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This is a discussion on Need Experienced Advice within the Car Purchasing Forum forums, part of the ClubWRX.net Marketplace category; All, In trying to be wiser with finances, I'm trying to get rid of a car payment, and get into ...

  1. #1
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    Need Experienced Advice

    All,
    In trying to be wiser with finances, I'm trying to get rid of a car payment, and get into something in the $9k range so that I can pay cash.
    I live in CO (Denver area), and am looking at WRXs in the 2003 - 2006 range.

    It looks like I can either get something older, in the 90-110k mileage range, or 2005-2006 in the 150k mileage range. I'm trying to decide if I should shy away from a WRX with 150k miles?
    I used to have a TDI and wouldn't worry about that kind of mileage at all, as long as the timing belt was up to date - but I don't know WRXs that well. I commute about 75 miles/day, and while I ride my motorcycle whenever I can, I still end up driving quite a bit. Am I walking into a money pit if I buy a WRX with 150k miles, or is the WRX going to be like other Subies, and run forever with proper maintenance?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Registered User Ruh Roh's Avatar
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    shoot for under 100k. save until you find something all stock.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruh Roh View Post
    shoot for under 100k. save until you find something all stock.
    The most recent one I found is all stock.

    I don't want a modded car - but I'm trying to weigh the value of a 2006 vs. a 2003, with 50k difference in miles.
    If someone said "oh, you'll run that to 250k easy" I'd jump on it.
    If someone said "you'll need a new motor at 175k" I'd bail.

    Better to get the older, slightly less attractive car, to get one at 90k miles? Or is the 2006 a better all-around vehicle, and the miles don't really matter?

  5. #4
    MAINEiac 11blackSTi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slothluvchunk View Post
    The most recent one I found is all stock.

    I don't want a modded car - but I'm trying to weigh the value of a 2006 vs. a 2003, with 50k difference in miles.
    If someone said "oh, you'll run that to 250k easy" I'd jump on it.
    If someone said "you'll need a new motor at 175k" I'd bail.

    Better to get the older, slightly less attractive car, to get one at 90k miles? Or is the 2006 a better all-around vehicle, and the miles don't really matter?
    Honestly, blanket statements regarding years and miles cannot really be made. It varies so much car to car. You could have a 2012 with 10K miles on it and the engine could blow if it is not properly cared for. You could have a 2003 with 100K miles on it that could go another 100K miles if it is/was properly cared for.

    Your best bet would be to get one that has proper maint records and have a knowledgeable mechanic look it over (really closely) once you find the car you want. To be 100% honest, if you are looking to be wiser with your finances (I interpret this as saving money), you might not want to buy an old WRX.

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    $9K on a car that would be your work transportation isn't a lot to spend for performance car. If $9K is really your high budget you might be better off getting a newer economy car with little miles and factory warranty, like a Nissan or Kia. Even if you find a good WRX for $9K you may end up paying more money over time to maintain it. The WRX IMO isn't a budget car but more of a higher end performance car. Trying to cut expenses and paying cash is a great thing for you to do. Buying a performance car on a budget usually doesn't fit that line of thinking though.

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    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 11blackSTi View Post
    Honestly, blanket statements regarding years and miles cannot really be made. It varies so much car to car. You could have a 2012 with 10K miles on it and the engine could blow if it is not properly cared for. You could have a 2003 with 100K miles on it that could go another 100K miles if it is/was properly cared for.

    Your best bet would be to get one that has proper maint records and have a knowledgeable mechanic look it over (really closely) once you find the car you want. To be 100% honest, if you are looking to be wiser with your finances (I interpret this as saving money), you might not want to buy an old WRX.
    Great answer here. Generally speaking, a Subaru should last quite a while as long as they are cared for. But as said here, you just never know when something could happen and why. And as a car gets more and more miles, there's a much more increased chance for an issue to occur. That being said, I have near 130k on my STI (at Stage 2 since 110k, all stock) and the engine runs incredibly well. Power is all there, very little oil consumption, etc.

    There's nothing wrong with having a bugeye. They are highly sought after, and if you can find one stock with 110k or under for a good price, that's not a bad thing (as long as maintenance history checks out, etc.).

    I'd prefer to look for a car that is as new as you can get, with as low miles as you can get. Maybe it's a sliding scale....
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    Quote Originally Posted by 11blackSTi View Post
    Honestly, blanket statements regarding years and miles cannot really be made. It varies so much car to car. You could have a 2012 with 10K miles on it and the engine could blow if it is not properly cared for. You could have a 2003 with 100K miles on it that could go another 100K miles if it is/was properly cared for.

    Your best bet would be to get one that has proper maint records and have a knowledgeable mechanic look it over (really closely) once you find the car you want. To be 100% honest, if you are looking to be wiser with your finances (I interpret this as saving money), you might not want to buy an old WRX.

    Thanks - that makes sense.
    I am more concerned about finding a better car, holistically, than anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by delnari
    $9K on a car that would be your work transportation isn't a lot to spend for performance car. If $9K is really your high budget you might be better off getting a newer economy car with little miles and factory warranty, like a Nissan or Kia. Even if you find a good WRX for $9K you may end up paying more money over time to maintain it. The WRX IMO isn't a budget car but more of a higher end performance car. Trying to cut expenses and paying cash is a great thing for you to do. Buying a performance car on a budget usually doesn't fit that line of thinking though.
    I hear you.
    It's not that I'm on a budget - it's that I don't want to borrow money to purchase a depreciating asset. I don't mind putting money into a performance vehicle, and I wouldn't be looking at WRXs if I wanted a budget car. My question really revolves around the validity of a WRX with 150k miles on it - is it dried up and useless at that point, or does it still have a lot of life left in it. All things being equal, would you prefer the older car with fewer miles, or the newer car with more miles? I ask because I don't know the car well enough to know what advancements might have been made between 2002 and 2006 (for example), that might sway the decision one way or another. It should be assumed I'm speaking "all things being equal" here - I understand that I can't possibly compare apples and oranges.

    I don't want a budget car - I'm getting rid of one high performance car (different kind of performance, of course), and wanting to get a less-new, less-valuable performance car as a daily driver. If I put a couple grand into it over the next couple years, that doesn't bother me - but I do want something that remains reliable.
    If I were looking at the 2.5L impreza, I'd know it isn't much of a worry. I had a shop vehicle years ago with that engine and probably put a quarter- million miles on the thing.

    The WRS is definitely a performance minded vehicle, but it isn't a "high end" performance vehicle. It is a value-conscious performance oriented car, and that is why it has such mass appeal to so many of us. It is attainable. I realize I'm stretching it, and I'm just trying to figure out if there is still value in what I'm attempting to do or not.

    If not, then I'm happy to ride my bike for the next few months, and save a few grand and get something newer in the $15k range.

    Thanks all, for your help and advice so far.
    Keep it coming - I might argue, but it's helping me think through this - thanks.

  9. #8
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    Your thought process on this is good, and I like that you know what it is you want. The lower-end performance car like the WRX is a bargain for it is. All cars have parts that naturally wear out over time and not just from mileage alone. Sounds like you are going in with eyes wide open. Is the WRX built with the same grade of materials found on a high-end European car, not really. It is what it is, a low-entry price performance car based on the Impreza platform with materials and under-pinning materials that you typically find on these lower end vehicles. That said, life expectancy of the parts are not going to be much beyond normal life of 12-17 years. As you read through the threads here you will see some of the factory parts are removed and replaced with stronger and better 3rd party parts that include areas such as drive train, braking, suspension, etc.

    Buying a 6-10 year old WRX might be better with these mods already made than one that is bone stock from day one. Not all the mods are simply for performance but longer vehicle life. Again, read some of the threads and get an idea of what people here are doing and why to their WRX's. Good luck with your decision.

  10. #9
    and the Funky Bunch Calvinball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delnari View Post
    Buying a 6-10 year old WRX might be better with these mods already made than one that is bone stock from day one. Not all the mods are simply for performance but longer vehicle life. Again, read some of the threads and get an idea of what people here are doing and why to their WRX's. Good luck with your decision.
    The problem with buying a modded WRX is that far too many people don't do modifications correctly. It's not a Honda, these cars for the most part are very temperamental when you modify them. I think it is going to be just as difficult, if not more so, to find a WRX that has been "modded for longer vehicle life," whatever that may entail, than to find a stock car.
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