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Keep or sell aging Subaru with 150,000 miles?

I have a 2004 Subaru that has 149k miles on it. Works fine. Rust starting show.
I know that have a expensive 150k tune up; it’s the regularly scheduled 30k tune up that will cost $600 or so. I also need to get a new set of tires, unless I want to drive on my winters all summer. So, now we are up to nearly $1,000 to invest into a car that Kelly’s Blue Book says is worth about $4,000. I say we get out. (My wife may disagree.)

My new car theory is this: get rid of cars when they hit 150,000 miles. And then buy something reasonable for about $10k or so. A 2008 VW Passat or Ford Taurus with under 60,000 miles.

What do you think about the theory of getting rid of 2004 Subie with 150k miles – or spending the $1k to maintain and drive it into the ground? Also, what do you think about the suggested replacement cars. What would you go with? … I’m thinking a family sedan, maybe wagon, that has under 70,000 miles for sure. And not more than $12k; and nothing older than a 2006.


If it’s running good…then keep it. Why sell it?? A new car and payments is going to cost a lot more then $1000 over the next year. 150k miles isn’t some magic number you have to sell your car at. I’m currently over 200k miles on my 05 4runner. Expect to easily get another 100k miles before I decide to sell it.

Unless you’re tired of the car in general or you need better reliability, there’s no particular reason to get rid of the car now.

$1000 is abnormally high maintenance 30k cost unless

  1. using dealer in expensive area
  2. Have timing belt involved (usually 105k)

Price that work out at an independent shop. Mine comes in around 50% of what you show.

$12k does not buy you as much vehicle for the dollar as it used to. Not because inflation but used car prices are really high at this moment.

Raj is 100% correct about 12K not buying you much today. I work for dealership, and I know as fact that cars we were getting for 9 or $10,000 two years ago are now $12-13,000 (same make and modle newer year)… You are absolutly swimmin in the shallow end of the pool at that price point, and in that case the devil you know is better then the devil you dont.

Is it surface rust or do have holes? Describe the rust. That is often the best reason to get rid of a car.

You might as well keep it because I don’t think you will get 4-grand for it… But you never know until you try…

A Subaru in New England with 150k is a $4k-6k vehicle. They have a loyal crowd.

A 2008 Passat is likely you cost you more in repairs, this is an expensive car that needs repairs more frequently than the norm. Your theory isn’t bad, but buying a used car is “unknown” problems that you inherit from prior owners. Save up and buy a new car and run it for 10-15 years.

The timing belt is a big issue and way overdue if it has not been done. Inspection of valve lash is another; also way overdue if not previously done.
The 30k miles service is considered major but I would think with some digging you might get this done cheaper; maybe even skipping a few things in the service process depending on exactly what is is the shop is planning to do.

Timing belt aside, I’d say keep the car and don’t get too enamored of the KBB price guide.

Unless the rust started from a surface crack or nick, it’s not surface rust. If it’s anywhere near the running boards, wheel wells or outer/inner fender joints, it’s probably not surface rust. If there is any bubbling, it’s not surface rust. The good news is, you can stop it in it’s tracks and keep running your car as is.

look in your owners manual and see what needs doing at 150.000 miles, take it to your local mechanic with a good rep and give him the list- I will bet it costs less than half.

The “new” used car is going to need more than $1000 to be brought up to date on maintenance items.