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Is a rebuilt engine really $6k?

Just looking for suggestions and inputs. I have a 2000 subaru forester, with 250k miles and a blown head gasket. Was looking around to get a quote on a rebuilt engine due to the age of the vehicle. But got quoted 6k after it’s all said and done. Is this a normal price range for a re built engine? Don’t want to get rid of my beloved car, but 6k is a lot.
:’( Any suggestions is appreciated.


Just change the head gasket and drive it until it stops, then junk it. Everything IN the car has 250K so lots of things will need replacing as the car ages and parts will be increasingly difficult to find, if they aren’t now.

Remember, it is just a car.


Spend 6000.00 on a 18 year old vehicle that has 250000 miles does not make sense at all . This thing has done it’s job . Put the 6000.00 down on a new vehicle . And yes that price is pretty close no matter where you are.

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Thank you for your input. I might have to go that route in the end. it’s just hard to say goodbye to a car who got me out in a lot of snow storms and have been a dependable car all these years.

Right. But don’t have 6k or good enough credit to get a brand new car. Single mom’s salary don’t have that capacity. But thanks for your input. :slight_smile:

The design life of any car, if properly maintained, is about 200,000 miles (excluding certain models which are known to be lemons). Everything in your car is now past its design life expectancy, so even if you replace the engine, you are likely to have constant expensive problems–especially if you must pay someone else to do the work. Even if you could replace the head gaskets yourself, by the time you pay for machine shop work and incidentals (belts, hoses, belt tensioners, water pump, etc.) you are probably looking at around $1000.

I would recommend selling the car “as-is” on Craigslist, you should be able to get between $400 and $1000 for it, depending on the body condition. Then put that money toward another car with a lot less miles, which runs.

It’s just an appliance. It has no feelings, and you shouldn’t have any for it.

Can’t they repair the head gasket? What’s the price quote on that?

The word “blown” is tossed around quite frequently and in most cases erroneously.

Blown means a breach into the combustion chamber or coolant passages. A simple coolant or oil weepage symptom is not “blown” and on a Subaru can be fixed one of two says.

One is to simply retighten the head bolts and the other is to replace the head gaskets.

If the engine was seriously overheated I’d say it’s time to just pack it in and move on to something else. And some engines cost WAY more than 6k dollars.

Like Bruce Williams used to say “never fall in love with something that can’t love you back”. You just might like the new ones.

What condition is the car in?

Please be honest

If the car is rusted out to the point of not passing safety inspection . . .

I suggest that you search for a used engine and put that in instead. Once an engine is opened it won’t be 100% the same again. My brother blew up his engine in his E60 520d, rebuild was going to cost €5000 so we decided to look for the same engine at independent BMW specialists and we got an engine + install + maintenance + 6 months warranty for €1850 and it runs like a dream. It sounds like a lot of money but if you do the calculations it turns out less expensive

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I wouldn’t even do the used engine. First, unless the used engine is gone through and everything’s refreshed, you have no idea how many miles away from another failure you are. Put another way, that used engine is in the junk yard for a reason, and it’s not because the car it came from was road-worthy. :wink:

Even a rebuilt used engine, though, is an iffy investment in this car, because everything else in the car has 250k on it. Put a used engine in, now the transmission goes. There’s another couple grand out the door to get that fixed, which you will feel compelled to do because you just dumped several thousand into it and don’t want that money to go to waste.

Unless the car is something very special (I will never get rid of my MR2, but it is a toy, not a daily driver, and hobbies are supposed to be expensive!) then it really doesn’t make sense to do heroic life-saving measures to a car with enough miles to have gone to the moon and then some.

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for $6000 you can buy two decent used cars; I bought my 2005 Mercedes for $3700 (with 140K on it but mint) there is an ad on craigslist for a mint 2005 Porche (with 112K on it but mint) for $2500; I agree with the guy that said you should just replace the head gasket; don’t swap engines on a car with 250K ; its not worth it; also: I can get a rebuilt engine for my Mercedes for about $700 because there are a lot of them out there; I don’t understand why a rebuilt for your car should cost $3000 (assuming that is the cost as it usually costs about $3K to install a rebuilt); if I was in your shoes I would get rid of the car and not throw another penny into it; just my opinion

If you’re not looking to spend extra money on maintenance and repairs, then buying an old Mercedes and an old Porsche is not the way you want to go.

Because mechanics don’t work for free.


A “mint” 2005 Porsche for $2500 is going to need a LOT of work

It probably has a salvage title, has been wrecked and badly repaired, received very infrequent maintenance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it has engine and/or transmission problems

If it was truly “mint” condition, the owner would still be driving it



If money is tight, stay away from a Porsche. Back in 1962, I had just graduated from college and on my way to graduate school. I would have a stipend of $200 a month plus tuition paid. My dad was a friend of the DeSoto/Plymouth dealer who also was a franchised dealer for foreign cars. My dad was talking to the owner and I was drooling over a used Porsche on the lot. The owner of the agency came up and said to me “That is the last car you should consider. It will take your entire $200 a month stipend to keep it running. You need reliable transportation”.
I think the OP needs to look for a good used Toyota Corolla, a Honda Civic or a Mazda 3.
I had colleagues when I was still teaching that had Mercedes Benz and BMWs. The nearest dealer is 55 miles away. I’ll keep my Toyota where the dealer is 1 mile down the road.

If it has been gently driven, well maintained, and no severe rust problem it might make sense to invest in a head gasket job that may provide another 50 k miles. If OP really likes he car and wants far more than another 50K miles, $6k to rebuild the engine (which is a reasonable fee for parts and labor), that is a lot less than a new car. But you’d still have 250K on the rest of the car as mentioned above, so would have to expect some ongoing repairs indefinitely. Unless OP really has a strong tie to this car and plenty of time to worry about how to keep it on the road, common sense says to sell it for cheap to a high school kid who wants to rebuild it for themselves, or give its part a new life at a recycling yard. It won’t really be gone, just re-melted into a Porche 911 maybe.

getting $3000 to put in an engine is NOT FREE; bring it to me and I’ll do if for $2500 & I’m a mechanic; dude

you are right that Mercedes and porche used cars are high HIGH maintenance cars; that’s why they’re dirt cheap to get them used;
just stay away from Volvos;
if you are not a DIY person stay away from all used luxury European vehicles;
they’re constantly having repair issues;
used engines are okay to put in a car as long as you have a mechanic check it out before you buy it;
IF HE DOESN’T, get another mechanic to inspect the used vehicle;
NEVER, NEVER BUY a used vehicle without a full auto technician inspection;
they will look for consistent compression in all cylinders; sludge in the oil;
making sure the trans fluid is good; etc etc;
I would never buy a brand new manufacturer engine bec you can get an entire (well maintained used) vehicle for half the price of the new engine;
Carfax is a good way to insure your used vehicle has been properly cared for;

also: if the exterior of the vehicle is 100% mint; the owner probably had enough cash to have the maintenance done properly; “probably” of course, does not mean “definitely” caveat emptor