New or keep?



I have a 1996 Subaru Legacy with 97,000miles. Paid $10K for it 7 years ago. Did major repairs last year ($2200). Now planning 90K service and a few minor repairs totaling $800. Has 4 new tires, battery.

Subaru is known to last “forever” Since it is pushing 100k and is over 10years, should I replace? How much is too much to spend on upkeep?


In most cases, it is much cheaper to keep a car and repair it as needed than to purchase a new one. You might get a couple grand on trade in if you’re lucky, but budget for $1000, and figure a decent used car is going to cost, say $10,000. Do you have $9000 free? Do you have a reserve to cover any repairs the new car might need? I think this is a case where you should keep what you have until the wheels fall off. Seeing as you’ve spent so much on it over the last year, you might as well keep it until it dies.


Repairing your Subaru is far cheaper than replacing. Upkeep is normal with ANY car.


You did not say what those “repairs” have been, but I would guess most of not all were maintenance. Things like timing belts oil changes plugs and wires, and with that kind of mileage fuel pumps etc, are not repairs but they are maintenance. Part of the cost of owning a car just like fuel.

If you added all the cost in the last two years, likely it would equal just a few months of car payments. That is far less than 24 car payments and we did not even talk about a down payment. So from the the economic viewpoint it is far cheaper to keep it.

The question none of us can answer is how much that new car smell is worth to you.


I have a '96 Legacy with about 107K miles on it. I have no plans to replace it any time soon. The cost of maintenance is almost always lower than the cost of replacing a car, as long as the basic structure of the car is solid.

We recently had a Toyota in the family that ran well for more than 180K miles, and still continues to serve the people we sold it to. I’m hoping for similar service from the Subaru.


YOu are all right…it is alway cheaper until it becomes futile. Last car spent $5000 over 1 1/2 years on repairs and then sold it for $2000, so didn’t want to repeat the mistake to keep repairing…but then again, it was a Ford!


There are a lot of unknown’s; such as does your car use oil excessively? what is the shape of the body? rust or no rust? If you don’t feel an ego need for a newer car; then what you need is a dependable and reliable car. What leaves folks stranded on the side of the road most often is dead batteries, broken belts, and fluid leaks that go unnoticed until something overheats or fails. On the plus side for keeping your car is you know the car’s history. I’d vote to keep it. Make sure you have a good mechanic you trust who knows Subaru’s. Keep the maintenance up to date, fix any leaks, and replace the battery if it is 4 years old or older. I have considered the same question regarding my '98 Volvo V70XC Cross Country wagon. I purchased it with 164K miles. The body and interior are like new. It now has 195K miles 3.5 years later and I have spent about $4,000 on maintenance and repairs over that time. At 160K+ miles you have know something is going to wear out. A new fuel pump cost me $1,000 and replacing a lot of front end suspension parts was $2,000. These are not out of line repairs for a car with that mileage and it puts the car back in shape for many more miles. Brake jobs fall into the same category, it is just the price of actually driving the car. When I think about a new Volvo wagon the $500.00 every month payment just stops me cold. That 3.5 years of payments come to $20,000+ for a new car that would be 3 years old now and worth 1/2 its original value. What’s worse is I’d still have about $10,000 more in payments left to make.


Subaru’s have a great resale value and almost a cult following! Keep the '96 Legacy as long as you can. Even $2,400 a year in maintenance is still less than $200 a month, still much cheaper than a new car payment. The value of a subaru with 90k miles is not much more than one with 190k miles on it. Your Legacy should give you 250K o problem as long as you are religious about maintenance. Oh, and don’t drive like my brother! Richard in Seattle…


You have one of the Subarus that doesn’t look to be overweight. You have a good chance of paying the least for repairs. Put off selling it.


Keep Keep Keep

Our 97 Outback has 150K on it with no major problems. Any vehicle you purchase will cost you more to maintain as it ages. After all a car is a mechanical device and like all mechanical devices parts can and do wear out.

Keep in mind that if your purchase a newer vehicle your costs for repairs may decrease but it’s likely that registration and insurance rates will increase since a newer car has more value and is a greater liability to your insurer.

I have found my Subaru to be the most reliable vehicle we have ever owned. 8 trips from coast to coast and counting. I’ve never accumulated this many miles in any of my other vechiles without serious repairs. We had a 1998 Dodge Stratus that over the 4 years we had it received approximately $5000 in engine work - all but $150 of it covered under an extended warranty thank God.


I tend to keep my cars until they are almost dead or are dead. Here what I ask myself.

What shape is the car in? Be honest with yourself.

What work will the car likely need? If necessary have your mechanic check the car out, just as if you?re buying a used car. If you go back to the same shop for all your work they can probably tell you.

Are you tired of the car? I personally have never gone tired of a car, but some people do and if you are it?s as good of reason as any to get a different car.

Is the car safe? If not get rid of it now.

Last and most important do you feel that the car is reliable? If not get rid of it.

Now you didn?t say what the $800 was for, is it for a timing belt, water pump, half shaft, etc? That kind of stuff is normal maintenance or are you trying to fix a more serous problems? What major repairs did you do?

But it looks like you put less then 10,000 miles per year on the car, if you?re not tired of it, and it?s in decent shape, that is it probable won?t leave you stranded in the middle of the road, and then keep it. Maintenance is much cheaper then buying something else and you?re going to have to maintain the new car too.

My opinions are subject to change with new facts.


One thing you might think about doing is repairing the vehicle and then setup a monthly savings fund from the money you save over purchasing a new vehicle. If you can save a few hundred dollars a month in a account, that will make a very nice down payment on a car after a couple of years of doing that.

There are a lot of good incentives from the car manufacturers to purchase a new vehicle now and interest rates are pretty low if you have good credit. Something to consider also since some of the price discounts are pretty substantial.


Yup, YOUR’E right! You can keep any car running if you stick enough money into it. You have an eleven year old car. Although it may have been reliable, everything wears out eventually. It may well be cheaper to fix it than to buy a new car, but what happens in five months when the transmission pukes out? Or the engine spins a bearing and needs to be rebuilt? If I were you, I would only fix the essential things (safety related), and stick money away every month to buy a new used car.


If no major problems, definitely keep. I have a '93 Civic with over 236,000 miles and it drives great. It was bout new in '93 and still runs very well. Just keep the maintenance up and it should be fine.


I’m retiring an 88 Audi Quattro still getting 34mpg because repairs are not keeping up with problems but I have the time to shop around and that’s important. New cars are usually more expensive at the onset but when kept beyond final payment (now up to 6 years) actually start paying you back in some respects. My guess is that you have spent $ in the past taking care of the known issues with these Subarus around this mileage and should be left with usual wear items like plugs and belts etc… Good luck


The Subaru in question is probably worth keeping – that number of miles is fairly young for a car today, which should pretty much go 150K or more. The supporting questions are: can you stand being stranded once in a while? Can your budget stand $1K to $2K repair bills from time to time? (Even if cheaper on an annual basis, an older car can spike its costs with sudden repairs - for example, Subarus need clutches all the time). Can you afford a new car? We get rid of cars at the 10 year/120K miles point, because we begin to lose confidence in their ability to be reliable and pleasant to live with.


Alot of folks bring this one up about Subarus, and Perhaps someone asked this already, but does this car have the 2.5L engine? I’ve repeatedly read these engines can be problematic, but do some research on this.

I’ve more or less been in the same boat as you with my vehicle nearing 200K. I crunched some numbers and still find it cheaper to keep and maintain than upgrade to something newer with potential problems I am not already aware of.
It also depends on what repairs you have made lately- were they just normal maintenance, or a repair caused by numerous other problems that have been accumulating over time? How well has the vehicle been maintained overall?
Ironically, I have found the longer I’ve owned my truck, the more reliable it has become and the less expensive maintenance has been as I’ve spotted and fixed many problems (due to negligence) that the previous owner failed to do. I was also lucky in the respect that these problems never had a chance to damage the vitals, i.e. engine and transmission.
Now insurance is incredibly cheap, maintenance costs are low, and gas mileage is acceptable (it is a truck…). I feel I can keep this vehicle well into the next 100K, make any necessary major repairs. With that said, I could still save enough money in the meantime to pay off a new vehicle up front, nearly in full should I choose to purchase a much newer vehicle in a couple years. Not a bad place to be I’d say!

'91 Ford Ranger XLT
4.0 5-speed w/ 190K original miles


(now up to 6 years)

Midwest Auto Group’s website( give loan times upwards of 108 months(9 years). Anyone dumb enough to accept such a ridiculously long loan term deserves being horribly upside down should something go wrong with the car half way though the loan.


Keep it! Why spend money on something else that will do nothing but depreciate when you have something that has already almost depreciated out? $800.00 is not a lot of money to put into a car these days.


Keep it. You have spent a lot money at a major maintenance point, which is typical of a car with this number of miles. It shouldn’t require much else for many miles more and will continue to be reliable.