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Discussion Starter #1
I bought my first car in August, a 2012 Forester with 113k miles, new tires, and every possible problem. If a system contains oil, my Forester is probably leaking from that system. To fix everything, I will have to pay for the car twice, and even then I'm sure something else will go wrong. This car will be the source of financial insecurity for me for the next couple of years, so the faster I can get rid of it, the better off I'll be.

That said, I like the idea of the Forester. I like the AWD for driving in snow, I like the room in the back to sleep, and I'm still convinced that these cars can be reliable. I would like to move on to a newer model, not brand new, but something '17 on. Is there anything I should know or look for when buying a lightly used 4th or 5th generation Forester? I would like a sunroof, but the more modern creature comforts aren't too important for me.
 

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2000 Forester 4eat
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100 Posts
I believe the 2018 has a number of one year only stuff. If you find a 2017 get one that the original sale date has not exceeded 3 years or 36k miles and get the subaru gold plus warranty.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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102 Posts
At seven years of age and with average mileage, your Forester should have lots of life left in it yet and if you don't want the new tech there is very little point in changing vehicles. Not to be insulting but it does not sound like you actually know what the issues are with the vehicle and that you are letting uncertainty and fear of the unknown take over. What you are proposing is a lot more expensive than having the car properly inspected and then repairing what is needed. Find a good independent mechanic, and discuss options and you will save a lot of money and headache as compared to going to the dealer for everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
... but it does not sound like you actually know what the issues are with the vehicle and that you are letting uncertainty and fear of the unknown take over.
I've found a great independent mechanic who has been very helpful and forthcoming with the issues, here's a short list.

Fixed
Engine head gaskets leaking: Whoever replaced the head gaskets last didn't allow proper time for the gaskets to warm up and expand. While I drove it, the previous gasket got partially sucked into the cylinder head. Thankfully the head wasn't damaged but it took some work to wiggle the old gasket out. New head gaskets and old head gasket repair P&L-$3500

Front control arm bushings: I fixed this myself, it only cost an afternoon and a 6 pack for my friends

Not Fixed
Leaking from the front diff-transmission interface: Transmission and diff need to be resealed. As my mechanic has explained to me, if you take the transmission off to replace the seals then it makes sense to rebuild the transmission at the same time. Best case P&L -$3000

Leaking from the power steering rack: New power steering rack P&L -$1700

There was a time where I thought this car had good bones, but I'm not in a position to spend nearly 5k on a car without any guarantee that I won't run into more problems.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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102 Posts
I don't know. I would get a second opinion as that all seems extremely pricey. For the power steering, are you sure it's not leaking from a hose or connection? If its internal seals I would try something like Lucas stop leak for power steering systems
https://www.amazon.ca/Lucas-10008-Power-Steering-12-Ounce/dp/B000ARPVNO/ref=sr_1_1?gclid=CjwKCAiArJjvBRACEiwA-Wiqq1hgqnY3CR-Sjo6H5xgnmJpF6R0xyTcwwrvvi3flzgtE_B-h8gN7QRoCnW8QAvD_BwE&hvadid=208316426329&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=1002554&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=7686699875139530506&hvtargid=kwd-320379849554&hydadcr=544_10212487&keywords=lucas+power+steering+stop+leak&qid=1575390550&sr=8-1

As for the transmission, why would you want to rebuild it if it hasn't had issues? I suspect your problems is something like the following
And looking at RockAuto you can get a replacement power steering rack for a 2012 for around $400 US

Good luck. Its a real pain in the butt when you are facing uncertain repair costs, but I usually find you can save a lot of money if you don't panic and do some research.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Pricing for the power steering replacement is from the dealer, so I assume my mechanic might be a bit cheaper but still in the ballpark. When I crawl under the car the oil is clearly leaking out of several different points in the power steering system, which back ups the failure of an internal seal. If I want to get a decent life out of this car, then leak stop is just kicking the problem further down the road.

Transmission fluid is also clearly leaking from both sealed faces of the trans and from the face seal with the diff. Again if I'm paying the labor to remove the trans I might as well get the rebuild to keep the transmission in decent shape for the rest of the supposed life of the car.

I've done my research. It really comes down to putting 80% of price I paid into to getting a car that maybe runs reliably for another 3-4 years. Or maybe an additional 50% and 4 of my weekends fixing the car myself, but personally I'd rather spend my free time using my car instead of fixing it.
 

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2010 Forester Automatic 4sp
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32 Posts
I don't know where you are and how did you buy it, but I drive a 2010 Forester premium right now, original owner.
It is 10yo, 152k and have no major issues.
Nothing leaking.
I just recently had both dif drain and fill, as well as transmission drain and fill. That is after 10 years OEM.
My guess the previous owner abused it to hell and found gullible you to take it off his hands. Sorry.
 
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