2006 Forester 111K Miles Head Gasket, Timing Belt, Front End Wk-Fix?

rogerroyrogerroy Member Posts: 6
Hi all,

Looking for some opinions on whether it is worth fixing my Forester vs buying another Subie. Facts are it has 110K mi, pretty new tires, recent brakes, and I have taken care of it well. On the negative it needs new headgasket, timing belt, front stabilizer links/bushings and a battery. The dealership is looking around $3400 total for all.

So, first question is is it worth fixing when car is worth $4-5K? Second, if worth fixing is the $3K plus bill in line with what is being done?

Thanks in advance,


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 15,849
    Well, the good news is that it sounds like the 105K maintenance call for the timing belt replacement hasn't been performed yet, so you saved yourself 100% of the labor charge for that item! A full timing belt/pulley kit is about $500, so add that to a head gasket job (both sides) of ~$1,800, and you're up to $2,300. I don't think the links/bushings are an $1,100 item, but your car is also ready for new struts at 110K if you haven't replaced those yet. So, throw the struts and the requisite alignment (the alignment would be needed anyway), and yeah, I can see that at $3,400.

    As to whether it's worth it, well, you have to ask yourself whether you'd rather spend 9 months worth of car payments on re-conditioning your current ride and then continue to own it outright, or put that $3,400 toward a new car, but owe substantially more on top of that!

    If you're happy with the car and it is in otherwise good condition, I'd opt for the repair and maintenance items.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    My sister just had the same dilemna with her 2003, fixed it up, and has no regrets. It's working great and ought to last well past the break even point.

    However, I sent her to a good indy mechanic and that cut her bill substantially.

    OTOH, if you're looking for an excuse to buy a new car, here it is...
  • jimmy07055jimmy07055 Member Posts: 1
    If it has relatiively new tires and brakes, I'd consider performing the required maintenance/repairs. However, I would shop around and see if you could get a better deal from an independent garage as opposed to the dealership.
    Also, if you have basic mechanical ability, you can purchase a great battery from Costco for $59.99 and install it yourself in a few minutes and save a close to a hundred bucks in the process.
    In my case, at 90k miles, I took my '05 Forester to the dealership in 2010 for a 90k mile service. It required new brakes, tires, fluids, and the dealer talked me into the timing belt replacement prematurely as they were doing something in the engine that made the change easy. It cost me about 2k for everything. The car now has 135k miles and is still running strong 2.5 years later. The 2k was a hard pill to swallow at the time, but as I reflect back on it, it saved me $$$ is the long run. 111k miles is not a whole lot for a Subaru. There is still lots of life left in that vehicle.
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