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Scrap or sell 03 Subaru Outback 197,000 miles

I have an 03 Outback that has 197,000 miles on it. Took it in to replace tail light and did an inspection with oil change. Mechanic at Subaru dealer said oil is leaking, the power steering is leaking, and the u joint needs to be replaced. Also fog lights are out and license plate light is out and wiring is problem so it’s not a simple bulb replacement. He estimated $800 for oil leak, $1200 for power steering leak, and $1000 for u joint. I had new car fever and decided to grab a 2015 outback instead of dumping a bunch of money into this one. The trade in was only $200 so I kept it and am trying to sell it without much luck. I am scaring people away with all its issues. The vehicle is in fair condition with some rust on back wheel wells and a few dings and scratches. I recently put in brand new headlight assemblies. I’m in MN and get a 30 day grace period before I have to insure it. It will cost me roughly $200 for liability insurance for 6 months. I talked to mechanic again today for more detail about repairs and he recommended I scrap it instead of sell it. The salvage yard offered me $100 for it. My question is basically is it worth insuring to maybe sell it on Craigslist or should I just scrap it and not worry about it anymore. I am asking $1500 for it and it runs beautifully at the moment. Is this a fair price? Thanks for your input.

I should add I have no interest in spending any money on it or fixing it myself

There is an a** for every seat, put it on craigslist for 200 0ver trade in value and it will be gone by tomorrow, note everything and make sure as is is a condition


I have my doubts about the dealer diagnosed issues. They want every car in perfect brand new condition. Your oil leak and PS could just be minor seepage. I will get a second opinion from an independent shop. I know you have already bought a new car, but at least if this car is in better condition than you think it is, then you can sell it for more (with full disclosure).


I say No. Just scrap it and move on.

200 k with no headgaskets issues? U get a gold star. Ur mechanic is right.

Don’t scrap it - sell it on Craig’s list for whatever you can get. Once you get the price right, it will sell. Your bottom-line sounds like it’s about $200. If you make the price too low, people will think it’s a total junker. Set the price based on research at or for the year, age and condition of the car. If you want to sell it faster, put the price slightly lower than NADA or KBB. Good luck.

A lot of good comments already, Parson Bob. My rule is that if it costs more to fix a car than it is worth, then it’s time to say goodbye. But this is a Subaru, so it’s likely to have another 100,000 miles left in it. Before scrapping it, I would check with an independent shop to see if you can get the repairs done cheaper. Even if you pay the shop $50 for the estimate and walk away, you can at least sell it with full disclosure. I think some of the big numbers the Subaru dealer threw at you are scaring your customers away. If you can give potential buyers some more reasonable repair cost estimates and perhaps a lower price, you’ll find someone who’s willing to give it a little TLC and bring it back to life. Good luck!

Thanks for the replies everybody. I just sold it for $440. A guy bought it who rehabs older cars as a hobby so nobody will be disappointed. Listed it for $500 with full disclosure and phone was blowing up at 8 this morning. Had it sold by 12:30. $240 more than a trade in and $340 more than scrapping so I’m happy.


Good for you. Those repairs weren’t major items. All cars develop leaks as they age. Probably inexpensive to fix if you do DIY repairs. Just a matter of pricing it to sell. Everybody on Craigslist is looking for bargains.

He will probably replace the universal joints, light bulbs, clean the car and sell it for $2000, not everyone is fussy about oil leaks on a vehicle this old. How messy were the leaks?

Probably not terribly bad. That may be the case. I’m fine with that. It’s gone and I don’t have to worry about it anymore. I hope it is fixed up because it’s a great car and will run for a long time if shown some love. Someone will hopefully get some really good use out of it.


I trust you filled out a release of liability with your dmv, just in case . . .