Some Advice Please - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: DFW Texas
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Car Year: 2003
Car Model: Forester XS
Transmission: 4EAT
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Some Advice Please

I have been looking for a nice safe car for my 16-year old new driver. I really like everything I have seen regarding the Subaru Forester and Outback. I have found what appears to be a nice 2003 Forester XS, albeit with high mileage! The car is a one-owner with 191,000 miles. It looks very well taken care of, cosmetically a 9+. The question is how many more miles are in her?

I understand that with this many miles the timing belt is coming due (if the first was completed on schedule) and that the head gaskets may be a potential problem. Is there anything else that I should be cautious of, or should I just pass on a car with this many miles.

Asking price is $5k. I would never have imagined that I would consider $5K for a 10 year old car with almost 200,000 miles! But it looks great and I see Foresters with 300K on their clocks.

Thanks for any and all assistance!


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 07:54 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Plymouth, Minnesota
Posts: 3,242
Car Year: 03
Car Model: Forester
Transmission: 5 MT
Feedback Score: 11 reviews
It has many more miles if well taken care of. Timing belt and all associated idlers, tensioners and water pump should be replaced. I Also suggest re sealing the oil pump and changing the crank and cam shaft seals at the same time as the timing belt-cheap, and easy, and you already have access to the seals with the timing belt off. If the headgaskets are bad too, do those at the same time.

Double check that the radiator isn't leaking or has cracks on the plastic endtanks of it. Those can fail occasionally at high miles.

Wheel bearings might be bad, but that generally was only the early generation forester (98-02).

Getting an inspection at a Subaru dealership or Subaru Independent shop will quickly reveal any problems with it. Not too much goes wrong on the forester....

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: DFW Texas
Posts: 2
Car Year: 2003
Car Model: Forester XS
Transmission: 4EAT
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Loscaldazar, thanks for the reply and advice. I will make an inspection a condition of the purchase. I am comfortable doing doing all of the mx you mentioned with the exception of the head gaskets. May also give me a chance to pass some of those skills to my son.

Thanks again, if I pick her up, I'll be sure and post a few pix.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 03:59 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: La Crosse area, Wisconsin
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Car Year: 12
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Based on what you describe, and the past longevity experience of many on the forum, my only gripe is the price.

'12 Forester, 5spd - hers
'08 Legacy SE, 5spd - hers
'09 OB SE, 5spd - mine
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