To sell or not to sell - 2012 Impreza with 110k miles

I bought a 2012 Subaru Impreza hatchback in June of 2020 and so far, it has been a nightmare to maintain. First it needed control arm bushings, then the ac system had to be overhauled, the backdoor latch had to be fixed, then it had a lazy start issue that needed to be addressed.

All in all I’ve spent about 5k maintaining it.

I currently own it and am debating selling it while used car prices are high. My mechanic says it might need struts eventually, it definitely needs a new cover gasket (leaking oil), and the timing belt has never been replaced. It also still has a lazy start issue occasionally, though it’s not as bad now.

I am fine with keeping it if it won’t keep costing money, but have no idea if things will continue to break. I’d feel better investing the money in a new car, but ideally would just like to save.

Anyone have any experience with a 2012 Impreza over 100k miles? Do you think it could get cheaper to maintain, or is this just going to go downhill? I have a feeling the previous owners may not have maintained it well, so there is that.

Any advice would be appreciated. This is my first car, so I feel like I’ve had bad luck with this one.

This car is going to get more expensive to maintain very soon. Timing belts are changed af 105K miles or 10 years… and you are there. You can’t put it off as a broken belt destroys the engine.

Cars never get cheaper to maintain as they get older.

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Do you have oil burning problems? Subarus are notorious for that along with head gasket problems.I would fix any of the issues you mentioned and sell the car.

From all the complaints that I have seen on here makes me wonder why anyone would buy a Subaru.


Definitely has an issue with oil. I keep a bottle of engine oil around, but I’ve been told the cover gasket is also leaking oil.

Yeah, I am starting to think about not getting another Subaru - maybe a rav 4 or a kona. Was debating a Crosstrek though, but a new one.

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Just make sure that it isn’t a used Rav. My friend had the misfortune to own a 2008 RAV (purchased new, and maintained better than specified by Toyota) that burned enough oil to cause a new shortage of petroleum products.

Truth! If it’s been a nightmare to maintain thus far…I can’t imagine the next 100k miles being easier.

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That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose. However, the other way of looking at it is that as more of the poor quality original parts get replaced with better quality aftermarket parts, the overall reliability of the car improves, and eventually it will run well without constant problems.

I have owned several cars which had lots of costly problems, but eventually became decent-running and reliable once the problems were fixed. The problems were likely due to poor maintenance by previous owner(s), btw.

Have to agree and to try a different brand. But remember the prices are high on both ends right now and selection limited so think trade in to make it easy.

To be honest that has always been the goal with this car - my mechanic thinks it could get cheaper but I am not totally sure if I should trust them. I keep hoping the repair costs will even out and slow in pace, but that has not happened at all yet. If it keeps being expensive, I’d rather put the money elsewhere.

My mechanic still is quoting some suspension work - rear struts (800), cover gasket (600) a wheel bearing (300), then of course I’ll likely need to do the timing belt.

I don’t really know what you should do as this is a lousy time to purchase a vehicle . You are looking at 1700.00 dollars plus the timing belt cost. I can’t see myself putting more money in this thing. Also do you really need all wheel drive which will be expensive if it needs work . I would look at every dealer web site near me and see if there is a new low priced vehicle I might like and just move on . The repair costs you are looking at will make several payments on something new with warranty .

This is one of those make a decision times and hope you make the right one and if not you will join the thousands of us who have made choices that just did not work out.

I really appreciate your response! It sums up how I feel exactly.

The car market is insane right now, a lot of the used cars I am looking at are actually going for more than new cars. So I am actually thinking of ordering from a dealer, as I found a few that are still doing msrp. I never thought I’d buy a car new, but with the prices on used I might.

There is some value in keeping the one you have, simply because you know what problems it has and has already had.

If you buy anything used, you likely won’t know it’s history. Meaning, you could be buying someone else’s problem.

When I was a kid I had a dog. It barked all night. Then it bit a kid, not too bad. Then it bit another kid, not too bad. Then it really bit a kid and she went off to a farm in Iowa.

When would have been a good time to send her to the farm? First, second, third infraction? Or better yet, never to have had her. The dog I knew was better than a new dog?

True people continue to make bad decisions over and over in money, marriage, cars, but there is no reason for it and can be prevented.

In many of your responses you mention that your mechanic says this or thinks that; I have to ask, did you bring this car to your mechanic before you bought it?

If not, this would be a perfect time to say it again, do not go by “gut feelings” about a car, or what your friend or relative says about a car by simply doing a “curb-side” inspection (kicking the tires, peeking under the hood, etc…) or taking the word of the salesperson that they would buy this car for their mother…

This is why you take the car to a reputable shop, with knowledgeable mechanics, to inspect the vehicle first.

It may be too late for you for this advice, but maybe it will help others to avoid the pitfalls you’ve fallen into…

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I did bring it to a mechanic - I brought it to a chain one, so I have a feeling they may not have investigated too much (it was only like 30 dollars). Otherwise, a lot of the issues that have cost the most were a bit of a surprise that developed way after I bought it - like the starter system starting to fail.

I appreciate the post though! I certainly wished I had brought it to a more local place.

A couple of years ago, when I was looking at neighbor’s used Ford, I went to a local Ford dealer and asked the service department if they have a checklist to follow when they check out a car before they offer is as a “certified used car” and they showed me two lists.

The first list was for Ford models up to 6 years old with less than 80,000 miles and the it had to pass a thorough 172-point inspection and they would then offer a 12-Month/12,OOO-MiIe (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty and a 7-Year/100,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Powertrain Limited Warranty.

The second list was for any make and model up to 10 years old with less than 120,000 miles and it had to pass a detailed 139-point inspection and then they would offer a 90-Day/4,OOO-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty with 24/7 Roadside Assistance–no powertrain warranty…

They said it would cost about $150 for the first list and about $120 for the second list.

I sprung for the first list for $150 and they found enough things wrong or needing service that I decided not to buy the car and feel the money spend on the inspection was well spent and I probably saved thousands not getting stuck with the “nice looking ‘worn out junker…’” that my neighbor was trying to sell. As it turned out, he traded it in for another used car…

Here is a link to the list…

A kyb strut assy is about $100. Strut, spring, mount… An OEM Strut is about 200 and the mount is almost 100. So, 2 kyb’s with install would be 400? Vs 800+ at your shop. Did the 800 include the mount too?
That’s IF you really need struts.