Author Topic: When to move on from a car  (Read 3366 times)

EngiNerd

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When to move on from a car
« on: August 31, 2015, 07:28:24 PM »
I have an 02 subaru forester with 206,000 miles.  It is is in fair condition at best and blue book value shows it is worth roughly $950-$1,050.  I bought it 5.5 years ago for $5,500 and have put 80k miles on it with only replacing an axle boot  and drive shaft ($400) other than ordinary maintenance.    So I feel like I have already done alright value wise but would rather not have to purchase another vehicle.  However, the temp. gauge started to show overheating while stuck in traffic today, it was a 95 F deg day.   It looks like a head gasket is leaking pretty good and I figure I'll need to do the timing belt/water pump/ idler pulley maintenance pretty well soon.  I can probably do the timing belt myself, not that experienced wrenching on cars but don't mind learning, but doubt I could do the gaskets.  However, I think I will definitely spend more on necessary repairs than the vehicle is worth and I still will not have much faith in it for like long road trips and such.  Is it crazy to think looking for another manual hatch back with 100-140k miles for like $4-$6k might be a better decision than spending time and money on my current vehicle? 

MoonShadow

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2015, 07:31:03 PM »
If you can get the timing belt right, you can change a head gasket. 

bogart

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2015, 07:54:14 PM »
When things go well, I personally am happy with roughly a year of service per $1K spent on a car (including purchase price and repairs less KBB).  I'm also not interested in doing much more than basic maintenance, myself (of course you may feel differently).  And, there's plenty about my financial circumstances I'm happy about.  Also, I don't like dealing with breakdowns/repairs, particularly (although not exclusively) when traveling.

I'd replace it.  Others would probably choose differently.  I think either answer's defensible.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2015, 08:02:34 PM »
If you can get the timing belt right, you can change a head gasket.

Most likely have to pull the engine, it's a Subaru.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2015, 08:05:46 PM »
And to answer the OP, I think when you reach the point where you can't trust the car on a long trip, it's time to move on.

MoonShadow

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2015, 08:06:12 PM »
If you can get the timing belt right, you can change a head gasket.

Most likely have to pull the engine, it's a Subaru.

Well, you could funny-car flip it using a swing set an a pair of ratchet straps (my dad "helped" me change out a manual clutch this way on a 1984 Fiero) but you are probably right.  Those Subaru engineers didn't leave much room for hands.

EngiNerd

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2015, 08:46:16 PM »
I am on the fence, and leaning towards changing the antifreeze and adding more "conditioner" and just watching the temp. gauge more closely for awhile, driving less and trying to extend the life of this vehicle.  But hypothetically if I were to just replace my subaru how do you get the most out of high mileage vehicle in need of some tlc? 

There are some youtube videos of changing the gaskets without removing the engine but most sites/mechanics I have consulted specifically about the 2.5L DOHC engine suggest pulling the engine for ease and the ability to address any possible warping...

JLee

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2015, 09:35:19 PM »
If you can get the timing belt right, you can change a head gasket.

Most likely have to pull the engine, it's a Subaru.

I'm not sure I'd want to even attempt that with the engine in the car - valve cover gaskets are bad enough, let alone getting proper torque on the heads/etc buried down there.  Though, the more stuff you remove, the more room you have...but I sure wouldn't enjoy it!

Scubanewbie

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2015, 11:23:49 AM »
Funny, I opened this because my own 2009 Subaru has a head gasket weep that we're dreading replacing.  After doing $2K+ in non-routine maintenance in the last year plus the regular maintenance as it just flipped over 100K miles we're just loathe to put more into it despite it being worth $5K per KBB.  I hate this car and want an excuse to dump it but just fixing it as it's the "new" car.  My considerably older Civic is no where near needing this amount of work.  We bought it new and have the money to replace it but don't *want* to replace it.  I'm not a car person, they're a way to get from point A to B.  Gaaah, good luck with your decision!

ketchup

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2015, 11:38:10 AM »
If it's a sign of other looming problems, it's time to look for replacement.

If it's relatively isolated or "Just a think that happens with this model" that can be permanently fixed (head gaskets are notorious for failing multiple times because the gasket failure is due to the engine's head warping), fix it and move on.

Look at what you've deemed your willing-to-swallow deprecation rate is per mile.  If you think this repair will make the car last at least as long as the cost divided by that depreciation rate, you win.  If your car is "fully depreciated" in your mind, and you accept 5 cents/mile of depreciation, a $500 repair for example is acceptable if it means it will keep the car going at least another 10,000 miles.  I would say "cost to repair vs. value of car when repaired" on its own is honestly not a great gauge unless you're already going to sell it tomorrow.

I would disagree that if you can do a timing belt, you can do a head gasket.  Even on a very simple car (a friend's junky '95 Geo Metro), it was a lot more work to do a head gasket vs a timing belt.  And I didn't 100% trust my work after I was done.  Car ran, and without blowing a hilariously large cloud of white smoke into the neighbor's yard, but I still wouldn't have trusted it.  I'm not saying it can't be done, but it's definitely more work than a timing belt.

brotatochip

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2015, 08:24:20 PM »
It's only valued at $1000...so if I were you I would drive it like I stole it!  Run that Subaru and don't do any repairs.  You might have a year left in her!  I own an 04 wrx (insert gentle facepunch) and love it! 

EngiNerd

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Re: When to move on from a car
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2015, 10:42:11 AM »
It's only valued at $1000...so if I were you I would drive it like I stole it!  Run that Subaru and don't do any repairs.  You might have a year left in her!  I own an 04 wrx (insert gentle facepunch) and love it! 

That's the gamble I am deciding to take.  It should pay off if I get another year/10,000 mi.  However, if the timing belt breaks or the gaskets completely blow in like 1000 miles and I have to tow the car to a salvage yard I obviously lose and it would have been better to spend 2k to address the issues and hope nothing else major pops up over the next few years.  Only time will tell, but I don't really want to extend my commitment to this vehicle.  I like it, and it suits my lifestyle well but I am simply not confident in it. 

Thanks for the input all.