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This is a discussion on Complete USED WRX Buying Checklist within the Car Purchasing Forum forums, part of the ClubWRX.net Marketplace category; Originally Posted by theSTIdream! Iam in the process of looking for an sti and this list seems really helpful. I ...

  1. #16
    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theSTIdream! View Post
    Iam in the process of looking for an sti and this list seems really helpful. I really want a 2005 sti but i was curious about mileage. How many miles is too many for this year? I dont know too much about how long these engines last so any info will help. Let me know what you think!
    Mileage is not as important a factor as you'd think. A 2005 is about 6-7 years old now, so the "average" driver would have put somewhere between 72k and 100k on it. If a car has significantly less (around 30k or so), it probably wasn't used as anything but a track car (you can say this about STi's - a wrx with oddly low mileage was probably just mistreated). Just make sure the service records go by time and not mileage, and it's good. If the car has significantly more than that (around 150k), somebody liked the car. Just make sure the service records go by mileage and not time. Also, anything above about 100k - MAKE DAMN SURE that somebody either took care of or is taking care of the timing belt - or be prepared to do it yourself.

    In all, the shape of a car is quite a bit more important than the arbitrary number of miles it's gone. There are a lot of high-mileage (300k) original engine cars which I would much rather take over a car with 50k, a ton of bolt ons, and that's never been tuned for those bolt-ons.
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

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    Registered User 97_04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poly_poly-man View Post
    Mileage is not as important a factor as you'd think. A 2005 is about 6-7 years old now, so the "average" driver would have put somewhere between 72k and 100k on it. If a car has significantly less (around 30k or so), it probably wasn't used as anything but a track car (you can say this about STi's - a wrx with oddly low mileage was probably just mistreated). Just make sure the service records go by time and not mileage, and it's good. If the car has significantly more than that (around 150k), somebody liked the car. Just make sure the service records go by mileage and not time. Also, anything above about 100k - MAKE DAMN SURE that somebody either took care of or is taking care of the timing belt - or be prepared to do it yourself.

    In all, the shape of a car is quite a bit more important than the arbitrary number of miles it's gone. There are a lot of high-mileage (300k) original engine cars which I would much rather take over a car with 50k, a ton of bolt ons, and that's never been tuned for those bolt-ons.
    QFT!!!! ^^ This, by a long shot!!!!

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    Alright so basically as long as it has been well taken care of, the mileage isnt that big of a deal. Most of them i have seen have been around like 60k plus mileage, what is a good price for this year? I have seen them from like $15,000 all the way to like $21,000....

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    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theSTIdream! View Post
    Alright so basically as long as it has been well taken care of, the mileage isnt that big of a deal. Most of them i have seen have been around like 60k plus mileage, what is a good price for this year? I have seen them from like $15,000 all the way to like $21,000....
    Take a look at KBB - this will give you a vague idea of what's worth what. Also, just keep looking at cars for sale, and see what they're going for.
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

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    Hey guys, first time poster here in need of some guidance. I have all but fully committed to trading my Mazda6 for a 2002 wrx this coming weekend. I will be meeting him in Memphis, TN (about 5 hours away) to do the trade.

    Here is the vehicle's listing on ebay: Subaru : WRX - eBay (item 130493742188 end time Mar-14-11 08:04:44 PDT)

    I am in no way a car guy, but the major things I am concerned for are the turbo and the transmission. What are some signs that the turbo may be giving out? It appears to be a very well cared for WRX, but one can never be sure.

    Should I have a shop in Memphis take a look?

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    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    Hmm, turbo and transmission...

    turbo: Look as best you can. Ask if you can take the heat shield off to get a better look. Look / feel for cracks on both sides. Also, run the car hard. If you have some way of measuring boost (even laptop + tactrix cable can do this), make sure it's hitting its targets (you won't be at target all the time if stock - it takes a little bit to spool. Make sure it's about right at the top end). Also, just by feel in hard pulls, you may be able to detect problems. The bugeye stock tune hits you like a ton of bricks, especially as a passenger, at about 3k rpm. When you're done with this run, pop open the hood, smell the area around the turbo. Any *hint* of burning oil? One of the cars I looked at had a bad oil feed line to the turbo - the thing smoked like a barbecue after a good hard run.

    Transmission: The best way, if they have not done a gear oil change in a while, is to do one yourself, and look for metal chunks on the drain plug. If they have, or you don't want to do the change, you can get some idea of its health from a drive.

    The biggest tell is trouble downshifting to first. Every WRX will give you some trouble; they did that even from the factory. What you're looking for is anything excessive (trouble under about 5-10mph), that super loud grinding noise going down, etc. Also, run it in each gear for a little bit. Sometimes, you'll hear chatter in a particular gear. If it keeps chattering through the entire rpm band on any particular gear (3rd and 4th are popular for this), watch out.

    That said, my transmission is in not good shape, but I still have every gear, and I have no doubts that, with care, I'll have every gear for a while to come. I have chunks in my gear oil, insane grinding into first, and 3rd chatters. Just be careful (basically, don't launch, don't shift hard, etc.) and even the transmission in the worst shape will last quite a while longer.

    If you want some extra insurance, send the car to a shop. In the long run, it's a very good idea, if only to give reassurance, and to tell you what'll need to be done, when.

    BTW, timing belt - are they doing it or are you? If you are, it's time.
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

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    Thanks, poly. I know that having someone look at it will be best, but I can at least do the tests you mentioned myself.

    I will be doing the timing belt. Is this a difficult undertaking if I'm not a "car person"? I'll have a backup car to drive if I can't finish it in one day.

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    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    Timing belt is not considered a first-time DIY job, but certainly can be a DIY job if you've got a buddy (or several days to take your time). http://www.scoobymods.com/diy-subaru...7.html?t=12617
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

    My current car: 2002 WRB WRX Wagon.
    Mods: GM BCS, Carberry SD rom, uppipe, AEM UEGO, Klunk Killer, F+R shifter bushings, head unit

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    Moderator smorris's Avatar
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    I didn't see it anywhere in the excellent list, but I'd also try to get a CarFAX done on a prospective car, Not only for obvious wrecks, but to make sure all recalls have been performed. I know that mine has not had a liftgate recall done from several years back, but I did have the fuel line recall performed.

    Also, if a potential buyer took my car to WFO as you've recommended, the test drive would be over immediately! I've taken great care not to abuse my car, and no one else is going to ruin it.

    Quote Originally Posted by poly_poly-man View Post
    Mileage is not as important a factor as you'd think. A 2005 is about 6-7 years old now, so the "average" driver would have put somewhere between 72k and 100k on it. If a car has significantly less (around 30k or so), it probably wasn't used as anything but a track car (you can say this about STi's - a wrx with oddly low mileage was probably just mistreated).
    That's an awfully bold claim and big assumption you are promoting. I know many low mileage cars that have been neither tracked nor abused, and have even been stored during the winter to avoid salt. My WRX is over nine years old, and only has 34,000 miles. I can assure you it has never been around a track, nor has it been abused. It did go down a dragstrip twice, but I was being pretty easy on it. I would much rather buy a 30k car than one with 150k.

    Just my 2 cents
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    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    You've driven your car 3000 miles/year. From the sounds of it, you take care of your car, and I wouldn't put it past you to have plenty of documentation to prove it.

    However, cars don't like to sit. If someone were to, say, let their car sit for 4-6 months out of the year, there are two options. Either they do it correctly, make sure everything's tip-top before they go off, do oil changes shortly thereafter, maybe even store the thing on jackstands surround by mousetraps, etc. In that case, storage is a good thing, and simply means you're buying a newer car than the age might imply.

    If the PO didn't take care of it, who knows? There was a mouse who thought it'd be funny to chew on some wires - suddenly the airbags are good enough to pass their self-tests, but impact shorts them out, so it's an unsafe car (extreme example, sorry ). Maybe they forget to do oil changes for a long time after storage, and they're running sludge through the engine and turbo. You can look in the car storage to see how to do it right and why...

    And maybe the PO didn't do intentional storage at all... what if the car was used offroad early on in its life, and got into a nasty accident, not reported to any insurance or government agency? The owner then put in time whenever he could here and there to get the thing back to usable - but loses interest in making a race car, and just tries to get it back to stock. It's 5 years later, and that bugeye still has the mileage it had in 2006. It's certainly possible, and similar situations have happened.

    So, while I'm not trying to say that low-mileage cars are necessarily terrible, and I'm certainly not trying to insult your car personally, I AM trying to say, be wary of an unusually low-mileage car, and take extra care in evaluating the owner.

    Oh, and WOT is not going to hurt your car. Yeah, a 3rd gear pull is probably going to be unsafe unless you're in the midwest, but there's absolutely no harm in a 2nd gear pull, for example (WRX gears - add one for sti equivalents). If the test driver is an ass and launching or shifting hard, kick him out. Somebody who doesn't launch, granny shifts, and just wants to check out how the car does under WOT acceleration, maybe throwing it into some turns at slightly above-average speeds - it's a performance car, people want to check on the performance - let him at it.

    BTW, carfax is the very first bullet
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

    My current car: 2002 WRB WRX Wagon.
    Mods: GM BCS, Carberry SD rom, uppipe, AEM UEGO, Klunk Killer, F+R shifter bushings, head unit

  12. #26
    Moderator smorris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poly_poly-man View Post
    BTW, carfax is the very first bullet
    Sorry! How did I miss that, as I specifically read that section.


    Quote Originally Posted by poly_poly-man View Post
    You've driven your car 3000 miles/year.
    Well, personally, I don't fall into either category. I take good care of it, but I don't stick it on blocks when it isn't driven. It sits outside all year. I've gone from one car when I bought it in 2002 to six vehicles now, so my mileage has dropped from 10K/year to 30-50 miles the last few years. Just enough to get it E-checked every couple of years and the occasional LERSOC meet. I'd still take one like mine over a high mileage car.

    And I'd still kick out any asshat that wanted to test my car like that.
    Last edited by smorris; 03-14-2011 at 09:35 PM.
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  13. #27
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    I'm with smorris on this one; there are more cars than people in my home, and one specific car we own is kept on a different continent. I drove that 2 km this past year, to buy petrol and re-inflate the tyres. Oh, and I changed a light bulb in that one too. YMMV. There are almost always exceptions...
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    The bottom line is that low mileage does not mean a car was well maintained, and high mileage does not mean a car was abused.

    Buyers should take all the factors into account when judging a potential purchase...

    Believe me, if TR ever sells his 02, I'll be first in line... and thats a super low mile with a salvage title.
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    Quote Originally Posted by devilfluff View Post
    Believe me, if TR ever sells his 02, I'll be first in line... and thats a super low mile with a salvage title.
    Yes that's a nice car! That's my favourite bugeye on the forum.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Hey guys...
    I read over the checklists in this forum and im going to give the car a run through.
    I've never owned a subaru so i found the tips/advise very helpful.
    If the car checks out mechanically what do you think its worth.
    It's a 2004 WRX with 154k. Its got pretty severe hail damage throughout and a few other dents/dings (im not worried about the body, as it will be my second car for the winter). The car is also owned by a buddy/co worker. He is just going to trade it in so i was going to just match that price.
    The dealer offered him only 1,100 dollars due to hail/body damage.
    Im going to get a compression test done as well. What numbers should i look for at this mileage and with what variation maximum?

    What do you feel a fair buddy/trade in price should be to offer him?
    (assuming car checks out mechanically)

    Thanks!

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