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Old 12-26-2006, 09:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Question about repair costs

Hi guys!

I'm new to the group and have been dying to ask you guys some questions.

I've been wanting to replace my '93 Buick LeSabre for the past year and a half but now the husband and I are serious about it as this lovely Buick is in the shop yet again and we need a safer car since I just gave birth to our 1st born 2 months ago.

Subarus are my top pick, the Forester being my ideal buy. I just passed up what I thought was a great deal locally because 2 mechanics told me that subarus are expensive to fix because parts are hard to find.

I'm in Southern California so I don't need awd, they say. Sure I drive like an old woman, but I think the awd will still be beneficial in the rain.

So, long story short, how do subarus compare in repair cost to toyotas, hondas and '93 buicks?

4 Struts on my Buick was $600 to replace. An ABS part was $1000 but my brother did it himself for $550. I forget what my Buick is getting worked on now but it's costing me $300 for that (the part is $85 and rest is labor-wow).

The awd on subarus are the best or one of the best, but it needs repair, how expensive would that be?

Also, do you guys know of a good subaru shop in Orange County in case I do see a forester of my dreams to buy?

Thanks!
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome! AWD will benefit you not only in wet weather, but also on perfectly dry roads, so regardless of location the Forester will be a good choice that you won't regret!

As far as repair costs are concerned, I think labor rates are similar throughout the industry, regardless of marque. Parts however can be slightly more costly for the Subies. This is because Subaru is still a niche manufacturer and their market is much smaller than the market for Honda, Toyota, or any domestic brand.

On the other hand, Subarus have an excellent reputation for reliability (this is what brought me to Subarus in the first place), so you will find that you won't have to spend NEARLY as much money on repairs, even if you keep your Subie for many years. Given that you keep on top of routine maintenance, of course!

Also, a lot of the maintenance items are easy enough to DIY, for example oil changes. You can save quite a bit of money that way and it won't have any effect your warranty.

One thing to be aware of with AWD cars, however, is the tire issue. If you happen to get a blow-out, you can't just replace one tire and call it a day, or the AWD system will suffer damage. It's a must to replace the full set, unless you can get the tire repaired.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Like anything else, your repair costs are going to be directly related to the amount of maintenance you do for the car. Having a 13 year-old Buick means you're probably no stranger to regular maintenance so that bodes well for the future of the Subaru. Maintenance seems to be pretty user-friendly, so if you and the husband aren't afraid to get a little grease under your nails every once in a while, you can save a bunch of money without back-breaking effort. And this board is super helpful when you have questions about those sorts of things.

As for parts not being available... I dunno specifically about California but there's a huge import scene there and I would think they've got a nice local supply, plus there are at least three dealership-based parts vendors on this board who you can contact to get what you need should your local guys not have the part in question. This link has threads with reviews and contact info: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulle...splay.php?f=86

You may want to read through the Maintenance and Repair subforum (http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulle...splay.php?f=88) to get a feel for the stuff that breaks. From what I've seen, there aren't any fatal flaws with this car as far as reliablity goes. From my own experience, my only warranty visit in 65000 miles was for a tweak to the computer programming to fix a small problem on the cruise control system.

Good luck with your decision, and feel free to ask around this place. You'll find that most gripes with the car are nitpicks and wish-list items.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome Pokadots

Back in October of this year, the Wife told me her '97 Buick LeSabre was running really rough, so I took it to the Buick dealer. To make a long story short, the engine had a blown headgasket and the cost to repair it was more than what the car was worth. We started to look for a new vehicle and ended up over on their Subaru lot (they have a Subaru dealership)

We ended up getting her an '06 Impreza and I bought an '06 Forester. Got them for a good price since it was a year end clearance sale. Now we are two satisfied Subaru owners and very happy with the vehicles! If you test drive the Forester, you will buy it. They are superb driving and handling little wagons. There will probably be a little more road noise than you were used to in the Buick. I hardly notice the difference anymore.

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Old 12-26-2006, 10:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Like Silke said, the labour is pretty much the same (in the same area, CA seems to be about $105 hr)

To save on parts check with the vendors on the board here, we will be more than happy to accomodate.

Greg (Roo / MarinSubaru) is located in CA so shipping would probably be less than from myself (MI) or Jackie (Subarupartsgirl Annapolis Subaru, MD)

Welcome to the boards, hopefully we can get you into a Suby soon :)
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Old 12-26-2006, 11:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies.

Unfortunately, I won't be getting a brand new SF. The car I passed up was a '02 forester with about 75k miles and he was only asking $9k! I still salivate over that deal...

My husband wants me to get an '03 because of the upgrades made that year (side air bags). I think an '02 w/o side air bags is safe also and the price on that '02 forester is so great! Darn...

I don't mind getting my hands dirty. My brother, a diesel mechanic, showed me how to do oil changes so I can do that. I don't though because I'm scared of jacking up cars (and having one fall on me) but did I read somewhere that the oil cap on the forester is very easy to get to? I don't want to bother my brother with my car problems but I would get greased up if I felt confident.

My friends, who bought their '94 legacy with 145k miles on it, haven't had any problems with their car and it's got over 175k now. They've only had to do routine maintanence. My friend did mention that all 4 tires have to be replaced because of the awd. Thanks for reminding me about that.

My husband's co-worker, who is leasing his legacy, says he's done 70mph on curves and the car was very stable. That's pretty crazy to do even if subaru claims you can go that fast on curves.

I'm still thinking of that '02 forester with 75k miles. I can afford $9k.

Husband says we should spend a little more and get an '03. There was one in San Diego with only 42k with 11k asking price but it got sold.

My only concern about the '02 with 75k is whether the previous owners took care of the car. I am always on top of my maintenance repairs though I do change oil every 3k (not every 5k or so as you guys talk about).
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Old 12-26-2006, 11:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Never had any issues finding parts yet. Service costs at an independent have been reasonable considering the price of the car.

Have the car checked out by a shop before you buy. Cheap insurance.

Check out Suby Specialties in Monrovia 626/358-4235 worth the drive.
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Old 12-26-2006, 11:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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yes, insurance on sf is cheap!

I called geico, my provider, and was surprised that this '02 forester is only $9 more to insure compared to my '93 buick.

I asked why it was sooo cheap even though I would be upgrading cars and they said it was probably safety features of the subaru.

Yes, the subarus do have high safety ratings...

I'll keep Suby Specialties in Monrovia in mind when I get my forester.

thanks.
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Old 12-26-2006, 11:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Good news on the low rate though I meant having the car checked out beforehand is cheap insurance.
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Old 12-26-2006, 12:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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oh, okay, cheap insurance, ha, ha.

i would bring my brother or my husband's cousin who is also a mechanic (even though he doesn't think a subi is a good choice for us because of repair cost).

i'm sure i'll be spending more repairing the buick than getting a used subaru.

i love my lesabre. it's served me well in hauling furniture home but it's getting old and i need a real car that's got cargo space.
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Old 12-26-2006, 12:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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As far as service costs, I'm thinking more from the newer car standpoint. I'm at 60k miles and haven't had to spend much on maintenance. Modding is a different downward spiral...I can see where on an older car the AWD components could start to get pretty expensive if a lot of service or replacement comes into play.

I won't comment on the Buick as I've never owned one but the Subie is more about what you're driving than how much it costs to repair it.
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Old 12-26-2006, 01:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The subaru is actually pretty cheap for repairs, and parts are no more difficult to get than any other brand. The only place where you'll see high costs are regular maintenance at a dealership. I currently have about 65000 on my 04 FXT and the only thing I've spent money on is a new battery and regular maintenence items. Compared to past turbo cars my family has owned this is incredibly cheap. We had a saab turbo in the past which cost us over 5,000$ in repairs over its 3 year life.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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thanks for all your replies.

got my buick back and after $300 repair on the lower and upper intake something (manifold gasket?), she runs like a beauty. problem is, i know something else will break down with another high price tag.

i just don't want the same thing in a subaru but after talking to more people and hearing from you guys, i feel a lot better.

my subaru won't be new, unfortunately. it'll probably have 50k or less miles on it and i'm hoping the car's been cared for well.

don't mind regular maintenance at all and not planning on getting turbo or sunroof or moonroof on it to keep repairs low.

thanks for your help and i'll keep reading the posts and will let you know when i get a forester.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokadots View Post
My husband wants me to get an '03 because of the upgrades made that year (side air bags). I think an '02 w/o side air bags is safe also and the price on that '02 forester is so great! Darn...
Welcome!

There were also engine changes in 2003 that made it less susceptable to head gasket problems.

I've got about 97k miles on my 2003 and the only problem it had was a bad catalytic converter that was replaced under the 8/80 warranty. The R in Subaru stands for Reliability!

I second the suggestion regarding buying parts from the vendors who help sponsor this forum. There are good deals to be had there. eBay is also a source, and there are other vendors who sell directly on the Web. Many are actual dealers who do discount business on the Web under a different name.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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When I bought my99L a little over 2 years ago, it had 82,xxx miles. Now has 154,xxx. Just normal maintenance and timing belt at 100,000.
Frequent oil changes and the Suby sits high enough no need to jack up for the oil changes. Safety of the Forester would be a good thing with your newborn.
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