Repair or sell Subaru Forester?

I have a 2002 Subaru Forester 5 speed manual. It was in a front end accident at low speed about 9 months ago. The repairs included a new radiator and battery and various body parts. The truck I hit wasn’t damaged. It has run exceptionally well since then. I replaced the tires due to normal wear, catalytic converter and air sensor and water pump over the past 6 months. It has 140,000 miles on it and has been maintained by the same dealer.I have changed the oil every 3,000 mile and am the original owner. The timing belt and oil seals have been replaced as well. The head gasket was replaced on warranty due to a recall at no cost to me a few years ago. It did overheat at that time. The missing antifreeze leaked into the engine.

I have now been told that the disk coupling in the four wheel drive is coming apart and the front u-joint and drive shaft has been damaged. I got two quotes—one from a dealer and the other from independent mechanics I found on car talk who have Subaru experience. The quote is for around $2,000 from each. It was suggested as well that I replace the clutch for $500 more since the current one has about 110,000 miles on it and they are taking the engine out anyway. I had clutch problems when the car was new and two new clutches were provided under warrantly.

My question is do I repair the car or buy a new one and take what I can get for the car in its current condition? I have no leaks or other problems I know of, like the car and really am not iexcited about any new cars I’ve looked at.

I fear that I will do this fix and something else will make the car worthless. Mechanics I’ve talked were divided when asked privately what to do.

If you like the car and it’s in decent shape, which it seems to be, get it fixed and continue driving it. It will probably last another 100K miles. You’ll have to spend some money during that time, of course, but that’s true with any car.

Barbi Doll, Knowing A Car’s History Is Often A Good Thing. This Car Just Has Too Much History. For A Car With Only 140,000 Miles On It, It’s Had A Lifetime Of Problems.

“Repair or sell Subaru Forrester” tells me that you are thinking along those same lines. A crash that took out the radiator, battery, several body parts, a recall that covered a defective head gasket that caused the engine to oveheat, a catylitic converter replacement, " . . the disk coupling in the four wheel drive is coming apart.", " . . . front u-joint and drive shaft has been damaged.", a water pump, a clutch . . .

This car has not been good to you. I’m surprised that you still have it.

Were you aware that many of us buy a car and drive it for over 140,000 miles and do little more than change the oil every 5,000 miles? I’ve done this buying used cars. You owe it to yourself to get one of those!

Did you really have to ask, “Repair or sell Subaru Forester?”


Barbidoll; this sounds like a bad “relationship” and as any advisor (including Oprah) in the paper or on TV will tell you, get out of this relationship ASAP.

Many posters, including myself, drive cars for a very long time with only modest repairs. You are truly going to throw good money after bad!!

Look at this way. None of the history on your car raises any red flags. You had replacements done (many recently and a big one free). That’s a big plus since you will probably not face those costs again for a long (many more miles) time. My quick and dirty rule for big once-in-a-car-time work is 5 cents a mile. That is, divide .05 into $2,500. The result for you is 50,000 miles. You will get 50k more miles on a Subaru and probably a lot more.
Fix it.

What ? $5,000.00 Per 100,000 Miles Driven Just For Big “Once-In-A-Car-Time Work” ? Are You Serious? What Do You Drive, An MG Or A Triumph?

I love my Subaru but its unique and only had a headlight burn out in 80k miles.

I could not see another day fixing this string of bad luck. Seems like hit or miss with Subaru. For example my sis in law who neglects maintenance is running 210k trouble free with her 2001 Forester. Few nags but nothing serious or $$$$.

Move on.

I agree with Andrew.
While my experiences with two Subarus have been incredibly good, if I had a Subaru as trouble-plagued as the OP’s, I would drop it like a bad habit.

Thanks for your reply. This online discussion has helped me so much.

Thanks for your input. You have helped me decide what to do. I’d like to get rid of it. Any suggestions on who might buy it? I usually sell my cars outright, but I’ve only sold one that was marginally running. In that case they rebuilt the engine and resold it a few days later for a profit. I will list it online in the usual places. The complete service records are available. Thanks again.

It is a bad relationship. Its like being married to an abuser. Each time I think the next time will be different. I am going to get rid of it. Any suggestions? I appreciate knowing from you all that this is an abnormal amount of repair for a high millage car and there is hope that I might find one that is economically sensible.

Thanks for your input. I like your rule. I think it is too late for this car relationship. I’m going to get rid of it. Could be the next owner will totally luck out. I am done. Thanks again.

I am moving on. Thanks for helping me do that. I couldn’t seem to decide and “poling the audience” really helped. Your sister really hit the jackpot.

I’m going to. Thanks for helping me make the decision. I really appreciate it. Glad everybody has had such a good experience with Subaru. I’m a little gun shy at the moment. Will buy another brand for now.

I remember those cars. Thanks for your input. It helped me decide to move on.

You should repair it and keep it. You’ve already made several investments, many of which you will have to make over with another car, unless you buy new or recently new. And if you try to sell your car, most buyers will run a CarFax report and see that it was in an accident, and either not want to buy it, or give you so little that it would be better to just keep it.

The estimate seems a bit high, but not overly so. Given all the other money you have put into it, making this additional investment will give you a car you can drive for several more years. If you buy something else used, you have no idea what you’ll be getting into.

Lastly, this is a great car. Everyone I have known that has owned one has loved it, and it seems you do, too. Since nothing else seems to be turning your head, keep the car you have.

Thanks for the feedback. What do you think would be a good price for the repair(s)? Should I do the clutch at the same time? We don’t know that I need it but it has been about 110,000 miles since it was replaced and I am starting to feel a change in the pedal. The shop says it would be less expensive to do the clutch at the same time as this repair.

My fear is that I will spend all this and then something else will render the car worthless. I just did the catalytic converter a few weeks ago. I have taken excellent care of the engine and you are quite right that I have loved the car. It is true that I am not that excited about any car I have looked at, including the new Forester.

Look at the cost in terms of monthly car payments. If the repairs cost three months of car payments, all you need is three months before the next problem to come out ahead!

Thanks. The feedback is so helpful.

My only last thing I should have mentioned. Have you gotten any prices for used parts from salvage (except clutch).

The AWD parts that failed very rarely fail in Subaru’s. The AWD drivetrain itself with manual transmission version is beyond reliable typically. Not sure what caused this mess or failure.