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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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47 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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5,687 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 newer 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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278 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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1,280 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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494 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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