brakes (not sure why.) but that it looks like a good car otherwise. I’m wondering if I will run into issues with bad seals, tires that look OK but are really 15 years old, or anything else. I don’t want to get into a car that is going to ‘eat money.’
All belts and fluids are going to need replaced. Tires will be hard and dry rotted. Timing belt should be replaced too.
Subaru’s are high maintenance cars ,and alot of odd things go wrong with them.And get expensive,I worked at a dealer ship for 8yrs and as much as i like them i wouldnt buy one.Just my opinion.
If it is priced to allow for all the deferred maintenance, it could be worth it. Does the interior look like it has 24,000 miles on it? Are there any rodent nests under the hood or inside the car? You can tell by the urine smell inside the car if rodents are hidden in the headliner, vents, or under the dashboard. If you find rodents, you will likely have to replace wiring they chewed on. You should have it evaluated by a different mechanic before you buy it if you don’t know the mechanic that worked on it.
Expect to spend at least $1500 to bring all the maintenance up to date and also add tires.
The wholesale value of this car will be low, so offer that.
I think that has the troublesome 2.5 four. Head gasket problems are common. I’d pass.
There’s going to be some catch up maintenance issues and potential problems. That’s the unknown.
The biggest questions for me would be what are they asking for it and since both are deceased are there any title issues, probate, etc, etc.
It is going to eat money for sure, but, it can still be a bargain. You have to look at the cost per mile. It will need a timing belt and all new oil seals and water pump that will be done at the same time the timing belt is done. With a coolant exchange and new serpentine belt, your looking at around $800 +/-. Tires will cost you another $6-800.
It will probably blow the head gaskets when it reaches 100k, but between now and then, you can expect 75k miles. You may need new axle boots as well and thats another $400 or so. You are looking at about $2k to get started.
If you were buying a new vehicle, the national average works out to about $.60/mile so 75k miles would cost you about $45k, but about $12000 will be gas, 6 years of insurance will be about $6k and regular maintenance will average about $6 more. So now you are down to $21k. That works out to about $0,28/mile amortized cost of the car.
As a used car, you should expect to pay a lot less, more like $.010/mile amortized cost. Based on use, not market value, this car should be worth no more than $7500.
KBB says it has a market value of $4855.
Condition of the gas is another issue to consider. I would recycle the old gas, start fresh, do an oil change, and replace the battery at minimum.
Thanks for all the good info. Still deciding, but will probably pass!
Any car can be a money pit, sorry if I missed the asking, and or buy it price. Still might be worth a second look.
If it’s been sitting for 4 or 5 years in a barn the obvious list to start with would be the battery and fuel system issues followed by rubber parts and fluids.
A new timing belt kit will also be a must-do immediately.
NADA shows it around 2500-3000 as average trade-in. One always has to wonder in these things if someone is attaching an unrealistic price to a car simply because it has extremely low miles.
If you can get it for under $3,000 it’s probably not a bad deal. As to being a money pit - the car is 15 years old. Any car that’s over 5 years old starts to look more and more like a money pit in terms of things needing to be replaced, and those things inch up in cost.
But compared to a new outback at $28,000 - the payments are also a money pit. Do you have a good local mechanic that is reasonably priced? You’ll want that no matter what old car you get.
take it from me, I inherited a 1996 car with only 30K on it when I got it. I thought, this is a killer deal. low miles. nope! everything was original, everything was rotted, and I just finished up installing an entire front end on the car cause it was never taken care of or driven. brake lines were corroded and rusty from sitting for decades as well. $2000 so far in it. I would pass unless you want to ‘pimp it out’ as those youngins say