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2006 Outback 2.5 Limited 5MT
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I currently own a 2006 Outback, 5 speed manual in the limited trim. The car has 232,000 miles, I've owned it since 180,000. It's in need of a $1,500 a/c repair. I've already had the head gaskets done, timing belt, water pump, both front cv axles, the power steering pump, ball joints, and clutch replaced. The car has been throwing a P0420 catalytic converter code since 195,000 miles, but I just clear the code when it pops up once every month or two. I absolutely love this car, but it seems to be one problem after another. I've been shopping for a while now, and have decided I want a 2015+ Outback if I purchase a new (to me) car. I'm 21, in college, and can't decide on what to do at this point. Do I invest the additional $1,500 into my current Outback and hope it's trouble free for a while longer? Or do I go for a slightly used Outback with 30 or 40 thousand miles, where I will have to finance a majority of the vehicle. I'm not keen on financing a vehicle and losing the financial freedom being young and in college, but maybe it's the smarter decision..? Besides the mechanical problems, the interior and exterior of my Outback are in stunning condition for the car's age and mileage. Any suggestions?

Thanks, appreciate your time!
 

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2020 Outback Limited 2.5i
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59 Posts
I'd stick with the '06. You have already put a lot into it so you know what's been replaced. Any new model would have some unkowns and would probably need something. Unless you live in a state with inspections, the cat wouldn't need to be replaced. Also depending on where you live, one doesn't have to have a/c.
 

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I'd keep, though my mind is boggled at what in the a/c system costs $1500. Could be needing a new compressor plus maintenance. I'd replace that part from a junkyard.

The P0420 could be a myriad of issues discussed at length in other threads.

Your car does have value and it'd be a shame to lose another manual Subie. Rust is a consideration. If you do choose to replace it, please consider posting it in the classifieds so some wrench on here can play around with it for awhile.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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5,900 Posts
Repair it. You know this vehicle's history, and are in a good position to estimate its longevity remaining. Then ask yourself how many months worth of new car payments would get you to the $1,500 level, and if you think your 2006 would last at least that long, then it's worth it.

And look for a better deal on the A/C repair, as others have suggested.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5i Premium w/ Eyesight
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284 Posts
i'd say repair. You are in college adding college loans already, maybe? Getting a low mileage 2015+ is still going to be a big cost. Stay away from loans as much as you can in your life and you will be better off.
 
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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i 2003 Legacy L special edition (retired to backup)
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1,482 Posts
just from a safety pov i would get a newer car... that chassis design is a bit dated in terms of protection offered
 

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I’d second the idea of keeping the car and sourcing the AC part from a junkyard yourself and having an independent mechanic install it. I did that for my smart car (broken intake fan) and it saved me a ton. Not to mention salvage parts are a great option for smaller fixes you can do yourself while still in college and on a budget.
 

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Watched a couple videos and for about $500 I bought a new Denso compressor, dryer, manifold gauges, refrigerant and vacuum pump. Operation was a success. A functioning A/C system does more than just cooling. Besides keeping your date happy and cool on some days or nights the system keeps your windshield clear from fogging up which creates a driving hazard.
 

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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5 Premium
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515 Posts
Repair it or live without A/C if your in college and short funds, its not necessary to have for the vehicle to run
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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Unless I owned the car from new I would be looking for a new..er car.
 
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2006 Outback 2.5 Limited 5MT
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Discussion Starter #14
Hey everybody, just thought I'd post an update.

Thank you for all of the responses! Each one really helped me consider the different choices, and factors were brought up that I hadn't thought of before. I lived without a/c in the hot CA weather while deciding what option I should choose. Also worked extra hours for the past two months to save some cash. I recently had the system repaired, which consisted of a new compressor, condenser, evac/recharge, belt, etc. It was just over $1,400. I could've found a better deal, however I'm close with this independent Subie mechanic. They've done many things free of charge in the past when they could've ripped me off. Besides that, they stand by their work and are very honest. So for now, I'm thinking and hoping my current Outback will get me by for a little while longer. Even after test driving the newer Outbacks, (and Crosstreks) I realized that I still have love my current Outback. Plus, not having a car payment at this time in my life is probably a smarter choice. When it comes time to upgrade to a newer Subaru, I'll be sure to sell the car to someone who appreciates the vehicle. Alrighty think I've rambled enough haha.

Thanks again everyone.
 

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2004 Subaru Outback H6.30 35 anniversary edition
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Altho it is manual transmission which is a huge plus, I would get rid of it. At 230K miles there is not a whole lot of life left in it. Don't fall to sunk cost fallacy. If it feels like a chore to maintain, don't do it. Put your money towards next vehicle. And..... I would not recommend Subaru. Toyota Highlander, Honda CR-V (or 4Runner , Pilot) if you need "similar" car.

I have '04 rust bucket wagon with 234K miles. and I have been spending close to $1K/year on maintenance (and most importantly tons of my time which I can't get back) in the last 3 years and I am getting tired of that. Does not look like it is gonna make to 300K (my original goal). I look at my son's Civic LX 97, a 23 old car. It has/had zero issues by comparison. Just a tiny bit of rust. Granted nobody makes cars like they did in the last century... But my next car won't be a Subaru.
 
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