Subaru's over 100,000 miles

I am leaning towards a subaru Forester, used, in my price range the mileage will be high - over 100,000 -145,000. My previous experience with subaru is expensive repairs - head gaskets, water pumps, wheel bearing, axles, all seem to go over/around 100,000. I have found some with the mechanical issues mentioned that have been repaired, or addressed before issues occur. I can’t decide if this is a good purchase of not - thoughts on high mileage subaru’s?

When you buy and older car with 100K or more you are making a tradeoff. You are paying less up front, and saving on insurance - but whether you know it or not “agreeing” to spend more along the way to keep it on the road. Some Subaru engines are known for head gasket problems, and that it in its own category. All of the rest of the stuff - axles, bearings, water pumps…are normal wear and tear items. I don’t care what you buy. Sometimes you have to have the wear & tear stuff replaced.

If you have a specific vehicle in mind, it would be a good idea to post the year and engine in it. But it would be the best idea to have a trustworthy local mechanic look the whole thing over for you. Expect to pay about 1 hour’s labor.

Most dealerships will not accept cars with over 100K miles as trade-ins. They gently inform the owner they would be better off selling it themselves…As a buyer, you should be aware that high-mileage vehicles tend to have problems or will shortly have problems…I am always amazed when I see the prices some of these well-worn vehicles command…

I advise against old Subarus with the 2.5 l engine, like the Forester. Head gasket problems are common and expensive. I’m just hoping our 2007 survives long enough without needing them.

I am not a fan of older used Awd cars. Had a couple of Subarus, liked them but did not ask either to go over 150k. Have a friend with a 6 cylinder Subaru and a BMW. He says the two 6 s perform similarly for him. That is complement. So, older Subaru Legacy or Outback with a six, maybe. Otherwise, RAV or CRv if you are dead set on Awd. But you are really depending on good long term maintenance and that’s a bridge too far for me to recommend. So I would lean to part time 4 wd in vehicle that old as it has no center differential and the front differential may be seldom used instead of all the time in Awd cars. Good luck !

The 6 cylinder motor seems to age much better than the 4’s. You have to expect more problems with any motor with a turbo also, so I’d avoid a turbo 4 for sure. Generally not a fan of high mileage Subaru’s.

Sort of wondering if a 4wd Tacoma with around 100K wouldnt do what you want,hard to get more reliable then those things,particularily if you can find one of the older smaller versions(these things look huge now)-Kevin

I would avoid ANY Subaru with over 100,000 miles on it. In view of your past negative experience with Subaru why are you even looking at buying another used one?

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No way to tell with any certainty. But be sure to check the Consumer Reports Guide. It will offer some guidance based on what reliability problems have been noted for that particular Subie make/model/year.

I think you’ve gotten good advice here.

Doc, I’ve always wondered why people who have negative experiences with a particular make buy another of the same. But they often do. I can tell you that it wasn’t until I bought my first Toyota ('76 Corolla, brand new) that I realized that the pattern of constantly having to have something or other fixed wasn’t simply a normal part of car ownership. I thought it was normal.

Physics is easy. Everything physics does makes sense once you understand it. Humans are impossible. Nothing we do makes sense.

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@mountainbike Yes, we know a woman who has been through 3 bad marriages! She seems incapable of recognizing the right guy! Car-wise, I actually owned a 1957 Plymouth, one of the worst engineered and constructed cars ever. But when Chrysler came out with the 5 year, 50,000 mile warranty, I bought a 1965 Dodge Dart and it turned out to be a good car for that time. I even had the U joints replaced at 49, 955 miles after coming back from a long trip. The dealership fixed it, no questions asked.

I also know a number of VW owners who are so used to frequent repairs that they simply don’t believe it when a Toyota or Honda owner mentions he had no repairs for 100,000 miles other than wear items such as brakes.

An Audi owner told me to “budget $1000 more for maintenance and repairs” per year than a normal car. At that time I was spending $900-$1000 per year keeping an 8 year old car running. The Audi ownwer traded every 4 years!

If Richard Burton had ever met a beautiful and FRUGAL woman instead of Liz Taylor he would have been incredulous.

I agree about people who are…blinded…to the shortcomings in their choice of cars, mates, etc.
A former boss of mine (whose weirdness I have previously mentioned on a few occasions) was apparently enamored of GM products, despite having been the victim of their bad transmissions and other problems in the '80s.

On one particular Chevy, he had to overhaul the trans 3 times in ~80k miles.
While GM did eventually reimburse him for the first trans overhaul, he had to pay in full for the other two. When I suggested that he might want to consider a new Taurus, his response was…Oh, those Fords just don’t hold-up like GM products do!

My response was…Yes, you’re right, Jerry. Why argue with someone who is so far removed from reality?

Edited to add:
While I am the very satisfied owner of my third Subaru, I have to agree that buying a used Subie with a lot of miles on the odometer is…not wise. Even if the car has 4 matching tires as it sits on the used car lot, the buyer has no way of knowing whether the previous owner(s) ever ran with mismatched tires for an extended period of time and/or whether they rotated the tires on a consistent basis. And, that type of negligence on the part of the previous owner(s) makes the car a ticking time bomb for the unsuspecting new owner.

@VDC Exactly! I only recommend Subarus to technically inclined and meticulous prospective buyers. You probably fit that category!

The wife of a good friend of ours wanted a vehicle she could cross the Rocky Mountains with in the winter, since her daughter lived on the West coast.

I suggested a Honda CRV or a Toyota Rav4 since she did not need a lot of space. Instead she bought a Subaru Forester and did not read the instruction manual. The drive train seized up on a busy city street and many thousands of dollars later she started to regret her purchase although she liked the vehicle.

Several other of my wife’s friends, all outdoors types, have asked my opinion on Subarus, and after outlining all the things that can go wrong if not maintained and operated properly, they chose something else.

The real problem with 100K + mile vehicles is that people pay WAY to much for them…Then, when the head gasket, transmission, clutch, engine electronics crap out, the repair bill can be staggering, if you are lucky enough to find someone who can repair it properly…

Toyota Tacoma’s are so popular because they a relatively simple vehicles built to a world view, not to please U.S. consumers or the EPA / DOT… Any Third World mechanic can keep them on the road indefinitely…

Thank for the good advice, and face slap - wake up. I switched to Honda CRV 2002 EX 8 years ago, from Subaru, for reliability - not sure why I was reconsidering. I will stick with honda CRV - I found 2 vehicle at different dealership -1) 2004 Honda CRV LX, 108,000 miles for $7,487 (price still seems high), one owner. This work has been done on it - dealer quote: “Our Master Technician has completed a 4-Wheel Alignment, changed the Oil/Filter, replaced Front End Links and replaced Outer Tie Rod Ends making this vehicle a great purchase.Recently reduced to $7995 and at $2055 below Kelly Blue Book” Not sure if Timing belt has been done, I’m told to make sure this is done. It also says “Drive Type: 4 wheel drive - front” - What exactly does this mean?

  1. 2005 Honda CRV EX 147,000, $8985 (I was told not to spend more than $7,00 on this, its over priced) one owner, I did see this car, it has a slight crack in bumper and was told it could be fixed, clean carfax report, I no have information on repairs done by dealership, needs new tires, THanks.

Just be sure to research the CRV self-destructing AC compressor problem and avoid those model years. I don’t remember which years those were but I think it started in 2002.

Otherwise CRV is a good choice.

…and let’s not forget the center differential problems with CRVs.
For many years, the factory maintenance schedule did not list a fluid change, thus leading to MUCHO problems for owners who experienced the binding of tires on low speed turns.

The maintenance schedule probably does list those vital diff fluid changes nowadays, but a used one may come with a maintenance schedule that doesn’t list it. And, unless you use only Honda’s proprietary Dual Pump Fluid, you will wind up causing even more problems. If an indy garage doesn’t use “the real stuff” when servicing a CRV differential, mechanical problems will ensue.

In response to the ‘4wd - front’, it probably means it has a front wheel drive bias with its 4wd system.
My CX-7 is this way, it’s a part-time AWD setup that’s usually in FWD mode until I need traction in the rear, then it sends power to the back wheels.

Ah. We are so creatures of habit. I know one lady whose name matches the car she owned, “Dodge” and for years that was all she would buy for cars solely for that reason. I casually mentioned to her that if she changed her name to Toyota, even given the initial expense, she could save a lot of $$$$ in repair costs. She responded with a wink, “but I REALLY like my mechanic”. Can’t refute that logic. I had no response.

Btw, Rhichard Burton didn’t need Liz to be that; maybe other reasons. He pretty much had any women he wanted…and Liz. Sigh.