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I am looking to get a Forester X soon (the basic model) and while my budget says used my heart says new. If I go used I would like to get something about 3 years old or less. Bu two things tell me to go new: 1) I keep hearing about head gasket problems on older model; and 2) these cars don't seem to depreciate all that much.

It seems that someone who gets rid of their car after a couple of years (as with a leased car) won't necessarily treat it all that well because they aren't planning to keep it for the long term, and so I am not sure whether I should just cough up the cash and go new.

So my question to the forum is, generally, what should I look for or avoid in a 2 or 3 year old used Forester -- especially about the head gasket problem? And is the cost differential worth going with a new one? Thanks in advance.
 

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the headgasket problem was mostly with the DOHC, 98-uhhh (2000?) the SOHC rarely leaks. ther is not a lot of major problems with the years your looking at. buy used
 

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IIRC, the problem with the head gaskets is pre 2003. As to your question which should you get.....new or used......

It can not be defined here with any certainty. If you know the seller, and you know they took care of it and it is a decent price, by all means, buy used. Problem with used vehicles is you DO NOT KNOW what transpired prior to your purchase.

If reliability and peice of mind are very high on your list, get new.

That said, I think this forum has proved the Forester can take what ever is dished up, with in reason. People here off road them, drag race them, rally race them, put on high mileage, tow, pretty much anything you can imagine, someone has done. Foresters are tough and dependable.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. I had heard that the head gasket problem was solved around 2003 -- I didn't realize they had switched to an SOHC design. Otherwise those cars seem to be able to take a beating -- I just want to make sure that I am the one doing the beating so I know what to expect. I am probably looking at new rather than used.
 

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1999 Subaru Forester
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They switched to the SOHC design around 1999 I'm pretty sure

The DOHC were plauged with the headgasket issue, and a few early SOHC models

I'd say buy used from a decent person or dealership you can trust
 

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The convert formely known as Lexusfreak
2003 XS
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I'd buy used, with service records, 1 owner, with full factory warranty remaining......save $$$$ & get er loaded! :cool:

Mine would have cost $37k+ taxes (Canadian if I bought new).
 

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We've bought all of our subies used (some more than others) and have had no problems. If you are local to NY we are getting ready in the next few months to sell either an '01 or an '02 Forester S, both will have close to 90k on them at that time. Let me know if you are interested. Our cars are treated well, and always maintained.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all

I am in the SF Bay area so I probably wouldn't travel far to buy. I won't be actually purchasing for another month or so. My only other used car dealer experience was not too inspiring, but getting something 3 years old or less generally means a visit to a dealer. Oh well, we will see. If anyone has any other insight into the used Forester scene (ie a good dealer in the Bay Area) or if someone can recommend a good garage in Berkeley to get a candidate checked out I would much appreciate it. THanks
 

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The convert formely known as Lexusfreak
2003 XS
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Pilsner said:
I am in the SF Bay area so I probably wouldn't travel far to buy. I won't be actually purchasing for another month or so. My only other used car dealer experience was not too inspiring, but getting something 3 years old or less generally means a visit to a dealer. Oh well, we will see. If anyone has any other insight into the used Forester scene (ie a good dealer in the Bay Area) or if someone can recommend a good garage in Berkeley to get a candidate checked out I would much appreciate it. THanks
You mentioned you are looking only for the base X model.....how come? Have you seen that moonroof? :spinnasmiley That's pretty much what sold my wife (and the fact she loved the styling, safety record, size & how it drove naturally as well) & all we had to do is be patient for the color we wanted....in our case the XS PP1 (premium package 1) had the monotone paint (Platinum silver), moonroof.....everything but leather. Just a suggestion.

Good news is you have time so I would recommend you pick & choose carefully (if buying used) and get the exact vehicle you like.....including the color. Keep us posted. :bigok:
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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Pilsner said:
I am in the SF Bay area so I probably wouldn't travel far to buy. I won't be actually purchasing for another month or so. My only other used car dealer experience was not too inspiring, but getting something 3 years old or less generally means a visit to a dealer. Oh well, we will see. If anyone has any other insight into the used Forester scene (ie a good dealer in the Bay Area) or if someone can recommend a good garage in Berkeley to get a candidate checked out I would much appreciate it. THanks
Hey Pilsner, contact Roo for good pricing on new/used Foresters. He's the site admin here, and he also works at Marin Subaru - just a short hop across the bridge from you. ;-) For pre-purchase inspections and general maintenance see LIC Motorsprts in Novato. Great guys who live and breathe Subaru, and who do an excellent job at very reasonable prices.

Also, check out our NorCal meet thread. Care to join us on May 13?
 

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Used you get more car for the money

Pilsner said:
I am looking to get a Forester X soon (the basic model) and while my budget says used my heart says new. If I go used I would like to get something about 3 years old or less. But two things tell me to go new: 1) I keep hearing about head gasket problems on older model; and 2) these cars don't seem to depreciate all that much.
I struggled with the same questions. I started out looking for a used one, but realized that their value didn't depreciate much, so I looked at a new 06 Basic X model for $23K, but didn't like the design of the new front end, so I went back to looking for a used one. I test drove several before I found the one I bought. I bought a used 2003 XS, AT, Premium, Moonroof, Leather, disk brakes on all fours with 52K miles on it in January for about $7K less that the basic 06 X model. :cool: Not to mention less California sales taxes and Lisence Fees.

If you go used you get more car for the money, because the XS, and Premium model seems to depreciate more percentage wise than the basic model.

I found mine on WWW.cars.com I had to look for about 2 months, but when you find what you want you have to be ready to deal. I even financed it for the same as a new car, 5.8% they were willing to go out to 84 mo. but I only wanted to go out 48 mo. due to haw many miles I will have on it by then.
 

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How did the test drive with Roo go brother-in-law??:drive:
 
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