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06 Outback, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #1
We own a 2006 Outback 2.5i with nearly 73,000 miles. I'm the second owner and bought the car at 60,000 miles.

On a routine maintenance visit last week, our mechanic pointed out to me that both head gaskets are leaking, and guesstimated that they would likely need to be replaced in the next 6-9,000 miles of routine driving. This was actually pointed out to me about a year ago, but it was almost insignificant at the time. Unfortunately it has worsened. They quoted us around $2100 + tax for the full reseal, machining the heads, and new water pump I believe.

I'm curious on general opinion out there regarding selling the car now, without doing the head gasket job, and the implications on the resale value of the car, now vs. later.

More background, our family currently has 2 children but will likely be growing in the next couple years. At some point down the road, we had planned to buy a minivan or SUV with more seating capacity. My thought now is that the time may be upon us to sell our Outback.

So, my current line of thought is this; sell the Subaru soon without doing the head gasket job (with full disclosure to the buyer of course) and decrease the car's fair market value by $1-1.5K.
If we do the repair, drive it for 2 more years and sell it at that point, my guess is that we won't necessarily recoup the cost of the job, and all benefits go to the future buyer who will have an Outback with a near-guarantee that they won't end up on this forum.

Based on our location and demand for Outbacks, I don't anticipate an incredibly difficult time selling the car, but I may be naive on this. Any issues or problems with my current line of thought, or alternate suggestions out there?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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Options #3 I wouldn't worry too much about his 6,000 - 9,000 mile time estimate, how does he know that? Ideally you keep track of the oil (I'm assuming it's probably oil loss), check it every 1,000 miles, and let us know how much it is by the next oil change. You might be surprised to find out it's not very much. So far you haven't mentioned it being low or anything...if it's been leaking for a year then the entire underside probably has oil on it from a long time of slow weeping and it might be hard to tell how bad it actually is.

My guess is you might easily make a year or more without worrying about it at all...although the 05+ models do get worse quicker than earlier models. But nonetheless I'd keep track of oil loss - that's the first start - to see how much it's actually loosing verses what a oil coated surface looks like after a year, that's not very telling.

I think yours is oil, but you didn't say - If it's coolant only leaking - add two bottles of Subaru's Coolant Conditioner required for that car. If it's oil then you're hosed, replacement is the only option.

If you have it repaired - use the Subaru EJ25 Turbo headgaskets, those engines don't have HG issues and they are interchangeable on your engine.

if you can sell it for $1,000 - $1,500 less then it's worth then do it and don't worry about it. Why bother keeping it? Now is the time to sell - people are temporarily rich with tax returns and it's still winter and folks aren't traveling/paying for vacations. Now is the best time of year to sell a Subaru.

in general a car doesn't sell for "Value - repair costs". I buy a few Subaru's a year and it doesn't work like that unless the seller is lucky. If you're 'lucky' enough because it's a Subaru rich market then it's likely to sell it for more than what you thought it's worth to begin with.
 

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We own a 2006 Outback 2.5i with nearly 73,000 miles. I'm the second owner and bought the car at 60,000 miles.

On a routine maintenance visit last week, our mechanic pointed out to me that both head gaskets are leaking, and guesstimated that they would likely need to be replaced in the next 6-9,000 miles of routine driving. This was actually pointed out to me about a year ago, but it was almost insignificant at the time. Unfortunately it has worsened. They quoted us around $2100 + tax for the full reseal, machining the heads, and new water pump I believe.

I'm curious on general opinion out there regarding selling the car now, without doing the head gasket job, and the implications on the resale value of the car, now vs. later.

More background, our family currently has 2 children but will likely be growing in the next couple years. At some point down the road, we had planned to buy a minivan or SUV with more seating capacity. My thought now is that the time may be upon us to sell our Outback.

So, my current line of thought is this; sell the Subaru soon without doing the head gasket job (with full disclosure to the buyer of course) and decrease the car's fair market value by $1-1.5K.
If we do the repair, drive it for 2 more years and sell it at that point, my guess is that we won't necessarily recoup the cost of the job, and all benefits go to the future buyer who will have an Outback with a near-guarantee that they won't end up on this forum.

Based on our location and demand for Outbacks, I don't anticipate an incredibly difficult time selling the car, but I may be naive on this. Any issues or problems with my current line of thought, or alternate suggestions out there?
This sounds like my problem at the moment.
I got an extension on my line of credit just to cover my head gasket repairs, but at the same time I'm wondering if I should just trade the car in and bite the bullet on the trade-in value.
 

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I own 4 Subarus. A 95,97,02 and a 14. The first two are 2.2 and the last two 2.5.
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I'd price it without fixing it, via trading it to a dealer for the minivan. You might get more then you think, and you have to go that route eventually.

If you planned to keep it for 100K-200K, then it would be different.
 

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06 Outback, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #5
Options #3 I wouldn't worry too much about his 6,000 - 9,000 mile time estimate, how does he know that? Ideally you keep track of the oil (I'm assuming it's probably oil loss), check it every 1,000 miles, and let us know how much it is by the next oil change. You might be surprised to find out it's not very much. So far you haven't mentioned it being low or anything...if it's been leaking for a year then the entire underside probably has oil on it from a long time of slow weeping and it might be hard to tell how bad it actually is.

My guess is you might easily make a year or more without worrying about it at all...although the 05+ models do get worse quicker than earlier models. But nonetheless I'd keep track of oil loss - that's the first start - to see how much it's actually loosing verses what a oil coated surface looks like after a year, that's not very telling.

I think yours is oil, but you didn't say - If it's coolant only leaking - add two bottles of Subaru's Coolant Conditioner required for that car. If it's oil then you're hosed, replacement is the only option.

If you have it repaired - use the Subaru EJ25 Turbo headgaskets, those engines don't have HG issues and they are interchangeable on your engine.

if you can sell it for $1,000 - $1,500 less then it's worth then do it and don't worry about it. Why bother keeping it? Now is the time to sell - people are temporarily rich with tax returns and it's still winter and folks aren't traveling/paying for vacations. Now is the best time of year to sell a Subaru.

in general a car doesn't sell for "Value - repair costs". I buy a few Subaru's a year and it doesn't work like that unless the seller is lucky. If you're 'lucky' enough because it's a Subaru rich market then it's likely to sell it for more than what you thought it's worth to begin with.
This is really helpful information. I'm not positive if it's oil or coolant, but I seem to remember the mechanic mentioning it was an oil leak. What I DO know is that neither the oil level nor the coolant was low at the last maintenance, and I was actually overdue by more than 1k miles.

I'm leaning toward selling it anyway now, as the thought of a minivan has my wife pretty excited for getting our kids in and out of the sliding doors!

Any tips on selling a car with this issue? How to communicate it to a prospective buyer when I'm still trying to make sense of it and not entirely sure how long the head gaskets will continue to hold up? I don't plan on trading it in, I'll sell it myself.
 

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This is really helpful information. I'm not positive if it's oil or coolant, but I seem to remember the mechanic mentioning it was an oil leak. What I DO know is that neither the oil level nor the coolant was low at the last maintenance, and I was actually overdue by more than 1k miles.

I'm leaning toward selling it anyway now, as the thought of a minivan has my wife pretty excited for getting our kids in and out of the sliding doors!

Any tips on selling a car with this issue? How to communicate it to a prospective buyer when I'm still trying to make sense of it and not entirely sure how long the head gaskets will continue to hold up? I don't plan on trading it in, I'll sell it myself.
From what I've heard from friends is be honest because if you sell that car to a private buyer without mentioning the head gasket problem you may get sued. A private buyer may also ask to drive the car to a local mechanic for an inspection. Be prepared for that.

I'm having the exact same problem. One mechanic told me to simply "get rid of it" and another mechanic (that has worked on Subarus) told me he can do the gasket work, new water pump and timing belt for around $1400. Not sure if that's labor included, as well. I'm just not sure a car dealership will give me much of the blue book value and I don't want to be trapped in a new loan on a new car where my payments are higher.

Everyday I wake up it seems I change my mind. LOL

Good luck with your decision!
 
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