Would you buy used car that had head gasket, radiator, and half front of transmission replaced?

I am looking at a 2005 subaru outback 2.5 XT with 150,000 miles. The price tag is $5,500
The seller says the gasket was burning oil and was replaced, the radiator had cracked (doesnt know why) and was replaced, and the front half of the tranny was replaced. He also says the timing belt will need to be replaced soon. Would you stay away?

I like working on cars but would find this an easy one to reject at half the price.

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“Front half of the tranny?”

I’ll admit to not knowing much about Subarus… but I was under the impression you replace either all or none of a transmission.

And the radiator cracked for unknown reasons?

I’d run from this one. There will be another.

Easy question - of course I would pass on this. Next question.

Would I buy it?
Not a chance in Hades.
Of course, if you’re a masochist, a really severe one, I suppose it’d be a good purchase. I cannot imagine a way of giving yourself more pain.

$5000 seems a bit high. $2000 would be a fair price if there are no problems (besides the t-belt needing replacement). The radiator on the Subaru appears to be plastic and after many miles they can crack for a variety of reasons, vibration, motor mounts that are going or gone, etc. I wouldn’t be concerned with that issue if there are no on going issues related to the cooling system. Head gasket replacement - pretty common on Subarus. Again, unless the issue is on going I would not worry although oil burning is caused by worn piston rings not bad head gaskets. The trans thing might have been repairs to the axle drive, but who knows.

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From the info. you have it may be way, way too many $$ and a potential headache. The fact of these repairs could indicate that a number of things have been fixed already, or they could indicate poor maintenance or abuse and the probability that more problems will follow.

Head gasket repairs by this mileage/age are common in these cars, but they need to be done properly which may run ~ $3000 or more. Do you have the records, can you interview who did it? Were the heads and block resurfaced, were other parts in the heads replaced? Some do it for less but cut corners. Walk away if all they did was slap in a new head gasket.

Same considerations the transmission, specifically what was repaired? Why did it fail and how thorough of a job was done? With proper fluid change intervals and care these should go the life of the car.

Is the timing belt overdue on either time or mileage? By now it should already have been done once, so if this is the original it’s way overdue and can be taken as an indication that previous owners likely didn’t attend to other maintenance as well. You also can get a sense from the appearance of the car - are the wheels matched (all same type and amount of wear), is there crud on the underside of the oil cap, peeling clear coat at this age will indicate failure to wash and wax sufficiently, are the carpets and seats clean or grimy, etc.?

If it was the only used car on earth, I’d buy it. Otherwise, pass.

I just bought a used car. I found that there are enough used cars out there that I didn’t need to purchase a car that I had to question.

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[quote=“boilerengtn, post:8, topic:112273”]
I just bought a used car. I found that there are enough used cars out there that I didn’t need to purchase a car that I had to question.

Good Greif ! That is so logical maybe we should just put that on every thread that someone starts ( Should I buy this vehicle ) and then just close the thread.


I have to ask why you would even think of purchasing this car at this price ?

It seems on the expensive side given the problems. A price that might entice me – were I looking for t his type of vehicle. — would be $2500 less the cost of a timing belt job, so around $1500.

I’d run from this one at that price. Knock a couple or three grand off and it MAY be worth thinking about.

Just some FYI for those curious about the “front half of the transmission” statement.

Subaru automatics consist of the auto transmission unit and the final drive. The final drive consists of the ring/pinion gears and this drives the front axles. It is bolted on and part of the transmission unit.
This final drive is replaceable without replacing the entire transmission. In most cases…

Some of you may remember that I’ve often mentioned Subaru final drives being wrecked because someone inadvertently drained the final drive by mistake while performing an engine oil change.
That is the usual reason why the “front half” fails.

In more severe cases the transmission case is cracked open and that makes the entire unit scrap metal. The ring and pinion along with the spider gears get turned into debris…

Used car values are much higher than they were 20 years ago. The lowest priced Outback within 250 miles of my location is $5500. For the suggested price of $1500 someone might be able to get an Outback without an engine in my area. Most of these cars have had the head gaskets and radiator replaced, good luck finding a Subaru this old that has not needed repairs.

The seller seems to speak automotive gibberish but that doesn’t mean the car is faulty.

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Red flag, why would the guy not replace the timing belt, give you a good car and call it a day, so you are looking at the car with an imminent $899 repair, get it inspected, throw in brakes and tires easily another $1200, not to mention tire rotation, trans and coolant service, I think you are in a world of hurt if you buy this car,

“…know when to walk away, and know when to run.” RUN . Here’s the scoop: https://www.cartalk.com/blogs/car-talk-car-complaints/used-subarus–-buy-one-not-one