Considering purchasing first Outback

lonestar6lonestar6 Posts: 19
edited October 2020 in Subaru
I’m trying to decide between purchasing a used Forester or Outback but am leaning towards the latter. I will put 6,000-7,000 miles a year on this vehicle, with about 1/4 of those being off-road, driving around pastures in Texas (no mountains, etc.). Initially, I thought that I would buy a truck but don’t really need the hauling capabilities and, of course, no truck rides nearly as well as a Subaru. To me, the Forester and Outback drive equally well but my research indicates that the Outback has better air-conditioning which, in Texas, is important. While it would be nice to have such safety features as a back-up camera, that's not essential, and I don't care about things like leather seats, etc. If possible, I would like a vehicle with less than 100,000 miles and not spend more than $20,000. Would it be advisable to lower the maximum acceptable mileage to, say, 80,000? Of course, I know that there's a tradeoff between mileage and price. Do any model years for Outback stand out as especially good or bad between, say, 2010-2018? For instance, I've seen one discussion indicating that pre-2016 Foresters may tend to burn oil so I'm curious if anyone would put up a similar "red flag" for any Outback models? I would greatly appreciate thoughts regarding this question from anyone on this board. Thanks very much.

Comments

  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 180,698
    @xwesx - can you help a member out?

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    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    Sure!

    With full disclosure, I have six Subarus under my belt at this point (three Forester, three Outback), so do have biases....

    If your off road excursions are limited to fairly mellow terrain, both models can likely handle it equally well. Both have around 8-1/2" of clearance, though the Forester's approach and departure angles are better. If you must deal with any ruts, or small stream crossings, that may play a role. In my experience, the Outback loves to catch its bumper shells on things - it just has very long overhangs. You can help protect the rear shell by installing a Class III hitch - you lose some of your departure angle, but when you drag, you drag a heavy piece of steel instead of a fragile piece of plastic. Tires matter in off road: Stock wheels on the Outback are 17 - 18" with a 5x114.5 bolt pattern (beginning 2015 - prior was 5x100); wheels on the Forester are 16-17" with a 5x100 bolt pattern. Forester will accept a 15" wheel; Outback is, I believe, limited to a minimum size of 16" due to larger rotors. With regular off-roading, tires with robust sidewalls will serve you well (e.g., not the tires that are normally put on these cars!).

    On purchase price, the Forester will win. I would expect that, all things being equal (miles, condition, trim level, etc), Outback will likely run about 20% more than Forester. Total cargo space in the Outback is more, but with a lower roof line (e.g., you can fit slightly taller items into the Forester).

    Regarding oil consumption, the early years of the FB25 engine often had an issue... Mine was one of them! However, this was not limited to the Forester, but all FB25 blocks between initial introduction (2010 MY for Outback, 2011 MY for Forester) and some time in 2014 were potentially subject to the problem. There was a class-action lawsuit whose settlement included an extended warranty for this issue and free short-block replacement if it manifests - regardless of your position within the ownership chain. I believe the thresholds on that was 100,000 miles or 10 years (whichever occurs first). The correction for my car was done two years ago, and I have no oil consumption issues now. Before, it ate a lot of oil! Since this issue is difficult to notice (does not involve leaks) without time, I will also say that it was worse when the vehicle was under load than under easy-going driving. For example, pulling steep hills on the freeway during a trip, I had to add a whole quart after just one tank (around 300 miles) of fuel. Other times, I could to 800-1000 miles on a quart of oil. As such, if you're worried about it, you could check the oil (making sure it is at the top of the safe mark) take an extended test drive (50-100 miles) and work it hard, then let it sit before checking the oil level again. Most likely, if it has the issue, you will see a noticeable drop. Any repair of this condition should show up on Carfax, and you may also be able to discover it through Subaru if you have the VIN.

    Subaru moved to the CVT for its automatic transmission in 2014 for both models. Prior to that they used the "4EAT."

    Personally, I hate the look of the 2010-14 Outback, so I can't recommend that car over any other option (2009-13 Forester, 2014+ Forester, or 2015+ Outback) for that reason alone. The SH Forester (09-13) is my favorite generation for several reasons, and, if you can find a 2011-13 example with a good history and 70-80K miles (price should be likely around $11-12K) I would say "go for it!" The price will creep up significantly for the Outback in 2015+, and it comes up steadily in forester in 2014+.

    In my opinion, read up on the oil consumption class action settlement to confirm the thresholds, then go with what you feel is best for you in terms of balancing age, price, and miles. I would look for lower mileage examples the older the model year, and higher mileage examples the newer the model year. I tend to drive my vehicles to at least 100,000 miles (often quite a lot more than that), so I am not worried about 60/70/80K or more at purchase as long as I am comfortable with the history of the vehicle.

    Good luck!
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Wow, I really appreciate this extensive information! I believe that you’d classify my prospective off-roading as “mellow terrain.” Maybe a few ruts and small muddy patches but nothing like what you can encounter in your locale. You are much more of a “gearhead” than me, so I am afraid that I didn’t totally understand the tire/wheels/bolt discussion. Do you have any suggestions as to specific tires (I usually buy at Discount Tires)? The oil consumption information is super helpful. I’ll definitely do that extended test drive; I didn’t know such a thing was available. Thanks to hand-me-downs from in-laws and being the original owner of a 50 year-old Cutlass, I’m definitely a novice car shopper. As for the transmission, a post on another Subaru discussion board warned against the pre-2016 CVT, which sort of fits with your preference for the pre-2014 Forester.

    So far, I’ve only searched for vehicles on Carmax, as well as Edmunds. Both sites, of course, list the VIN, so I can track down those repair histories that you suggested. Using all of my (admittedly extensive) filters, Edmunds lists 5 Foresters within your favorite model year parameters, ranging in price from $13K-$18K and mileage from 50K-86K. Plus, all are at least 700 miles away so I assume that I’d incur hefty shipping fees. All of Carmax’s Foresters are later than your favorite model year parameters. And, perusing both sites confirms your assertion about relative prices, all things being equal.

    Again, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to share your knowledge about this.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    Good luck with it! You can also search online at cars.com, autotrader.com, truecar.com, and cargurus.com. I'm sure there are others, but these are good sites because they do not sell the cars directly but instead are simply advertising firms, similar to Edmunds. There is often overlap, but sometimes you find that one car that didn't pop up anywhere else! Occasionally, you can find a hidden local gem checking Craigslist as well, as long as you don't have concerns about buying private party.

    While this is an awkward time to fly, I have purchased many vehicles between 2,500 and 5,500 miles away. If you can get a good deal on a ticket, it is usually not that expensive to do this option (versus shipping). However, shipping is also not usually too insane. @qbrozen might be able to share the cost he incurred on a recent long-distance shipping; I think you will incur between $1,000 and $2,000 for a shipment anywhere in the contiguous US, though price can vary depending on open versus closed shipping (among other factors).

    As for the lug pattern comment, that was only to create awareness that the two models have different patterns, in case you have a preference due to available wheels that you might want to use on it, etc. From a practical perspective, it doesn't really matter.

    Regarding tires, availability depends a lot on whether you want to use stock rim size or a smaller diameter option. On Forester, for example, you cannot get any "all terrain" tire unless you have a max rim diameter of 16". The base model comes with 16" rims; otherwise, the factory size is 17" and you would need to get a smaller rim (as small as 15"). For Outback, there are some options at 17" (the default factory size for basic and premium levels), but not for larger rims (18/19"). Yokohama Geolandar G015, Cooper Discoverer, Toyo Open Country, Falken Wildpeak... all of these are a good mix of road manners with regular light trail duty. You could go more committed to the off-road life and get something like the BF Goodrich K02, but it is overkill. The idea is to have tires that can handle the terrain - especially when wet - and not need to worry about puncturing sidewall quite so much.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Super helpful--thanks! My wife has looked at cargurus.com but we've not checked those other ones, although I've heard of autotrader.com. My concern about buying from far away is getting a PPI; did you just forego that or were you able to get one on even a distant purchase? It's good to know that shipping may not be prohibitive. I will definitely save all of this good tire info. We had a set of Yokohamas on a Toyota van a few years ago and thought that they were inferior to Michelin but, of course, those were totally different tires, different vehicle, etc. At any rate, sounds like I should be prepared to put new tires on pretty soon after I purchase either a Forester or Outback.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    I have not found PPI to be an issue with a long-distance purchase. Sometimes I will do them, sometimes not depending the car, history, dealer, etc. However, you can look up PPI services in any region, find reviews on them, etc. Pricing, as of several years ago now, is about $400-500.

    From a traction perspective, Michelin makes some very good tires. However, from a longevity perspective, I am not a fan of Michelin - I find that the material deteriorates faster on that brand than any other (that I've tried). On my daily drivers, I will typically use tires anywhere from four to seven years. In that timeframe, Michelin is the only brand that that regularly shows significant signs of age stress (small cracks in the sidewall and/or between tread blocks). Add that to the typically higher-than-average price, it doesn't add up to a good buy for me. While I have not replaced a set of Michelins "early" due to that factor, I also don't live in a high-heat climate with high-speed driving like Texas. If I did, I think I would be nervous to drive on "aging" Michelins (e.g., more than about four or five years old).

    As far as one brand being overall better or worse than another, I try to withhold judgement based on experience with a particular model. There are some models of every brand that I would probably hate, and others about which I would gush. I cannot stand the the Yokohama Geolandar G95 tire that was OEM on Forester for many, many years, yet they also make the G51v winter tire that is honestly one of the best all-around winter tires out there.

    Tirerack tends to have a good analysis section on ownership experiences. I like to read through reviews to get a good idea of whether my own expectations are likely to be met. So far, I haven't been disappointed.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,567
    Good job Wes!

    A few corrections:

    1) Outback moved to FB25 in 2013, not 2011.
    2) Outback 2.5 moved to CVT in 2010, Outback 3.6 moved to CVT in 2015.
    3) 2014-2019 Forester XT (all) and 2.5i (Touring only) have 18" wheels.

    To add:
    1) Beware of head gasket issues with the EJ25 (predecessor to FB25).
    2) I have BFG Advantage T/A Sport on my 2015 Forester 2.5i Touring. They have a fairly aggressive tread for a touring all-season tire.
  • Both of you are being extremely helpful. From the above comments, in addition to other research that I've done, it's looking like maybe the best way to avoid problems as much as possible would be to concentrate on Outback MY 2016-2019 and take wheel size into account for a Forester (although, as I indicated above, I'm leaning towards an Outback). Of course, in all likelihood that would mean paying more but I'll just need to balance that factor when I locate specific vehicles. Up until now, I've not had a preference of 4 or 6-cylinder but some owners seem to express concern about acceleration in the 4-cylinder. My 2012 RAV 6-cylinder is fine but perhaps a Subaru 4-cylinder would be comparable; I'm definitely not enough of a gearhead to analyze such matters so guess I'll just have to rely on a test drive of each engine. I do not anticipate any towing or other heavy loads so, in theory, the 4-cylinder SHOULD do OK. Any further thoughts from you all are most welcome. Thanks.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    IMO, 4-cylinder is perfectly adequate. 6-cylinder has a lot more grunt, for sure, but you pay for that in much lower fuel economy as well.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thanks for confirming what I'd figured to be the case. Also, thanks for pointing me to those additional websites. I'm in the process of navigating the process of how to nail down a somewhat specific price before selecting any vehicles (I believe Edmunds' term in a dialog box is "Know the Deal"). By the way, I notice that you own a 1969 Chevy truck. One of those was my dad's workhorse at our ranch for many years.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    edited October 2020
    I do! It is such a great, reliable vehicle (and has been my workhorse for 23+ years now). Still fully original but starting to need some extra love...


    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Wes,
    Beautiful--and yellow, a rare color! Taking your advice, I'm "bird-dogging" info on that class action suit. Apparently, it concerned the 2011-2014 Forester and 2013 Outback which, of course, is not to say that other Outback years didn't have the problem. Most pertinent aspect for a prospective owner was that it increased the warranty length from 5 years /60,000 miles to 8 years /100,000 miles. So far (links below), I can't find anything that it includes everyone in the chain of ownership but seems that it would.
    https://jalopnik.com/subaru-settles-lawsuit-over-oil-burning-cars-1752805682
    https://www.torquenews.com/1084/update-subaru-oil-consumption-class-action-lawsuit.

    Dukey,
    Per your request, attached are two shots of "Old Blue" from different angles.
  • Please accept my humble apologies for mistakenly posting unsolicited photos of my Cutlass. Those were actually requested by a correspondent on another discussion board. Obviously, I'm as much a novice at discussion boards as I am in car shopping!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    edited October 2020
    Hah! I was reading up to see where we had discussed the Cutlass. But, it is pretty! I love the white over blue with the white interior. I think @ab348 could appreciate it more, though (and maybe that was the other poster you were referencing), since he has a gorgeous 1968 Cutlass. If I know my old-car styling queues, I'm going to guess yours is very early '70s...?

    As for the settlement warranty... it does cover any owner. I am the third owner of our 2013 Forester (purchased at 50,000 miles), and I had no issues at all with coverage.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Glad that you appreciate it! Good guess--1970. Thanks for the clarification on the settlement warranty, too. I really appreciate you directing me to those sale sites, all of which I've now searched. I have about 25 cars to start culling (I cast a pretty wide net). One concern I have is whether, in general, it's best to get a maintenance warranty from a dealer or a third party. If the latter, do you have any preferences? I know that that is a pool with a lot of sharks (I can tell just from the spam calls I get about car warranties). I'd like to have that decided before I go to any dealership for a test drive, negotiations, etc. I may use CarMax as a standard. That is, if my out-the-door price at a dealer plus a third party warranty exceeds CarMax, I guess I might consider paying CarMax's higher price, since it includes the 1-year warranty. Of course, all that assumes that I'm comparing similar warranty terms and that CarMax has a vehicle that I want! If you don't have time to get into all these questions, I understand.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    Well, I am not familiar with much of it. I will say, that if your target car is eligible for a factory-backed warranty, that is the way to go! For Subaru, this requires purchase of the extended warranty during the 3/36 bumper-to-bumper warranty period. Purchase of the Extended Warranty can occur from any authorized Subaru dealer.

    We had an extended warranty through Subaru on our 2010 Forester (it was the 7/100 zero deductible), and not only did it save us substantial money on that car over the ownership period, but it was seamless to use ANYWHERE. Once, we were on a transcontinental trek (we drove about 12,500 miles over five weeks), and the car developed an oil leak while near the east coast. By the time we were on the west coast a few days later, it was leaking at an alarming rate (like a quart of oil or more per fuel stop). We had a stop for a few days of visiting, so I contacted all the dealers in the area to find one that was willing to take us in on short notice due to the emergency nature of the situation. A few hours later, they had us fixed up and ready to go... total bill was nearly $3,000, of which I owed only $79 for the price of a timing belt (which was an optional authorization on my part). In the end, we were only slightly inconvenienced and not delayed at all in terms of the total trip schedule.

    I bought our warranty from Mastra Subaru in Massachusetts, as they (at least at that time) would sell the top tier warranty for "cost", which was less than half of the price at my local dealership (where they only sell at full retail). IIRC, retail was about $3,400 at that time, while cost was $1,500.

    Third party / aftermarket warranties can offer some protection, but they can also be highly restrictive. For example, I had one friend who paid a fairly hefty price for an aftermarket warranty, and she needed to use it three times. Of those three times, twice she was fully denied coverage, and the third time she had to fight them tooth and nail, including hiring a lawyer, to get them to cover the claim. Of course, that was the third of three times, so she was quite fed up with the run around at that point (which is why she went to a lawyer). Another friend had an engine failure in a WRX STi, which was over $10,000 for repair, and her aftermarket warranty did cover it (though the delays and documentation requirements were intense).

    Dealer warranties can be fine (I have not heard bad things about the Carmax warranty, for example), but it all depends on the terms and the dealer network. For single location warranties, I would find those next to useless because it would tie me to the dealer (in terms of proximity) for any needed claims. For others, they would never notice the tether.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I appreciate the rapid reply! You definitely ARE the font of knowledge and pretty much confirmed what I thought about the level of warranties. Right now, I'm trying to prioritize wheel size, since only 1 of my 4 finalists thus far has 17" wheels. Since about 3/4 of my driving will be in an urban environment and my off-roading will be fairly "mellow," I may talk to the Discount Tire store where I usually trade about a tire that would be a good ride and durable in both settings.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    They should be able to give you some good suggestions. I think Falken Wildpeak A/T, which is a "light duty" all-terrain tire, might be a good fit for your need. They do make them in stock 17" sizes for both Outback and Forester.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • A local Subaru used car salesman urged me today to only consider CPO cars, given my price range. However, a local Hyundai dealer has a 2017 Outback 2.5i Limited (48K miles) at $2,000 UNDER its suggested dealer retail value, per Edmunds pricing tool. I'm no gambler but it's tempting to go with it and no warranty of any kind, especially if I could get them to knock even more off of the price, since I'll likely only put 6-7,000 miles/year on it. Only curious thing is that it's been on their lot for 7 months. But the virus is one big reason for that, I assume. It was one of my 4 "finalists," which is now down to two after losing two to other buyers.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    Definitely do a PPI on a car like that. Carfax may come up clean, but it is possible that it does have a difficult history, such as flood vehicle, etc. Ultimately, the car will still be under the 5/60 powertrain warranty, so you're not entirely holding the bag, but you will not be able to purchase a Subaru extended warranty.

    The advantage to the CPO vehicles is the inclusion of basically the extended warranty, however, you're going to pay for that (and then some, in most cases) within the purchase price. Personally, I have never purchased a CPO vehicle as I do shop heavily on price, and the market has not lacked quality vehicles from other sources (in my experience).
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Yes, I've got a very experienced mechanic willing to do a PPI on anything that I select; he'd be the one who'd do repairs on what I buy, too. As for a CPO, I lean in your direction, given the amount of miles this vehicle will get. And, for that reason, I'm even beginning to question whether I'd want a third-party warranty, which probably would bring total vehicle cost to about the same as a CPO vehicle, anyway.

    After running myself ragged with Outback research, I am back to considering Foresters. Unless it was a phenomenal deal, I just can't justify spending the extra money on an Outback that will be parked outdoors and get 25-30% of its miles off-road. So, while considering a range of MY, I'm going to pay special attention to any in that 2011-13 range with a good history (including the class action-mandated engine repair, of course). I test drove the Outback at the Hyundai dealer (he won't come down off the stated price) and liked it EXCEPT for the gear shifting paddles and the lane change alert. Maybe the latter can be overridden but the paddles were a nuisance, although I know some people like that option. The Subaru salesman has suggested Crossteks, which I just now am investigating. Preliminarily, I can't see that much of a price difference from Foresters. So, unless that proves to be wrong, I'll stick with Foresters. They're 5" higher and, I suspect have more headroom (I'm 6'1"). Plus, Forester has a longer history and I'm not wild about the Crosstrek "fastback" look (although it's fine on my Cutlass!).
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    Crosstreks are red hot right now. I'm not really sure why, but the buyers apparently know! In some cases, used car pricing doesn't even warrant buying them used as opposed to new. One "feature" upon which even owners typically agree, though... the Crosstrek is underpowered for its size.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Yes, I can't understand the charm of Crosstreks. I just had the clarifying experience of driving an Outback and Forester back-to-back at a dealership; I should have done it weeks ago and saved myself (and you) lots of time. I now CAN justify spending a few more $$ on an Outback, given the difference in ride quality at 60 mph on a freeway. If I was going to be mainly off-road, I would probably prefer a Forester but I've got to face the reality of my situation. After growing up with pickups and tractors, I guess I've "wimped out" in my old age. So...at least this focuses my search more tightly!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    Yeah, the Outback is a far more refined ride than the Forester, for certain.

    It is actually funny how refined I felt our 2010 Forester was when we first tested and bought it. At the time, we were driving a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan and Ford Escort. However, now my vehicle is an Audi Q7, so when I do drive the Forester, it feels a little rustic to my pampered backside! I still enjoy driving it, but it doesn't have that quiet, refined feel I once thought it did.

    Perspective is one helluva thing. :D
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Yes, I suspect that I had the same reaction to my first drive in a Forester because I'd just driven a Tacoma (both at CarMax). Since I've had 2 Toyotas, including my present RAV 4, I've checked on 4Runner prices. As I suspected, they are LOTS more $$ than Outbacks plus I don't need or want a vehicle that size. By the way, I should have mentioned earlier that your log house looks great!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    If of any interest, the Tacoma leases really well due to the residuals applied to them. Might be an option, if you want to pay little (for what you get) and consider a long-term solution more later. I know that $300/mo leases aren't terribly uncommon. Others here on the forums could help you out there if you wanted to explore more.

    You had me pondering the log house comment... I thought... "I don't have a log house...?" Then I realized what was in the background of the C20 photo... I was helping a folk school move their operations to that facility, which is located at a park here in Fairbanks (Pioneer Park, run by the local government). It is a historic cabin that is around 120 years old.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Good advice on the Tacoma lease. My concern with a lease was in being able to return the vehicle in the condition that I leased it. Plus, my wife's parents had a really bad experience with a lease so she's gun-shy about them. But, if I ever need a truck, I'll certainly remember your advice! Anyhow, the day after your post, I went ahead and bought a 2017 Outback Limited, 59K miles, but it checked all my boxes. I'm not that worried about the miles since I won't put that many on it. Had been leased since new by one of the dealer's office staff so had had regular service, etc. I even got to meet and visit with her about the car. Honestly, I can live without all the advanced electronics. My late, lamented 2005 Toyota minivan is about the level of my technical sophistication but I figured that trying to find an older model car with relatively few miles would be a needle in a haystack. The Outback does give a great ride. HOWEVER, Saturday night, its cargo mat was pushed just far enough back to interfere with the electronic latch of the tailgate but not so much that the tailgate alert light was on. So, it was totally dead yesterday. I only learned the problem from the local dealer's service technician after I jump-started it and took it in this a.m. He actually called it a design problem, since the back seats push the mat back. But I got a new battery for free and have pulled the cargo mat out, knowing that I can put it back in there whenever I need it. I apologize for this lengthy post but wanted to fill you in. You have been so outstandingly helpful--I really do appreciate it. And, I enjoyed reading about that log cabin, as I am a big fan of old buildings and historic preservation. How great that students can go to school in such a building!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    Congratulations! It is immensely satisfying to buy a new (to you) vehicle knowing that you checked all the boxes and made the best decision to fit your needs.

    If it makes you feel any better about the Outback.... I am having battery issues with my Audi Q7, and I could not get it to start this morning at nearly -20F (even though I had the battery charged up and plugged in the vehicle's engine heaters for a couple hours prior to attempting to start). So, it looks like I am going to need to pull the battery tonight and get it swapped for a new one (less than year old).

    Also, when I bought the 2013 Forester in Illinois back in 2017, it's battery was dead when we arrived at the dealer. However, since that day, no further battery issues. :D
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • What a pain about the battery. I guess the dealer gave you a new battery for the Forester! -20F-wow! My great-aunt and her husband lived in Montana in the 1940s and told of placing a kerosene lantern under the hood in that kind of weather. An Autozone clerk who'd lived in Michigan told me that he saw more battery problems from Texas summers than really cold winters but, obviously, either one is bad news. The Outback started fine today so I've got to believe that the service tech was correct about my fluke problem with the cargo mat.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 14,721
    Yes, heat is more of a threat to batteries than cold (in terms of their overall longevity), but cold puts more instantaneous strain on them in terms of actually cranking the engine over. So, if the battery is weak, it becomes quite apparent quite quickly when you try to start the car! My car batteries typically last 8-10 years though, and I had one battery that quit last winter after sixteen years of faithful service!

    For the Q7 issue, I think it's the car's "smart charging" technology that is leading the batteries to premature deaths. The car is seven years old and is now working on it's fourth battery... unacceptable! In looking at it closely last night, I noticed that there is some sort of a sensor or electronic doo-dad in line with the negative battery terminal. If I unplugged the sensor, the battery was receiving full voltage with the car running (13.75V). If I plugged it in, the battery voltage was only 13.2V. So, since I know that "correct" is bad for the battery, I just left the unit unplugged and will see how the battery ages now. I strongly suspect that it will fare much better!
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • 16 years in Alaska--that must be a record! That's weird engineering on your Audi. Today, the Outback wouldn't move when I put it in gear. I realized that I must have accidentally depressed the parking brake lever on the console after my previous drive. I guess it's there to prompt the driver to use it often but I rarely do (not many hills to park on in this part of Texas) so will just have to be more careful.
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