Repair and keep my 2000 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport or buy a new/newer car. Indecision paralysis


#1

I have a 2000 OBS with only 115,000 miles on it that I bought new. The body is in fairly bad shape with some rust especially by the rear wheels. Recently I’ve been told there’s a small leak in something with the steering (sorry can’t remember exactly, it does not need immediate attention), I’ll need new rear struts, the gas tank neck is rusting and probably caused the check engine light to come on. Every repair seems to be $500. I’ll also need new brakes soon and tires (I always buy good tires and swap them in the winter).

Reasons to keep it: I like it and it’s been reliable with almost no need for anything but maintenance. It has a 2.2 L engine so it is not prone to the head gasket problems of other Subarus of this vintage. I won’t have to decide on a new car.
Reasons not to keep it: It’s rusting, repairs/maintenance will cost as much or more than it’s worth.

Reasons to buy a new car: I can probably find something I like driving better and it will probably be a safer car.
Reasons not to buy a new car: My biggest pet peeve, where did windows go? I love the visibility of my Impreza. I hate the trend towards tiny windows and feel unsafe not having good visibility. Of course the other reason is the cost of a new car. And then there’s making a decision about which car.

I no longer feel AWD is essential despite living in Minnesota because I put snow tires on in the winter. The cars I’ve considered (and driven some of them) are the Subaru Impreza, Chevy Cruze, Mazda 3, Mazda 6, Ford Focus, Kia Soul and have toyed with a small SUV like the Mazda CX-5. Unfortunately, I’ve driven both the new Impreza and the Crosstrek and don’t really love either of them. The steering feels, I’m not sure how to say it, maybe soft, maybe without road feel.

I know I’m going to just need to make a decision but I thought I’d get some opinions on the old car/new car dilemma.


#2

I think it’s time to move on. If you had one repair to do, it might make sense to squeeze a little more time out of it, but you listed quite a few repairs and expenses there.


#3

“Reasons not to keep it: It’s rusting, repairs/maintenance will cost as much or more than it’s worth.”

Time to move on…


#4

It is badly rusted. Nothing else matters once that becomes a problem. You can buy used or new, but get something else. My daughter has a Cruze and it is a very nice car. You can get it with either a gasoline or diesel engine. The diesel gets great mileage: 27 city and 47 highway. If you drive mostly around town, the Gasoline Cruzes cost less and get 26 MPG around town for the 1.4L and 22 MPG for the 1.8L. The Mazda3 is a little smaller, but is a nice car too.


#5

Once rust starts, the end is near. You’re gonna have to buy a car sometime after 14 years so not much point in waiting.


#6

Yep, I think you’re all right. It’s time to let the car go.


#7

I’ve had several friends who just happen to be Subaru families. They use one up, they get another, etc. Its pretty common to see them have rust over/behind the rear wheel well. I wouldn’t be terribly alarmed unless it’s severe and the rest of the undercarriage is toast.

Struts/shocks, brakes, tires are obviously all normal wear and tear items. The filler neck shouldn’t be an expensive swap for a competent mechanic.

If you have been good about oil changes and other routine maintenance, my vote is to keep the car absolutely. You could easily squeeze another 40k miles out of it, I’d bet more. Screw a car payment! Take care of what needs to be done, and save a little money on the side when you can for that rainy day.


#8

“The filler neck shouldn’t be an expensive swap for a competent mechanic.”

Sounds like a reasonable trade to me.


#9

@insightful not sure what you mean


#10

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=3522054&cc=1359402
Fuel filler neck at rock auto is $65. Plus an hour Labor you’re looking at what, $140-$150 bucks parts and labor? Thats not too bad.


#11

Fender, ever hear the joke where the girl pointing to her sexy top says, “I got this T-shirt for my boyfriend. I thought it was a good trade.” See, it’s a play on words and sentence structure where…aw, never mind.


#12

Hah, I really tried getting it but still don’t. Oh well! Maybe it’s too early yet


#13

All that rust, no way I’d repair it. Drive it until it absolutely needs one of those expensive repairs, than buy something newer. It doesn’t have to be brand new if you find something two or three years old you like (maybe with better visibility…) Consumer Reports consistently praises the Forester for excellent visibility. They rate it highly in all other ways, too. You’re right that rear visibility is bad now. Part of it is aerodynamics, with rooflines that swoop down in back. Some of it is just putting styling ahead of function. You’ve already checked out many of my favorite cars. I’ll have to think a bit to see if I can come up with something with better visibility.


#14

I’ve finally learned how to adjust my side view mirrors to cover the blind spot so that will be helpful even with the shrinking windows. I’d like good gas mileage if possible (ie. Mazda 3, Focus, Cruze). I would forgo fantastic gas mileage for good gas mileage and AWD but the Impreza was uninspiring and I don’t want to go much bigger. I haven’t driven the Focus yet and am curious about it. I’ll consider used but of course that increases the choices which in my case is not necessarily a good thing.