When to trade and when to hold

I have a 2006 subaru forrester xt with 98136 miles. Looking for advice as to how long this car ought to last or would it be a good idea to start looking for a new car? I’d like to keep it as long as possible but don’t want to run into major problems

This is a very personal decision. You’ll get plenty of opinions, but only you can decide. My experience has been that it’s much less expensive to maintain a car than to replace one. I can’t imagine trading a car that’s only three years old.

If you don’t want to run into major problems you are the kind of individual the new car companies thrive on. Because if you keep the car “a long time” at some point you will have problems. You might consider needing new brakes as a “major problem” where to me it is just replacing stuff that wears out.

So, the question is what is a major problem in your view? Between 100K and 200K miles a lot of Subaru’s might need transmission work, or a new radiator, or some wheel bearings, etc. If you want to keep it for another 100K miles be sure to spend more on routine maintenance and keep up to date with the manufacturers recommendations on maintenance. You’ll need a timing belt in the next 10K miles and you may want to find an independant mechanic to do your service rather than the Subaru dealer. When repairs are needed the dealer charges will be higher than an independant shop.

A new car means few repairs, but a large monthly payment to the bank for the car loan. Keeping the older car means no monthly payment for the loan, but more frequent repair bills. Only you can decide which path is best for you.

You are in the steep part of the depreciation curve with an extra large drop in vakue for high miles for the year. Those 98k and 3 years are very expensive.

I am only guessing those are highway miles which are extra easy on any vehicle. Given age and likely ease of miles think that its life will likely go 200k without serious problems.

The 2006 Forester is much more reliable than the average for all vehicles of that model year. However, all bets are off if you don’t maintain the car properly. As but one example, if you don’t replace the timing belt at ~105,000 miles, you could wind up with a “junk” engine by 106,000 miles.

If you don’t want major problems with any make of car, you have to be prepared to pay for regular maintenance, according to the book. In this case, the book is sitting in your glove compartment.

Those who maintain their Subaru in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule typically get at least 175,000 miles of use from the vehicle with no major repairs. And, that has been my experience with that make of car.

When to hold: If you like the car and it is reasonably reliable, keep it.

When to trade: never

When to sell: when you need it and it is in the shop too often, or you just want a new ride.

How much does rust figure in? My car lived 5 years in Phoenix, (no salt), then 3 years in Maine (lots of salt). Now, it’s back in Phoenix and the brakes had to be replaced and were very rusty. I’m figuring it’s due to the salt-exposure. How worried should I be with a 10 year old car, 100,000 miles, and already have rusting-issues? Is it trade-in time?

I agree with jtsanders; we keep our cars until a) they become very unreliable, b) they become unsafe and can’t be made safe economically, c) they become unsightly with rust, and cannot be fixed economically. In all cases, we don’t TRADE, the car gets recycled, sold for parts, or sold “as is” with full disclosure of its condition.

Typical disposals in the past: 1948 Chevy, given to kid brother as a hobby car in 1963; 1965 Dodge dart, sold for scrap at 13 years; 1966 Chevelle malibu, totalled in accident and sold for $100 in 1978; 1976 Ford Granada, sold as is for $750 for hobby car in 1988; 1977 Dodge Colt, sold for scrap in 1997 for $60 as bottom was rusted out.