Thoughts on buying a 2010 Subaru Forester with 100k miles?

ryanpk2018ryanpk2018 Member Posts: 11
edited November 2017 in Subaru
I'm looking for a used car right now under my 10k budget and I have found a couple Forester's near my area that have 100k or 130k miles on them. One is about 7k dollars and the one with 100k is about 10k dollars. Are these bad deals? The 7,000 dollar one with 129,000 miles is appealing to me for the price but will that even last me a few years? I wondered if any Subaru owners could give their impressions or opinions on the longevity of the brand. Thanks!


  • tbirdmarcotbirdmarco Member Posts: 3,838
    would stick with the ones with 100k but realize any car with 100k or mor will have sum neads at sum point! an Toyota can work good to or Honda! but all in that price range might have a lot higher miles on them!
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,271
    edited November 2017
    Ryan, I'll weigh in again, as I have had a few Subarus.

    What is the trim level and condition of the car? At that mileage, the asking price may be reasonable ($7K) if it is in good condition otherwise (e.g., straight body, interior is good, no smoking, good brakes, tires).

    Will it last you a few years? It could, yes. Get a PPI and go into it with your eyes open. At that mileage, needs you can expect:

    1. Timing belt. Was it changed on schedule (e.g., 105K interval)? If no, then that's a MUST DO. You mentioned before that you are not mechanically inclined, if I recall correctly, so my guess is probably around $1K on that, includes timing belt tensioner and (possibly?) water pump (preventative replacement) (parts noted here are about $300).

    2. Struts. Were these replaced? If so, when? These should be replaced about once every 75K. They can last longer in mild climates and/or places that make them work less. If they're original at 129K, then replacing those will be much the same as buying a new car in terms of ride quality difference (not cost) Replacement cost for parts is about $450, so installed is probably a grand again. If they are in bad shape, then that's additional wear and tear on the rest of the suspension, which may lead to more trouble (ball joints, tie rod ends, etc.) down the line.

    3. Fluids. How do the transmission, differential (front and rear), power steering, and brake fluids look? Condition of fluids can tell you a lot about the general care philosophy of prior owners. 129,000 miles is few enough that the car may look to be fine now, but if these are all original fluids, then their condition could be leading to damage on expensive parts.

    4. Head Gaskets. This car has the EJ25 engine (as do all Foresters before and including MY2010), so it is not a matter of *if* but *when* these bad boys will fail. If they were not already replaced, make sure it is inspected by someone who can look for the early warning signs of EJ25 HG failures. You don't want to be the owner of this car if it has problems with head gaskets right now. You're looking at a $2,500 repair on these (assuming no engine overheating has occurred). The good news is that #1 above becomes a parts-cost-only item if done concurrently.

    These are the main items that come to mind at the moment! Not trying to scare you off here, just reiterating.... EYES WIDE OPEN going in!

    I've owned the following Subaru vehicles (transmission type, length of ownership, and total vehicle miles):
    1996 Subaru Outback (AT, 6.5 years, 220,000 miles)
    2007 Subaru Outback Base (MT, 6 months, 7,000 miles)
    2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i (AT, 4 months, 6,000 miles)
    2010 Subaru Forester X Premium (MT, 7.5 years, 108,000 miles)
    2008 Subaru Forester (AT, 2.5 years, 150,000 miles)
    2013 Subaru Forester X Premium (MT, 5 months, 62,000 miles)

    I guess I should note, for perspective, that I sold my 2010 Forester for $2,000 after it was in a "total" crash. So, there's value there. However, my car, other than having just a wee bit of damage caused by the crash, was in impeccable condition. It was purchased for reconstruction and resale, and the local market value for it (retail) in unblemished condition was $12,000.

    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,271
    edited November 2017
    I just thought of one other potential concern: Wheel bearings! These tend to be possible problems, but it is hit or miss. I never had an issue with the bearings on my '96, but did replace those on the 2010 at just under 100,000 miles. The 2008, however, still has its originals. They were a fairly big deal in the mid-00s on Impreza-based vehicles (include WRX and Forester), though it was, again, hit-or-miss (perhaps a QC issue?).
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Yep, the 2.5L Subaru motor will shed its head gaskets at anywhere from 90K to about 130K. That's the "bell curve" anyway---a few might die sooner and some go longer. Based on that, I'd say this is a high risk purchase at this mileage unless head gaskets and timing belt have been addressed.

    From the AWD Auto website:

    "The early symptoms that occur in the 2nd generation engines is usually an external oil leak at both head gaskets and an external coolant leak at the left side head gasket, we have seen coolant leaks at the right side head gasket as well but at a much lower failure rate than the left side. We have seen some of the same intermittent overheating symptoms, but the bulk of the issues seem to be external leaks."
  • ryanpk2018ryanpk2018 Member Posts: 11
    Thanks you guys. I appreciate it. I'm going back and forth over things and stressing out over it. I think the impending winter is making me nervous. Haha. This is the car I was looking at that I liked. I enjoyed the way it drove. It felt smooth and zippy.

    It doesn't seem like too much was done on it which makes me think it's going to wind up being a waste of money. There are a few Honda Civic's in my budget that are in great shape. I just wanted something a little bigger. Not a fan of Ford or Chevrolet so I'm having trouble with getting a used car under that budget but in the make's that I like. Honda, Subaru, Toyota, Mazda. I'll keep looking.

    I truly appreciate the help! You guys are awesome for helping!
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,271
    For the price, that one looks solid with the photos provided (of note, though, is no mechanical photos at all). If you like it, see what you can drag out of its history (Carfax, contact dealerships noted for service, provide VIN, and see what records they have), get a PPI, and make a decision from there.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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