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Old car decision

Sure, I would not think the question made a lot of sense but I would not be bothered by it.

I do not know how much you could get for the Subaru. I generally tell friends who have cars approaching 200K miles, their best bet is to drive it until it stops. I am in the camp that would say keep the old car for in town errands and take the newer one on road trips.
The Hyundai is a decent car, we have a 2013 with the non-turbo engine. The jury is still out, we don’t know if the newer Theta II engine is any better than the older one. Ours has 102K miles and it is loosing about a quart of oil every 1000 miles. Might eventually be able to get a new engine this summer but reselling the car is not an option.

Morning, oldtimer. I have a wry sense of humor. And it’s not our place to expect how the OP “should” or “could” respond. That’s the kind of comment you might make to someone you know better. As dry as my humor is, if I were new here, I would probably get a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not saying we have to make the place humorless. I’m only suggesting you wait to see a bit more of whom you’re dealing with.


You’re probably better off with the devil you know. I always prefer keeping my old used cars because I know they’ve been properly maintained and taken care of. A lot of used cars I see on the market have been abused and had a hard life and that’s why they’re for sale.

As far as Subarus are concerned, I’ve owned five or six over the years and have never had a major problem with any of them. The 2004 Forester I sold a few years ago had 237k miles on it and the biggest expense was replacing a wheel bearing. The head gasket problem is a bit overblown especially on cars produced after 2002 or 2003. But again I take care of my cars. Subies probably need a bit more attention than your typical Toyota or Honda but no more so than the average car. The all wheel drive systems are bulletproof. You just don’t hear a lot of people having problems with it.

Sorry but what exactly does this mean? Does it mean you like them or you don’t like them?

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Haha, i guess shoulda clarified I meant the BAD type of blow :wink:

I remember in the time of the dinosaurs, i beat one on a gutless 250cc 1983 Yamaha XT250 while riding double. Granted, 2 snales racing, but I shoulda lost. It was pretty funny tho. I bet nobody could even tell we were trying to go fast.

Later there was one so so looking one w decent spec, but I never got to drive one. I think Tiberon? Sporty and w stability ctrl that u could turn off w a button on the steering wheel. Key location. Dash mount is too slow. They blatantly product placed it in that Burn Notice show, if u remember.

Ya’ll are going to love this. I’m not just a data analyst with a PhD. I also used to help maintain and improve one of the key pricing algorithms for one of the largest used car sellers in the country. I’m very familiar with used car sales and the financial aspects that go along with it.

However, there are two very difficult aspects of data analysis: understanding the question and having access to the correct data. My previous employer had the best used car data, but even if I still had access to that database it wouldn’t have answered my question. I wasn’t asking about value, I was asking about reliability and utility. I would bet money that no database on the planet would answer that question because you would be depending on every owner or independent mechanic to enter information into a common database. Both cars are also so old that no dealer would offer a warranty, so there would be no data about recent repairs made under warranty. When I worked at the car company we knew that the data would only take you so far and that sometimes you needed to talk to the experts in the field. Wasn’t that the point of the Car Talk show? Click & Clack weren’t engineers, they didn’t have access to special information, they just had a lot of experience and a good sense of humor.


Thank you all for your input!

I know I’m taking a risk either way. The CVT could go on the Outback tomorrow, or I could run into unknown issues with the Sonata. I’m not worried about buying from my father-in-law because I know he’s taken good care of it and I’m aware of the risks of a car that age. If the alternator went on the way home, I wouldn’t blame him for it, just a coincidence.

The seized engine on the Hyundai was a known issue, something about metal shavings in the engine when it was built. That’s why they extended the warranty. I’m confident that the new one wouldn’t experience the same issue.

With all that said, I’m going to keep the Outback. It has a lot more utility to me. At this point it’s like an old pickup truck. Dings and dents don’t matter. Throw some mulch in the back. It deals with bad weather and bad roads like a champ. Seats five adults. Gets decent gas mileage. I’ll do $1,000 in maintenance, timing belts and whatnot, and hope for another 30,000 miles. The other major factor was that I drove the Sonata this weekend and I noticed how bad the ride was on rough roads. It has big wheels and small tires that make it great on the highway but you feel every bump going along mountain roads.


First, the idea that data analysts should be car experts and therefore shouldn’t ask questions on car forums is… Well, to be blunt, stupid. Even though OP is a data analyst in the car field, that doesn’t mean he’s an expert on cars, just the numbers surrounding a specific aspect of cars. I similarly do not expect a person with a PhD in biology to avoid asking questions on a physics forum “because you’re a scientist.”

Second, the “Hyundais blow” crack is… Well, maybe not 100% stupid, but entirely outdated. Hyundais used to suck. That is no longer the case. In fact, Honda should probably be afraid right now, because Hyundai keeps getting better and Honda… Doesn’t. Hyundai is making some very compelling cars across all market segments. The Veloster N is the darling of the automotive press, with many of them recommending it hands-down over more established hot hatches like the Civic Type R.

They’re even doing a bloody good job in the luxury car segment. The G90 is excellent. It’s been at least a decade since Hyundai “blew.”


He wants AWD for the winter. We’ve had 4 Subarus since 2001 (none with as many miles as this) and never had any problems with the drive systems. We have not had gasket problems either and no major problems overall. They have been reliable cars. Our present Ascent has a turbo engine that does not seem to strain under acceleration; as it is an SUV, I am not likely to drive it too aggressively, even though it handles well.

I vote for putting more miles on the new car (on a long trip you want a newer, less likely to age into a problem, vehicle) and keep the old one.

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That is exactly what big wheels and skinny tire do for you.

I’m glad to hear you “take care of” your cars

That said . . . on certain cars, if a head gasket is going to leak, it will do so regardless of how well the owner has maintained the car

And what I just said isn’t Subaru-specific. I’m saying this because you seem to be fond of the brand

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You’re probably right, the head gaskets on those earlier dual cam 2.5 Subarus from the 90’s and the single cams from the early 2000’s were prone to failure right from the factory, the material and design wasn’t good and prone to degradation and failure after just a few years.

But I think it’s unfair to make blanket statements like all Subarus will have head gasket problems like I see all over the internet, that’s just ignorant.

Because of the boxer engine design the coolant tends to flow down and sit next to the gaskets at rest so it’s critical to change your coolant on a regular basis, not let your battery terminals turn into a toxic acid waste dump and it’s probably not a bad idea to use the Subaru coolant conditioner especially on older cars.

If you do some simple regular maintenance there’s no reason most any Subaru can’t run reliably for 20 or 25 years and hundreds of thousands of miles.

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Sure a direct question is perhaps easy to address. But Volvo didn’t ask a question, they made a passive aggressive statement that the OP shouldn’t be here. How would you react to that snideness?

Viffer, Totally agree with your statement regarding older 2.5 and single cam engines but coolant doesn’t “flow down” and sit next to gaskets in boxer engines or in any engine as a function of their design. Unless the system is half full of air, the system is full of coolant. Nothing to “flow” and “rest”, everything is “sitting” next to the coolant.

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From the argument @Viffer is making, I assume he’s read the site of the same Canada’s shop who specializes in Subaru repairs.
They were making quite a convincing argument about items he brought up and showing a number of pictures of failed gaskets and indeed it was a good deal of correlation of electro-chemical corrosion with the headgasket failure.
More on this, they were making the point that Subaru’s EJ design has quite narrow contact areas where gasket is squashed between the head and cylinder walls, making this design fragile in general.
Yes, indeed, @p.g.i.holmes_156524, coolant is all around there and moreover, it is pressurized, so forces in play far exceed the gravity force difference between the opposite design and “convenional” one, but I would make a point that it is a combination of factors what leads to the failures, not a single root cause, and from that I conclude that it is still a good idea to maintain this fragile engine per spec, which requires coolant change far more often than some owners do.

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You’re going to have to explain to me what battery terminals have to do with electro-chemical corrosion in relation head gaskets.
And what frequency are you suggesting for changing coolant? Any change shorter than 5-7 years will have no bearing on head gasket failure.

I might suggest that following manufacturer recommendations is the best bet.
I used to own Subaru’s of '96, 2002, 2003, 2007 vintage, and for older ones it was more frequent, for newer ones lesser, but I did maintain that per severe schedule, not per some arbitrary intervals.
For 2010 one @anthonypascoe_162510 has, they seem to use long-life coolant of a sort:

As for electro-chemical corrosion, I agree that battery terminals are not necessarily (read: “at all”) connected to headgaskets, although having corroded ones is not good, per definition.
Still, that kind of corrosion happens in any system having electrically conductive fluid and metals of different composition.
When fluid is not worn (yet), it has special corrosion inhibitors, once they wear out, having different kinds of metals in a system will eat into the one higher on reactivity table:, which happens to be aluminum in the engine

I only point out that on a typical inline 4 where the head gasket rests on top between the head and the block the coolant will tend to drain through the block and away from the gasket whereas in a boxer engine the gaskets sit low and in constant contact with any corrosive elements in the coolant. Now sure with the engine on the system is pressurized for the 2 hours a day you’re driving the car but in a Subaru the gasket will always be in contact 24 hours a day.

Corrosive elements? Most Subaru head gasket problems occur on the driver’s side even though it’s a symmetrical design using the same gasket and materials on both sides. Why? The battery is located on the driver’s side. Coincidence? Maybe. I think it’s still worth it to keep your battery in good shape and change your coolant regularly.

This is a misconception, @Viffer.
Coolant never “drains”, the system is always filled to the top and has no air pockets or empty spaces.
It is the same for both “conventional” and “opposite” design.
Moreover, the additional pressure on the headgasket in opposite design is miniscule to the pressure system is normally operating on, so it’s a comparison of an ant to an elephant.

I’m not sure where you get statistics on what side of the engine has higher failure rates, but instead of looking for correlations with the location of battery, I would consider reviewing the path of the coolant movement and the location of the coolant pump, which might have much better chances to correlate to the typical failures location.