I have a 2006 outback with 115k miles on it. The car needs to have head gaskets replaced along with the control arm bushings replaced for 3k - 4k in repairs. It will probably need new tires and brakes next year as well. Is it worth getting repaired or using the expected repair costs for a new outback?
Your economic choice. A new Outback will run you between $22 & $28K. These expenditures are around 5K. When our 03 was totalled at 153K, its value was around $7K. Yours is probably worth a bit more. If you like the vehicle and know that otherwise it is in good condition, keep it. If not, move to Plan B.
If you haven’t had the timing belt, water pump, and cam seals changed yet then that needs to be done also. Once you have those things done the car should be ready for another 100k miles and not have too much more in future repair bills to worry about. It can beat having to make car payments every month.
You will be better off repairing your Outback then driving it until the wheels fall off. Take Cougar’s advice and get the timing belt, water pump, and cam seals changed as well. You already have a nice car so buying another one does not make good sense at this time.
Besides the good advice above, note that the choice you asked about also depends on the physical condition of the car: Is the body good with no dents or rust, with good paint and glass? Is the interior basically good? If so then use other factors to make the choice. On the other hand, if the body is rough with dents or rust, doors or windows not working, interior ripped up or worn, then the car may not be worth this series of repairs.
If it’s an automatic transmission and you have followed the manufacturer’s recommended interval for fluid and filter changes, then that’s a strong positive. But if you’ve never done that maintenance, then the longevity of the transmission has been reduced. Manual trans may also want a fluid change, but it’s less critical - check your owners manual.
Completely agree with Westernroadtripper. It all depends upon the condition of the body including the accumulated rust. If it is in excellent condition, it usually is financially worth it. Remember, you can get a higher trade in from a car with some mechanical problems then one with substantial rust in excellent mechanical condition. That speaks volumes.