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Hi all, I'm a total newbie to this forum and Subaru! I'm looking at a Forester (as mentioned in title) and feel as though it's above average price, according to Redbook/Carsguide etc. The Specs of the car are as follows, MY05, 156000kms, Auto, Luxury, Black, Immaculate condition (still yet to see it but it looks great in the pics), impeccable service history. It's being sold by a car dealer and he's asking $10990 drive away. I'll be trading in my old car and with that trade in it'll bring it down to $9000 drive away. Looking for any advice on if this is actually a great deal. Plus I like the convenience of just being able to trade in my old car.

Hope to hear from some of you guy's or girl's soon! Cheers.
 

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G'day & Welcome aboard @Gypsyboy11

Without having scanned local ads it seems a bit high to me. Is it the luxury model (leather seats & sunroof)? What warranty - as that may boost the price? Also your location can make a difference to price e.g. Sydney Vs Perth. I'd be thinking around A$8K
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited by Moderator)
Hi Kevin, thanks for the reply! it's the luxury with Leather (Beige) trim and sunroof. It's located in Brisbane and comes with a 1 month/1000km warranty and 2 months rego. I was thinking $8000-$8500 myself. He admittedly said it was expensive but justified by the condition and apparently knowing the previous owner. The convenience of just trading in my old car and not having to worry about a safety certificate seems almost worth the extra money.

Cheers
 

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Logbooks are available and all up to date. It's a non Subaru yard, I've done some research on them and they seem to be of quality.
 

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There's an XT on carsales that matches your description.

I think it's a great deal...for the dealer.

Sorry if the following seems pessimistic, but remember, $8-10k is on the line here for you.

You've buying
- a 15 y.o. car
- with only 2 months' rego left.
- you haven't seen it

Pictures are no indication of the actual condition. Furthermore interior/paintwork is no indication of mechanical condition.

Subarus can have some specific issues to be examined carefully.

Firstly, head gaskets. being a boxer there are two not one to replace and they can (do) go wrong. They have improved over the past, but at 15 yrs it's a candidate.

Secondly, drivetrain and tyres. The tyres must match or the AWD system can be damaged. A mismatched set of tyres is good enough reason to walk away (and disproves an immaculate services history). They must not only be matched for type, but wear level as well- differently worn tyres create different rolling diameters, which winds up the AWD drivetrain.

On the carsales car, the tyres on appear different, front to rear both in pattern/type and wear level. The steering wheel finish looks roached by the sun, there are different/replacement springs at the rear (yellow in side-on photo), you only get to see one side of the car, there appear to be drill holes in the centre console near the gear lever and the number plate is smudged out iinall photos...except one :)

Find out what engine it is and look up the common issues on them. Do the same for the actual car model/year. Check out comparable model/year asking prices online.

The warranty is at least a statutory one. Trying to hold them to it can be an issue. Make sure they don't try to excludes stuff during the sale. And they can't exclude it or charge you extra- it's a legal requirement, but note carefully the statutory exclusions. See here (Qld govt)..

Was it traded at that dealer? If not, it's been wholesaled- the original dealer didn't want it. It might even have been traded in because the previous owner was told to get rid of it due to an impending issue...

If you're looking to spend that much, you can afford a mechanical/vehicle inspection e.g. by NRMA/RACQ or another reputable mechanic. In my experience they will find far more in issues (which become bargaining points) than the cost of the inspection.

And remember: There's always another car for sale down the road...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
H
There's an XT on carsales that matches your description.

I think it's a great deal...for the dealer.

Sorry if the following seems pessimistic, but remember, $8-10k is on the line here for you.

You've buying
  • a 15 y.o. car
  • with only 2 months' rego left.
  • you haven't seen it
Pictures are no indication of the actual condition. Furthermore interior/paintwork is no indication of mechanical condition.

Subarus can have some specific issues to be examined carefully.

Firstly, head gaskets. being a boxer there are two not one to replace and they can (do) go wrong. They have improved over the past, but at 15 yrs it's a candidate.

Secondly, drivetrain and tyres. The tyres must match or the AWD system can be damaged. A mismatched set of tyres is good enough reason to walk away (and disproves an immaculate services history). They must not only be matched for type, but wear level as well- differently worn tyres create different rolling diameters, which winds up the AWD drivetrain.

On the carsales car, the tyres on appear different, front to rear both in pattern/type and wear level. The steering wheel finish looks roached by the sun, there are different/replacement springs at the rear (yellow in side-on photo), you only get to see one side of the car, there appear to be drill holes in the centre console near the gear lever and the number plate is smudged out iinall photos...except one :)

Find out what engine it is and look up the common issues on them. Do the same for the actual car model/year. Check out comparable model/year asking prices online.

The warranty is at least a statutory one. Trying to hold them to it can be an issue. Make sure they don't try to excludes stuff during the sale. And they can't exclude it or charge you extra- it's a legal requirement, but note carefully the statutory exclusions. See here (Qld govt)..

Was it traded at that dealer? If not, it's been wholesaled- the original dealer didn't want it. It might even have been traded in because the previous owner was told to get rid of it due to an impending issue...

If you're looking to spend that much, you can afford a mechanical/vehicle inspection e.g. by NRMA/RACQ or another reputable mechanic. In my experience they will find far more in issues (which become bargaining points) than the cost of the inspection.

And remember: There's always another car for sale down the road...

Hi Patrick!

Incredible research you've done! Very much appreciated. You have found the XT I'm referring to and just to note, I'm quite a pessimist myself so it all just sounds like my internal monologue, hence my questioning of the car. The dealer mentioned the mismatched tyres and I'm potentially going to use this as a bargaining tool I'm also currently enquiring about a pre purchase inspection. I've done a bit of research on the XT's and know all about their quirks this is why I'm so hesitant. Definitely in 2 minds about this car now. I'll keep you updated with how I get along.

Once again, thanks for your detailed response.
 

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H



Hi Patrick!

Incredible research you've done! Very much appreciated. You have found the XT I'm referring to and just to note, I'm quite a pessimist myself so it all just sounds like my internal monologue, hence my questioning of the car. The dealer mentioned the mismatched tyres and I'm potentially going to use this as a bargaining tool I'm also currently enquiring about a pre purchase inspection. I've done a bit of research on the XT's and know all about their quirks this is why I'm so hesitant. Definitely in 2 minds about this car now. I'll keep you updated with how I get along.

Once again, thanks for your detailed response.


Seeing as that you've done such a great job on the other, would you mind checking this one out? The pics aren't so clear in this one. I could potentially get them down to $9500 judging from our brief conversations. The Pros with this one for me is that it's a manual and 2 years younger but the Cons are I'll be stuck with my old car which might take a bit to get rid of and that this Forester has 17000 more kms on the odometer. Thanks in advance Patrick.
 

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You have found the XT I'm referring to and just to note, I'm quite a pessimist myself so it all just sounds like my internal monologue, hence my questioning of the car....I've done a bit of research on the XT's and know all about their quirks this is why I'm so hesitant. Definitely in 2 minds about this car now. I'll keep you updated with how I get along.
Never mind the pessimism, 2 minds or internal monologue or you'll never buy a used car! :)

Just be inquisitive...and now put your inquisitiveness to the test and go inspect it. It's good you know the common faults. See if anything I said was true & see what else you can spot- I'll bet you say, "well, they didn't show THAT in the pictures" at least once. In particular look under the car and in the engine bay. See what you can tell from the condition. The more you do this, the quicker you'll spot things on other cars. And it's easy- practice in the street on every car you walk past.

From the handbook photos +rego you can go back to that dealer and ask them about the car's history. As they're not involved they may tell you something interesting e.g. traded in good condition, or maybe gotten rid of 'cos e.g. head gasket or transmission was on its way out, etc.

Tyres can be a good indicator of the previous owner and their level of care. Tyres are black, round, ugly and wear out far too quickly for most people's liking so tyres are often one of the first items (apart from basic maintenance) to be scrimped upon by people who don't care. But people who do care will still fit premium, matching tyres.
- a set of 4 worn out mismatched tyres means cheap (if any) maintenance
- a set of 4 cheap low profiles/sports means the car has been thrashed and probably suffered a lack of maintenance
- a set of 4 expensive performance tyres means the car has been hard driven but probably maintained
- a set of 4 premium non-sport tyres (e.g. Yokohamas, Michelins, Continentals, etc) are likely matched and mean the car has been likely looked after by a conservative driver
- a set of 4 matched basic tyres means basic maintenance has probably been done
- a set of 4 new tyres (usually cheapies) means the dealer needed to fit them for roadworthy, this may disguise any prior issues or suspension problems (like bad wear patterns).

Now some good things about the car...the headlamps weren't faded/yelllowed. Taillights appeared all OK. Low klms. Two keys. OEM radio is often a good sign of a conservative driver.

Another thing I spotted: RHS front mud/deflector in front of front wheel is dislodged.

Now if it's a Peugeot/Euro dealer (posters, Peugeot in the background of one pic) they'll want it off the lot. So if you test drive it and like it then be prepared to make them an offer...you may be surprised how much they'll move. Ask them their best "buy it now" price and be prepared to offer them lower. I'd expect to start somewhere around $6-6.5k and don't go too much higher than say $7.5k and then be prepared to politely decline, thank them, give them your phone number and tell them the offer stands until 5pm today or you buy another car, whichever comes first...and walk out the door. You may be surprised- they should at least come back with a counter-offer. Dealers don't like seeing money walk out the door esp. on a vehicle they don't want- my brother did exactly this on a near-new VW that a Subaru delaer simply didn't want on his lot.


Seeing as that you've done such a great job on the other, would you mind checking this one out? The pics aren't so clear in this one. I could potentially get them down to $9500 judging from our brief conversations. The Pros with this one for me is that it's a manual and 2 years younger but the Cons are I'll be stuck with my old car which might take a bit to get rid of and that this Forester has 17000 more kms on the odometer. Thanks in advance Patrick.
Harrumph! I'm not a car inspection service! ;)

I don't like this one as much: It's a private sale (no warranty), higher klms, asking more. You'll need to check title and encumbrance (any money owing). The description seems taken from a brochure...or from a dealer who may be trying to sell the car privately. Rear tint likely illegal (at least in NSW/ACT). Driver seat damaged at front edge (look at steering wheel photo) and discoloured. Centre rear seatbelt not threaded through locator. Rear seat looks well used. Headlights appear yellowed somewhat.
 

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The owner of the second is an older person who's owned it since new and my preference is the black one also.

When you say to not offer more then $7500, do you mean with or without the trade in?

Thank you again for your time, Patrick.
 

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Firstly there is an old adage that I think still applies: "Buy on condition, not age."

Note if you can accept a non-turbo you can basically halve the price for the same klms but it might be a private sale.

The owner of the second is an older person who's owned it since new...
That's usually a good sign. A manual kept for that long will have likely have been looked after- by a sympathetic driver and they would not keep it unless it was OK. However, as a result the owner may tend to overvalue the car vs the market value as that's what it is worth to him. ANd they can be a bit blind as to the car's faults, having learnt to live with them. (oops, sounds like me!)

I think it's a good 'backup' or 2nd choice candidate- go have a look and keep it in mind. Your negotiation point here is there's a cheaper one in a dealer with less klms, better interior and auto.

I'd look at both and decide which one to get a mechanical inspection on BEFORE you make an offer. Even better if you have a mechanic mate and he can look at both- a carton of beer or two is cheaper than a paid mechanical inspection!

When you say to not offer more then $7500, do you mean with or without the trade in?
I'd try without trade-in- it's always easier to negotiate and figure out prices/values. Esp. if your old car is in OK running condition with some rego and you think you could hock it fairly quickly for say $1k+ (bet you could down here in Canberra with the hail damage write-offs). Talk to mates about someone who may want a runaround or kid needs a reliable car to start, put an ad up at work, in local backpackers, then Gumtree, etc.

My only other worry with the dealer car may be the auto trannie worked by a turbo engine may be on the way out. In the meantime with your 'backup in your pocket' you could honestly negotiate and walk out saying you have another vehicle to inspect/make an offer on... :)

Good luck!
 

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Firstly there is an old adage that I think still applies: "Buy on condition, not age."

Note if you can accept a non-turbo you can basically halve the price for the same klms but it might be a private sale.


That's usually a good sign. A manual kept for that long will have likely have been looked after- by a sympathetic driver and they would not keep it unless it was OK. However, as a result the owner may tend to overvalue the car vs the market value as that's what it is worth to him. ANd they can be a bit blind as to the car's faults, having learnt to live with them. (oops, sounds like me!)

I think it's a good 'backup' or 2nd choice candidate- go have a look and keep it in mind. Your negotiation point here is there's a cheaper one in a dealer with less klms, better interior and auto.

I'd look at both and decide which one to get a mechanical inspection on BEFORE you make an offer. Even better if you have a mechanic mate and he can look at both- a carton of beer or two is cheaper than a paid mechanical inspection!


I'd try without trade-in- it's always easier to negotiate and figure out prices/values. Esp. if your old car is in OK running condition with some rego and you think you could hock it fairly quickly for say $1k+ (bet you could down here in Canberra with the hail damage write-offs). Talk to mates about someone who may want a runaround or kid needs a reliable car to start, put an ad up at work, in local backpackers, then Gumtree, etc.

My only other worry with the dealer car may be the auto trannie worked by a turbo engine may be on the way out. In the meantime with your 'backup in your pocket' you could honestly negotiate and walk out saying you have another vehicle to inspect/make an offer on... :)

Good luck!
Hi Patrick,

I've checked both of them out today and the pick of the bunch is the Black '05. You were right about the yellowing of the headlights, faint but still there, seats had signs of wear too but the thing I didn't like much about it at all was the way it drove. Heavy clutch and didn't really seem to have that much balls. Quite underwhelming really.

The Black Auto on the other hand, drove great. The steering wheel is actually in perfect condition, it was just the lighting of the shot and those weren't drill marks, they're almost little burn marks but something I can easily look over, purely cosmetic. The tyres are also mismatched, but practically brand new and the tread pattern is similar, also the front and rear coils are different, one set yellow one set black. The service history is spot on, 19 services since new and serviced by the same mechanic for the past 9 years.

The dealer won't budge much, he's pretty stern on $9000 drive away with my trade in. My car is dying so I'm pretty stoked to just get that off. A pre purchase inspection will most probably happen tomorrow just for a bit of piece of mind. Hearing all this, what are your thoughts?
 

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It's great you've checked both out- and found out what you can't see in a photo! The main thing is you seem to have found a good 'un.

Couple of thoughts:
  • I had a thought it might just be the lighting on the steering wheel so that's good.
  • Another thought I had is that the yellow coils at the rear may mean the rear self-levelling suspension (if fitted, likely I think) has been replaced. This is good otherwise you'd have to do it yourself sometime (I believe self-levelling vs normal have different springs/ spring rates).
If pre-purchase inspection is Ok then you may be on a good one. Getting rid of the dying car is fine too, solves a problem for you.

As for price? That's up to you! But if you/re happy and got what you want then it's both value and money well spent, no matter the actual dollar value.

Don't forget you'll have to pay the rego transfer/stamp duty plus insurance and rego also pretty soon. Perhaps try and knock $500 off for the low rego left.

Keep in mind if you wish to daily-drive it, it's starting out 15 years old (and 15+k km) so expect things to happen (e.g. rubber parts perishing, A/C regas, P/Steer, radiator, CV joints/boots, brakes, etc). Don't forget it takes PULP and apparently drinks like an old school V8 around town (going by quoted fuel figures). It's almost better off as a weekend toy.

Good luck and let us know the outcome!
 

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I've taken all the age related stuff into account and I'm prepared to deal with it accordingly. The $9000 includes the stamp duty so it's really around $8500 - $8600.

My only major concern is still the tyres being mismatched. I've read that being an auto it's not that much of a problem as it's a 90-10 split of power between the front and back, obviously still not ideal though, whereas manual is 50-50. Is there any merit to this? My OCD side will probably want them changed regardless, I've always hated different branded tyres!

Thanks again Patrick, you've definitely made me open my eyes to a few things.
 
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