Sell or repair 2007 Sub Forester

Hello, all.
I have a 2007 Subaru Forester and I am torn whether it is best to complete some expensive repairs, or to sell the car. I bought the car when it had 200,000 miles on it from a mechanic who fixed it up with a new engine. I have had it for 5 years and it now has about 230,000 miles.
Some pros I see to keep the car:
I really like the car. It is comfortable to drive and I appreciate the wide windows which make is easy to see all around the car (having previously driven an Expedition with terrible blind spots!). I also really like the idea of not taking on a car loan, because even if I invest in the repairs, it is still a lot less than buying a car.
The cons I see to keeping the car:
The car is having head gasket issues. It also rattles loudly when idling and I don’t yet know why. Finally, it doesn’t have some of the safety features newer cars do (in particular I would like if the car had curtain airbags) although I trust it is a safe car.
Would it be wrong to fix up my car? Am I likely just going to have to keep throwing money at the car at this point? I was wondering if anyone might have some advice.
Thank you in advance!

No, that’s a perfectly reasonable compromise. Besides car payments, and higher insurance and registration fees, by fixing this car you avoid the very big, time-consuming job of finding another car to buy. Even better, you avoid risking the possibility of contracting Covid in the car-buying process.

Newer cars are indeed somewhat safer, that part of the compromise only you can make. Partly depends on whom is also at risk. Both of my cars are 30 years or older, generally drive by myself, and I’ve never been overly concerned about the safety issues myself. I do drive a little slower and pay more attention to driving safely than I might if I had a newer car, seems like a good thing imo.

Yes, although I wouldn’t use the term “throwing money at it”. I’d call that part of the compromise, that while you save as above, you “expect to pay more for routine maintenance and repairs than if you owned a newer car”.

There’s one other factor to be considered. Your 07 car won’t be quite as reliable as a newer car, simply b/c all the parts on a newer car will be newer. If you consider road-side break-downs a serious safety problem, or if they might cause you employment problems b/c you are late for work, only you can decide that aspect.

A 16 year-old Subaru with head gasket issues that rattles loudly when idling with 230,000 miles on it?

Stick a fork in it.



New? Or, more, likely, a used engine, right? A new or rebuilt engine shouldn’t have problems after 30,000 miles.


Try to put a dollar value on that statement and then do a comparison. There’s no point in replacing a car with something that may be more reliable or economical if you hate driving it.

Have the head gaskets fixed on your car. It’s a common service that many shops are able to do.


Thank you very much for your response! I especially appreciate what you said about not thinking of it as “throwing money” at the car. Any car is going to need some TLC and repairs to be in the best possible shape :blush:

Yikes…I didn’t think of it that way. Good point.

Very good point about not replacing a car I like with one I might not like as much!

Lol. Straight to the point! I have felt that on occasion, I admit…

It’s hard to make a recommendation when you don’t know the source of the rattle, which could be cheap or which could be expensive. I suggest having that diagnosed before you decide.

Either the mechanic didn’t install a new engine, or you are very hard on vehicles… lol

You can put $4000 a year into the car and that is only $334 a month, much less then a new car payment… At the miles you have on the car, you will never get your money back out of it putting an engine into it, but if you really like the car and plan on driving it for 200,000 or more miles unless wrecked, then it would be worth it for you…

The rattle could be a rod knock or a idler pulley, hard to tell not hearing the noise… So like said, get it checked out… Remember with those miles, unless already replaced (correctly) you still have a transmission, diff, axles, wheel bearing, brakes etc that can go bad at anytime…
If you can do most of the work yourself, then that helps, if this is the only car you have and can’t afford $$$$ for repairs, then may be time for a upgrade, But also remember that that upgrade will come with it’s own issue down the road…

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there is a saying about Subaru’s:

Either your Subaru has a head gasket issue, or it is about to have a head gasket issue.

What it the overall shape of the body of this Subaru? How about the chassis? If this thing is a rust bucket, then it is not worth investing in. If the body is in decent shape, underneath is in good shape, then repair or toss an engine in it and drive on. Seems like you like this car.

But it will not pay you back for the repairs you make to it. It is old, and resale value is not likely to go up with the repairs you make. What it is worth is more up to you than anything else.

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Others are better qualified to answer the economics of your question. I’ll just answer from the perspective of someone who’s in the process of car shopping right now. 1) A new car will be harder to see out of. Subarus still do okay in this regard–most other cars are awful. 2) With one exception (Mazda CX5) most of the cars I’ve test driven have steering that is–blah. 3) You will have a learning curve with the new electronics and infotainment screens all new cars have. Subaru’s screen is, unfortunately, among the worst in this regard. And all of the new safety systems can be a distraction. On the plus side, yeah, curtain airbags are nice things to have if some cell phone user runs a stop sign on you, and newer cars will have better fuel economy and acceleration than an older car. Oh, one other thing–certain highly rated cars are almost impossible to find to test drive. You should be able to find a Subaru Crosstrek to test out, but something like a Corolla Cross hybrid, Toyota Prius, Rav4 hybrid–doubtful. And forget buying used right now. The prices on used vehicles right now are high enough that you’re probably better off buying new if you can afford it.

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