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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, quick question for the experts on this forum. Recently purchased a 2011 Forester 2.5xt from a local dealer that my family has known and trusted for years. Had it about a month when we took it for state inspection. The inspection revealed many issues (car failed big time), but most significant was oil in the coolant which speaks to a possible gasket issue. the dealer was highly apologetic and wants to make it right. They acknowledged that they screwed up in not giving the car a good inspection when they sold it to me.

To cut a long story short, they have offered to buy the car back from me for the price I purchased it for OR install a new motor with one year warranty (unsure if the motor is truly “new” or used with the warranty - maybe it doesn’t matter that much?). The car has 130k miles and body is in great shape. The dealer seems to be ok with buying it back because I believe that they think they can resell it at the same price with the new motor. What would you do in my shoes? Other questions I should be asking the dealer before deciding? Appreciate any advice.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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Well, the question is really do you want the car? That's the question.

If you want the car - make sure that it is truly a new motor and not some junkyard boxer that may or may not be good. Even if they rebuild the motor, make sure they're using new parts and not just slapping a head gasket in and putting it all back together.

But - again - it comes down to what you want. Obviously this Forester had some interest to you or you wouldn't have bought it in the first place. But if the Forester doesn't mean all that much to you - then walk away, get your money back and find something else.

Know that with any used car (almost 10 years old, 130K miles) you will have issues now and possibly in the near future. But if they're willing to fix it and make it right, give them the chance, as long as the car is one you want and will want to drive.
 

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Take the car with the "new" engine its is likely remanufactured which makes it "new"
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi - thanks both for the responses. Yes, indeed it is a car that we wanted to buy - fits our needs well, and the price was reasonable (about 8200). We aren’t using it for commuting, mostly just weekend errands. I will check on the motor and its parts to ensure they are “new” although as a non mechanic it’s mostly my word against theirs. I may have them write me an email to have in writing the work they performed. As the car is already registered (although failed inspection) we have put a fair amount of time in already. Best course of action would be to keep it and if we get 5 years out of it (again, not driving everyday) then I think I’ll be happy.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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Here’s another opinion, for what it’s worth...

While it appears the dealership is attempting to be “stand-up” and dping the right thing, in the end you’re still getting a 10 year old vehicle, and very few 10 year old vehicles stay trouble-free for any extended lengths of time. ALL moving parts, as well as electronics, has lifespans... and some of these components can be quite expensive to repair/replace. Even with a completely new engine, you’ll still be driving on a transmission and suspension with 130K miles on the clock.

Not an attempt to dissuade you from keeping the vehicle and getting it repaired, but just a reminder that even if the dealership does a class ‘A‘ job going over the vehicle, there are likely things that won’t be addressed (ie., worn brake pads/rotors that will need replacing in a few thousand miles, as a lower costing example... drive train components can be, and usually are, far more expensive).

Personally, I think this has the potential to be a great vehicle for one that has the willingness and technical capability to do much of the repair work on their own, but I’d be hesitant to recommend it to repair-shop-dependent purchaser.

If you do select to retain the vehicle, then I’d suggest you create a repair “reserve fund” to deal with any unexpected breakdowns/failures. If you never need it, then it’s just more money in your pocket.
 

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I am a little confused. The dealer sounds great and doing the right thing. However, how did a great dealer sell a car that needed so much to pass inspection. Sound like two opposite extremes.

Confirm that they are a good dealer and this was one that fell through the cracks. Check them out on BBB and various review sites. If you find people with similar complaints - take the money and run. Check out the Carfax for your car. If the history is bad - run.

If everything checks out, a rebuilt engine could be a great deal.
 

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'14 Forester XT Touring
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I am a little confused. The dealer sounds great and doing the right thing. However, how did a great dealer sell a car that needed so much to pass inspection. Sound like two opposite extremes.

Confirm that they are a good dealer and this was one that fell through the cracks. Check them out on BBB and various review sites. If you find people with similar complaints - take the money and run. Check out the Carfax for your car. If the history is bad - run.

If everything checks out, a rebuilt engine could be a great deal.
Well, believe it or not XT's are in huge demand. Chances are they got it in as a trade-in, and with in a week it was sold.
That's pretty much my story on my '14 XT. It was the right price for my budget and it was only on the dealer lot for less than 2 weeks before I bought it.

But as to not de-rail the original topic, If it was me I'll let the dealer put a new engine in it. If it is not going to cost me anything and they will pay for it, why not? Dealer warranty on a 10 year old car, not a bad deal if you ask me.
Now...if I had to pay for even half if it, I would just sell the car back to them.
 

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plus it's the once in a lifetime chance to be the king of the block. i just don't see them around here anymore. when that garage door open and she starts it's going to be: da dum dum, going to a party in the county jail, da dum dum lol
 

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Well, believe it or not XT's are in huge demand. Chances are they got it in as a trade-in, and with in a week it was sold.
That's pretty much my story on my '14 XT. It was the right price for my budget and it was only on the dealer lot for less than 2 weeks before I bought it.

But as to not de-rail the original topic, If it was me I'll let the dealer put a new engine in it. If it is not going to cost me anything and they will pay for it, why not? Dealer warranty on a 10 year old car, not a bad deal if you ask me.
Now...if I had to pay for even half if it, I would just sell the car back to them.
Well, that 1 year warranty is for the engine alone. As has been pointed out, that’s hardly the only item to cause serious expense(s) on a 10 year old vehicle.

@SubaruSpouse gave an excellent analysis of how to approach the issue. If the deal is “buy now or never”, sometimes it pays to select the “never” option. Always go into a multi-$1000 deal with a clear mind, or you’re likely gonna get a huge (and probably expensive) disappointment at some point
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everyone for the helpful additional comments. The car was purchased at an auction and the dealer resold it. This is their car sales strategy - buying in southern states where there are fewer rust issues and driving the vehicles northward to sell where there’s high demand for AWD.

I don’t think there was anything in the history of the car that was problematic but of course you never know how the prior owner treated it. The business was recently sold to a new owner, but the mechanics remained. This may account for the lapse in quality in getting this vehicle ready for the sale.

im still on the fence as the dealer seems keen to “make it right” and the reputational issue is real is they are in a small town where the word can get out and spread fast that their standards are slipping. I’m going to call them again and get into the specifics of what type of warranty they can offer.
 

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Just remember the disclaimer every financial investment offer includes...

”Past performance does not guarantee future results”. There seems to be a lot of unknowns here, so I’d advise proceeding with great caution...

Good Luck in whatever you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi All - update on this thread. After the dealer installed the new motor, they drove it around for a few days to ensure all the kinks were out. They then offered to drop the car off at my house, which is about 4 hours from the dealer. Nice of them to do this but remember I was without my car for about 3 weeks, so a considerable hassle.

Anyway, on the drive down the dealer tried to get the heater working but no luck. It’s summer so I never tried the heater, but he realized this for whatever reason. He stopped on the way down at a Subaru dealer to fix a hose which was apparently kinked and was preventing the heat from getting through. Ok, fine. Another issue but allegedly resolved. (Note the Subaru dealer didn’t do the work, but the mechanic dropping the car off at my house did...had to open up the dash to address it).

So then I have the vehicle back in my possession earlier this week and use it to do some errands around town - no more than fifty miles total since they returned the car to me. Today I get the “check engine”, “traction control”, flashing green cruise control signals!!

I’ve read this is a common signal that people get but it’s crazy as they had been Closely monitoring this car oveR the last several weeks especially as they installed a new motor. As soon as I take possession this issue flares up. I read it can be a gas cap but also possibly any number or other issues.

kind of at my wits end...will talk to the dealer about it tomorrow. :(
 

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I had a 2011 with the original engine, was using one quart of oil about every 3,200 miles, not great but livable. At 140,000 miles, things began to fall apart.

Of course the heat shields had to be clamped because the bolt holes rusted out. Then an ignition coil went bad and I barely made it to my service station. Friends of mine said that when one goes bad, the other 3 will eventually follow. Then a rear wheel bearing had to be replaced as well as front brake pads. All of these repairs plus a rental car put me back almost $1,000.

Here's the clincher. I was not going to throw good money after bad so I went shopping for a new car. A dealer had a pristine 2019 XV that I really wanted to move to. As my wife and I were pulling into the lot, I swear the left front hub was totally breaking down. Fortunately they gave me $5,000 towards purchasing the Crosstrek.

I realize that many people here have had great luck with this model Forester, even racking up thousands of miles with few major problems. Some have had success with the short-block replacement while others didn't.

My experience may help you out in that when major repairs start happening one right after another, it may be time for an upgrade. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my Forester for the short time I owned it, but its age was rapidly catching up to it.
Good luck!
 

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Forester 777, you do realize that wheel bearings and suspension bushings at 9 years of age are wear items. $1000 in repairs to fix it is nothing, and heck the dealer thought it was still worth 5K to them, and the person they sell it to will probably pay closer to 8K.
Did your oil consumption change dramatically? I am curious what you paid for the Crosstrek and why it over another Forester?
 

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My last car prior to the Forester was a CR-V, it had 185,000 miles with all 4 original bearings. Do older Subarus have problems getting to 200,000 miles without replacing hubs?
Oil consumption stayed at the rate I stated as long as I had the car.
All used cars are selling at inflated prices because the economy was basically stalled for months with the pandemic. You are correct, the dealer will replace the hub and sell it for 8k.
I'm happy that $1,000 in repairs is "nothing" to you. I am not a mechanic and rely on the dealer to fix my vehicles. It was the only car I owned so down-time to replace another bearing was the cost of it plus a rental car for 1 or 2 days.
I was looking for another Subaru and hoped that a 2018 or 2019 was engineered better than those from a decade ago. With 16,000 miles on the Crosstrek plus remaining original 36/36 warranty plus purchased extra 5-year warranty on everything plus electronics, I am covered for most repairs going forward 7 years. Safety features like Eyesight are fantastic
 

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Well, that does say something about Honda bearings and some good luck with avoiding potholes. My Nissan X trail by way of comparison had me replacing all the wheel bearings by 160,000 km and a couple of them required replacing again before I sold it at 240,000. The harsh winters and the use of lots of salt on the roads contribute to them failing here.

And a 1000 dollar repair is not nothing to me but compared to the replacement cost of something new that is close to equivalent it's a fraction. Still, it sounds like you got a deal and a car that you are happy with and that is the main thing. So congrats and I hope it gives you a number of years of good service. I also hope the person who eventually buys your former 2011 gets to pass it on to another after a number of years. :)
 
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