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My wife has had her trusty Subaru for going in 13 years. We’ve ripped off more heat shields then an Apollo space craft had and done some basic work but otherwise it’s been a reliable car. However at 130k miles and 17 years old we are starting to think about balancing repair costs vs going for something new.

Two current issues:

clutch needs to be replaced, fair enough but has a cost.

also the head gasket has been leaking for a while. Not sure how long but certainly years. Haven’t had any overheating issues yet.

the mechanic today who my wife dealt with suggested replacing the clutch and oil pan for $1500 and leaving the gasket as is and that we could get another 1-2 years out of the car.

concern is that the gasket will progress faster than that and we will spend 1500 just to total the car in the next 6 months. I am sure it’s a bit of a gamble either way but looking for some advise!
 

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I always buy new cars, even though used cars are almost always a better decision if you know what to look for.

If you're the same way, then looking at the crop of available cars, is there something you want to live with for 10 years, or do you see cars coming down the pipeline (electric? Hybrid?) that you might prefer? Model Y? Rav4 Prime? It makes sense to pull the trigger now and get that new car if there's one you want - 2020 Outback CVT? Crosstrek with manual transmission? (btw next year the Crosstrek can be configured with a 2.5 liter engine as an option over the 2.0)

If you're a used car buyer, then it might make sense to do the repair and spend the next 1-2 years looking for a great used car.

To me the biggest risk is in buying a new car that you don't really want. Repairing a car that you still want to drive is not a bad idea, including changing the head gaskets, unless there's rust.
 

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2010 OB 2.5 limited (past: 2009 OB Special Edition; unknown late 70's-early 80's wagon
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If you
My wife has had her trusty Subaru for going in 13 years. We’ve ripped off more heat shields then an Apollo space craft had and done some basic work but otherwise it’s been a reliable car. However at 130k miles and 17 years old we are starting to think about balancing repair costs vs going for something new.

Two current issues:

clutch needs to be replaced, fair enough but has a cost.

also the head gasket has been leaking for a while. Not sure how long but certainly years. Haven’t had any overheating issues yet.

the mechanic today who my wife dealt with suggested replacing the clutch and oil pan for $1500 and leaving the gasket as is and that we could get another 1-2 years out of the car.

concern is that the gasket will progress faster than that and we will spend 1500 just to total the car in the next 6 months. I am sure it’s a bit of a gamble either way but looking for some advise!
If y"all are happy with the car, give a little TLC and keep it.
 

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I'd be sending it up the road.
 

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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5 Premium
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At 130k if you've done good maintaining it do the work including head gasket and not worry for a while. Save the money from the car payment and extra insurance a new car would run you. I always forget how much more insurance is on newer vehicles it rocks you more then the payment sometimes.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Keep it and follow your mechanic‘s advice. Even if you’re wrong about the HG longevity, $1500 for six more months is probably still ahead of a newer vehicle purchase.
 

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85BRAT97SVX03Baja5mtHonda's
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Oil pans use a tube of Permatex Ultra Grey, no gasket. tube of that is about 9 bucks, and about 15 10mm bolts hold it on.
The clutch disc and pressure plate run about 170 bucks.

WHY would you pay 1500 for all this. I would think a few shops would do it for 600 total including all parts and labor.
 

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I mention this in threads like yours. Here is one issue not many think about. Let sat you put the $1500 and it gets totaled, which for a 2003 Impreza with 130k miles wouldn't take much, you're out that money. In my area a basic KBB search says it's worth $2500.
Now think if that happens and you had blown 3k on repairing.
I say this because its exactly what happened to the 2011 Legacy we handed down to our son. Put 4k in it over last year and one small doe throw that all down the drain.
 

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If the head gasket is leaking oil then it is unlikely to ever have a catastrophic failure if you keep the oil topped up. If it is leaking coolant this may have a different outcome.

Replacing the clutch and keeping the car a couple of years has some merit and is the option I would probably take, but I replace the clutch myself so it is always cheaper than a shop price.

Seagrass
 

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I think you need to take it to another mechanic and get a second opinion about where the oil leak is coming from. Not sure I believe the oil pan is leaking. It could be the head gaskets are leaking and the mechanic thinks it's the oil pan. How often do the oil pans leak on Subarus' with that low of mileage? I think it's more likely the oil leak is coming from the head gaskets.
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i 2003 Legacy L special edition (retired to backup)
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keep it and fix everything that allows you to drive it longer.. save up your monies and then buy a newer used car...
 
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