Need opinions on used car for my son PART 2

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From me previous post, I was asking opinions on a low mileage Chrysler Sebring. Just yesterday a family friend is selling a Subaru that was in his family since 25K miles. Here are the details, what are your thoughts. Price seems reasonable. 2004 Subaru Outback 4 cyl normally aspirated engine automatic transmission. Regular service (not sure what this means other than oil changes) 115K miles Recent major services: Head gasket and timing chain Air conditioner compressor New tires and brakes Selling because daughter that uses the car is moving out of state.
 
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Yes! This one over the Chrysler for sure! The head gaskets are the big issue on these, so as long as the repair was done properly, you're good to go. This car has a timing belt, not a chain. It should be replaced every 100k.
 

MajorCavalry

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I don't know a lot about Subarus. Consumer Reports also shows a much worse than average repair rate for the drivetrain. Not sure what that entails. Any and all insights into these vehicles is greatly appreciated. My son is older and underemployed despite working quite hard. He can't afford to purchase much and what he does needs to be reasonably reliable. This purchase is entirely on his nickel.
 
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Originally Posted By: MajorCavalry
My son is older and underemployed despite working quite hard. He can't afford to purchase much and what he does needs to be reasonably reliable. This purchase is entirely on his nickel.
I think the Subaru over the Chrysler for sure. However, (sorry I missed your "part 1" post), but given the need for reliability, why are you limiting to the Chrysler and Subaru? Are you only comfortable buying from people you know? Just curious. I know how depressing breakdowns/repairs can be when you don't have the money to deal with them...and I'm getting depressed for your son just seeing these two options. If you/he has 3 or 4 weeks to invest in watching/looking, you should be able to find something on local CL in his price range with much better reliability record.
 
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If the repair was done properly, the headgasket issue is a one time deal. The factory gaskets suck for that type of engine. They are incredibly reliable besides that. But...if looks or gas isnt an issue. Nothing is more reliable than a first gen scion xb or a 2.7l toyota truck. There are exceptions, but those are some.abusable.vehicles.
 
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Sounds like provenance is key. I'd probably not buy a subaru from a stranger. Up here in Maine there seem to be two distinct types of subaru owners, just from casual observance. One knows they are great snow cars and is an enthusiast, maintains the car, and pushes its limits. The other knows they are terrible drivers and use the car as a crutch. These guys run bald tires, thinking 4 wd is a substitute. They also figure the car is japanese, even though many are made in Kentucky, and they just need oil changes and no other maintenance. For a while I used to catch up to a subaru on my way into work with its yellow hazard/ turn lights on bright. I figure their trailer connector shorted out-- I caught up to it and saw its receiver hitch. How the driver could neglect the car by driving it like this for weeks escapes me.
 
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A few years ago an automotive journalist characterized Chrysler Corporation as a lemon tree and the Sebring as the Crown Jewel of the Chrysler lemon tree. Part of the bad rap on Subaru might just come from the kids that hop up the rally version and go hunting for Mustang GT's or picking off pylons in parking lot shalom events. Dumping the clutch at high rev's with all wheel drive and sticky tires can be an effective way to test the depth of your pocket book.
 
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And now you have the Fiat/Chrysler connection. That should be a huge red flag. The 66 Dodge Dart that I ordered sent me to Toyota products. Don't want anything to do with anything Chrysler. Nothing but throw away junk.
 
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Put it on a lift and check for serious rot! IIRC, the rear subframes on these go...and by the time you see it, it is about to fall off!
 
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Originally Posted By: HosteenJorje
And now you have the Fiat/Chrysler connection. That should be a huge red flag. The 66 Dodge Dart that I ordered sent me to Toyota products. Don't want anything to do with anything Chrysler. Nothing but throw away junk.
You base your hatred of a company on one vehicle...built FIFTY YEARS AGO?! Seriously?! Are you for real?!
 
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Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
... Part of the bad rap on Subaru might just come from the kids that hop up the rally version and go hunting for Mustang GT's or picking off pylons in parking lot shalom events. Dumping the clutch at high rev's with all wheel drive and sticky tires can be an effective way to test the depth of your pocket book.
Yep, aside from heavily modified racer-boys' blown turbos etc, Subaru is a very reliable brand. Since the head gaskets have been done the Subie would be.my choice also.
 
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OTOH, Subarus are always on CR's list of recommended used cars. Not so sure how much reliance I'd place upon their drivetrain reliability rating. The automatic is unbreakable and there is no less troublesome AWD system. The main rap on the earlier 2.5s is the head gaskets, and that's been done. Between the two, the Subaru is the obvious pick. The Subie will not be paricularly economical in fuel use, though.
 
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Did I miss where you posted the price of this Subaru? People may change their opinion if the owner was asking $10k. How much?
 
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Originally Posted By: fdcg27
OTOH, Subarus are always on CR's list of recommended used cars. Not so sure how much reliance I'd place upon their drivetrain reliability rating. The automatic is unbreakable and there is no less troublesome AWD system. The main rap on the earlier 2.5s is the head gaskets, and that's been done. Between the two, the Subaru is the obvious pick. The Subie will not be paricularly economical in fuel use, though.
According to fueleconomy.gov 2002 Sebring with the 2.7 w/4-speed auto gets 18 City, 25 Highway and 21 Combined 2004 Outback with the 2.5 w/4-speed auto gets 18 City, 25 Highway, and 21 Combined So not only does it have the same mileage rating, it does it with AWD.
 
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that vintage is notorious for rust, you being up north doubles that concern. the rear fender well and dogleg in the rear passenger door area, and of course the subframes. if all of those are "managable" or minimal, and the price is right (5 grand or less), go for it, it is an excellent smooth ride.
 
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...and, the more comparable 2.4 four cylinder with automatic Sebring is EPA rated at 19 city/26 highway and 21 combined, which is also pretty lousy. The Subaru is in no way a fuel efficient car and the Sebring apparently isn't either. There are other car models out there with far better fuel economy than either of these, ya know?
 
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