2005 WRX cost of ownership, accident and repair
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This is a discussion on 2005 WRX cost of ownership, accident and repair within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I've been tracking my costs since I purchased my car in October of 2011. I'd like to present this information ...

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    2005 WRX cost of ownership, accident and repair

    I've been tracking my costs since I purchased my car in October of 2011. I'd like to present this information so that anyone looking at purchasing a used 2.0L, GD chassis WRX will be able to have anecdotal evidence to prepare them for the costs of ownership.




    In October 2011 I was lucky to find a single owner, unmodified, 2005 WRX with a full service history and about 75k Miles. I feel extremely fortunate to have found such a clean example of this year-model, and have not seen others like it for sale in my area.

    I purchased the car with an extra set of wheels, a radar detector and an aftermarket head-unit. The car also came with the stock wheels and stereo. I paid $13,250, before tax and interest on the loan that I took out. Starting at purchase, I have documented all of the costs associated with operation and maintenance of my vehicle. Here are some plots which give an idea of cost per day, cost per mile, and fuel usage.



    First (upper left) is a histogram of my fuel usage per mile. I track the number of miles that I've driven on my odometer and the number of gallons that I've used by the fuel pump at the gas station. Many of my miles are freeway miles, so my most-occurring fuel economy numbers are between 26-27 mpg.

    Second (upper right), a similar plot shows the fuel used versus miles on the car. I've plotted lines for 25 mpg and 29 mpg for comparison. My average so far has been around 26 mpg.

    I've also plotted my total cost of ownership per time and per mile. This includes fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc. The slope of these plots gives the cost per day and cost per mile (neglecting discontinuities due to insurance, maintenance, accident repair and purchase).

    The lower left plot shows that my average operating cost is around 16.5-17 cents per mile. If I include all of the discontinuities in my calculation, my recent cost per mile is about $1.28 per mile (or about $0.55 per mile without initial purchase price).

    When you are purchasing a vehicle, it may be important to consider the cost amortized over the total time of ownership. Thus I have also included a plot (lower right) of cost vs time. When I first purchased the vehicle, I only drove on the weekends (about 100 miles per week), thus my cost per day was around $3. When I moved and began to commute (about 300 miles per week), my cost per day increased to $10-$13 per day (not including discontinuities).


    Notes about major discontinuities:

    Insurance: First 6 mos. of full coverage was about $428 (AAA insurance), second 6 mos was about $434. The third 6 mos. was $630 (same coverage, no accidents or tickets, but I moved, Esurance). The fourth 6 months was about $1132 (same coverage, State Farm, after accident).

    Accident and Repair: I had an accident on 2013-02-08 and spent about $4900 repairing the car until 2013-04-27.
    Last edited by Obeisance; 11-17-2013 at 05:21 AM.
    David - '05 WRX

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    Although many others have done similar, I am ashamed to admit that I was in a single car accident. I will try to find a flame suit that fits as I recount my tale.

    On 2013-02-08 around 6:45 am I was commuting to school/work. There had been a heavy, slushy snow of about 6 inches the previous night. Travelling westbound, keeping up with traffic at about 40 mph (4th gear, about 2 k rpm), I changed lanes to the leftmost lane where no cars were. The slush in that lane caught my left front tire and pulled me left towards the median. As I countersteered to correct, the car kept sliding. I let off the gas to begin slowing down, but the problem persisted. I then hit the brakes and continued to slide off the road, locking up the wheels. The car rotated slightly counterclockwise so that I impacted the barrier with the front end only (I believe that I had stalled the car before impact). Since the barrier was a steel post + cable type, the front bumper didn’t catch much of the impact, rather, the cables slowed the car by pushing directly onto the AC condenser and radiator and the supports. Two poles in front of the car were bent over. No glass broke and the airbags in the car didn’t deploy. However, the front quarter panels, hood and hood scoop, radiator and radiator supports, bumper cover and headlights were all damaged.



    After the accident, I called 911 and waited for the state police to come. A tow truck soon found me and the driver and his assistant waited with me until 8:30 am when the police officer arrived. After that, my car was towed on a flatbed to Colonial Collision in Plymouth MI. I now know that I should have asked if he accepted AAA, rather than find out after the fact that towing would not be covered by that and would be much more expensive than my insurance policy covers.
    In spite of the fact that the radiator was damaged, as well as the timing belt cover, the auto shop planned to drive my car to move it around. This means that if there is actual timing belt damage, they will cause the car intensive damage as pistons collide with the valves. Lucky for me, the belt turns out to be fine.


    Here you can see how the car was stopped by the cable- right on the radiator support. I was lucky that the car only had direct front-on damage.



    The cable cut straight through the bumper cover, knocking it off, bypassing the bumper, and stopping the car on the radiator supports.



    The cable barrier was a three cable design. The lower cable pressed against the front of the car, while the middle cable slid up over the hood (the upper one was too high to contact). I realize that I am very fortunate that the cable didn't make it to the A-pillars; I've heard stories about how these cables can be very damaging to vehicles and occupants. http://jalopnik.com/this-is-the-firs...ic-r-472880453

    I call the shop regularly to see how much progress has been made in the repair
    On 2013-02-11 an initial estimate is made- it will cost $6844.06 to repair the car.
    On 2013-02-18 I was told that my car was next in line to go onto a lift which will help measure for any frame bending
    On 2013-02-25 I was told that my car was in the stage where broken parts are being removed.
    0n 2013-03-04 esurance lists the car as a total loss. I call the collision shop to find that there was engine damage, (timing belt cover broken, pulley damage) possibly cam bearing damage- this is not advisable for repair. I’ll go see for myself. There is also damage to the subframe and wiring harness which were not previously visible.
    Esurance directs me to a total loss claim advisor.


    Here's an image of the timing belt cover damage. The cover was contacted by the radiator-fan shroud. The shop told me that this was very hard plastic and likely impacted the camshaft bearings such that the engine would fail soon after the car was repaired.


    Insurance company says that they will not be liable for storage costs beyond the 7th.
    To remove car on the 4th of March it would cost: $765 towing, $160 carry on charge, storage $720.

    On 2013-03-07 I decide to retrieve the car myself. Upon emailing my loss adjustor about this (and saying that I was disappointed that so far it seems that Esurance is not interested in helping me), he contacts me.
    I return the rental car, having accrued about $880 in total fees, 840 of which esurance covers.
    My loss adjustor tells me that I have two options if I don’t want to pay the storage/towing fees myself: release the car to esurance to move to a storage free facility (they would retain ownership of the car and would auction it off, he already has potential buyers) or retain the car myself and have Colonial Collision fix it and they would waive the storage/towing fee. I am disappointed to learn that they are already trying to sell my car, before even settling with me (I mean to say, I now believe that ‘storage free facility’ means that they take the car to auction- a very misleading name).
    When I get to the shop, the owner is on the phone with my loss adjustor, and somehow manages to get esurance to pay for the release of my car- a total of $1487. I start and drive the car onto our trailer and, with the help of dad, deliver it home to restore it.

    This whole process was very dissappointing to me. I have developed an unfortunate attachment to this car since it is my first self-owned vehicle, since I extended myself financially to get it and since I know that I cannot afford or find another like it. I feel as though I made many missteps in trying to get it fixed, the first of which was taking it to the first shop that I found (I had no predetermined preference). In hindsight, I should have taken it straight home. Although the shop did me a great favor by not letting the insurance company take the car away to auction when I said it was okay to move to "fee-free storage," they did hold my car for a month while my rental coverage ran out. I suspect that the shop didn't actually get to looking at my car until at least three weeks had passed, in spite of what they told me on the phone. Additionally, they filed a supplemental damage claim which put the cost to repair the vehicle about $10k, well above the actual cost to repair it- I suspect here that they were being extra cautious with a somewhat old turbo car.

    In the end, I decided that I could fix it for much cheaper than I could buy a similar car. All arguments with the insurance company about calling it a "total loss" and getting a salvage title were a waste of time. They would rather pay me the 9K to total it than the 5K to fix it. I then get to have a car with the scarlet letter and I expect that this depreciates its insurable value since a future "total loss" settlement would be for the salvaged vehicle. Oh well- I'll take the settlement money and save it in case I need future repairs. My intention all along had been to drive the car until it was no longer safe to drive- to drive it into the ground, as they say. I just hadn't meant to be so literal. I still have no intention of selling the car and feel very blessed whenever I get back into it and know that I still get to have its driving experience.
    Last edited by Obeisance; 08-24-2013 at 05:58 AM.
    David - '05 WRX

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    On 2013-03-08
    I contact Liberty Wholesale Auto parts in Toledo ( http://www.libertyusedparts.com/ ) to purchase the front clip from an ’05 impreza 2.5RS, and the hood, scoop, left fender, radiator and timing belt cover for a wrx for $3300. With these parts I could repair the car. I will also replace the timing belt since that time is near.

    2013-03-09 I begin removing broken parts (+10 hours labor)


    Here's the car with the crushed front removed.

    2013-03-11, order timing belt kit with water pump.

    2013-03-15 I receive an initial offer of $9,011 as a total settlement, without any breakdown of how the car value was obtained or of how the payment will be broken down. (i.e. was this the total value of the car, or is it the owner-retain value, having already removed the salvage/auction value; have the previous payments been deducted, or how about my deductible? I ask for an explanation of how the value was determined via email.

    2013-03-16 by now, I’ve replaced the timing belt, water pump and thermostat. I felt the lack of play in the cam bearings, so I am confident that the engine is undamaged. I have repaired the wiring harness (trivial) and have finished removing the broken parts (fenders, subframe, radiator support). (+10 hours labor)


    Well, with the front end removed, changing the timing belt is super easy.

    2013-03-20 I pick up some parts of the front clip of a 2.5 RS to use as donor parts and finalize payment- with tax it is $3522.75


    Here's the front frame from the 2.5RS that I can use to replace the radiator support.

    2013-03-22 I call and leave a message requesting the info that I asked for in an email; my claims adjustor gives me the CCC report listing similar cars, although many have more miles, and decreasing my car by $121 for poor carpet condition. They are also decreasing the value because it says that my car does not have side impact airbags or a CD player (although they do say it has a CD changer). I can provide photographic evidence that the carpet is in good condition and that it has the side airbags. Also, they are requesting me to sign my title and send it to them. I looked on the Michigan SOS page, and it says that a salvage title is not required for low weight cars over 6 model years old.

    2013-03-23 I work to prep and paint parts: Dad helps separate the radiator support components from the donor car, and I wire wheel them, the sub frame and bumper bar and paint them with chassis saver paint (contains zinc in a viscous polyurethane). (about 10 hours of work).


    Here's the replacement bumper, subframe and radiator supports having been covered with a zinc-containing chassis paint.

    2013-03-24 I send the photos of my carpet, stock radio and srs airbag seat labels to loss adjuster

    2013-03-30 Well, Liberty Used Parts got the wrong hood (06-07 style) but got the correct scoop, fender and bumper cover. They also gave the correct fog light. I painted some chassis saver on the underside of the car and assembled the front bumper, radiator support (put on sensors, wiring and horns). I tried to install the subframe, but the passenger side front post that it mounts to was bent up and toward the driver side by about 0.25 inches. We’ll need a frame machine to straighten this out. I re-install the rear sway bar and install the front endlink that had broken (10 hours). I make a list of parts that I still need.

    2013-04-01 Dad took the car to a body shop and pulled the misaligned subframe post (while having the car anchored by the opposite side tow hook) to install the new subframe. He also installed all of the burnt out fuses. Then, Mom washed the car.

    2013-04-06 I go to Dwyer and sons Subaru to order the remaining clips and brackets (about $210). It appears that I cannot purchase the foam piece which goes in between the fender liner and door jam for the driver side.

    2013-04-09 I call Liberty used parts to check on the final missing parts for my car: hood, upper scoop duct, under cover, radiator and fans, grille (&emblem). I give the part number for the under cover and inner duct, and he thinks we should be on schedule for Friday to get this all done.
    On my drive home from school, I notice that the wire fence which was damaged in my accident has now been repaired.

    2013-04-11 I call my loss adjustor to ask for updates. I remind him that my claim is 2 months old now.
    I also give liberty wholesale my actual VIN so that they can get the correct hood.

    2013-04-13 I finish touching up parts with chassis saver (bolt heads, support pillar that was bent), I test the electrical system (all lights and horns work except driver side fog lamp, the bulb is burnt out). There is not much left to do until I get the rest of my parts.


    Here's the car after the frame and running parts are installed. All that's left is to put the body parts back on.

    2013-04-25: My loss adjustor finally gets numbers to me about how much he thinks my settlement is worth. The actual cash value of my car is increased (do to the airbags, etc.) from $11,229 to $11,530, but he is decreasing the amount that Esurance would pay to me from $9,011.62 to $8,638.88.

    2013-04-27 I finish re-assembly of the car (about 8 hours). It drives just like it previously had. I am very happy with this!


    Here's the finished car.
    Last edited by Obeisance; 11-17-2013 at 06:20 AM.
    David - '05 WRX

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    Now, I am still too attached to my car; I keep having dreams about crashing or losing it. On the other hand, this whole ordeal has helped me have a change in perspective.

    Firstly, I can now appreciate the stock performance of my car. I read too many stories from others on the forum who seem to spend more time working on their car due to tuning difficulties. I would really like my car to last and the under poweredness of the stock 2.0L engine has a particular charm.

    Secondly, I think that I am more prepared for the eventual loss of my car. It will have to happen at some point.

    Finally, although this does not vindicate me, every time there is any inclement weather (even just fog or rain), there is a new accident in the place where I had my accident. I guess that place catches bad drivers a lot.

    I still stand by my claim that the shop that I took my car to gave an inappropriate assessment of the damage to my car. I can support this idea by the fact that it took me less than $4,900 to repair, and it has been more than 6 months and 10k miles since the repair and my car is running fine. But what is done is done. I can move on and continue to enjoy the vehicle.
    David - '05 WRX

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    It's been nearly one year since the accident, and I still enjoy my car daily.

    Lately I've been getting an intermittent P0420 CEL. I've read that this code is common on un-tuned GD WRX's, especially when exhaust flow rates have been modified. I've read that this code is thrown by the rear oxygen sensor, and that it is nothing more than a nuisance code (not really affecting the health of the car). I've also read that on cars with a 32 bit ECU, the rear O2 sensor is actually used in fueling adjustments (Uncle Scotty on NASIOC) and that the mechanical fixes should be avoided.... I don't think that this applies to me.

    In my skepticism of information on the internet, I decided to break in my VAG COM cable and take a few data logs to see if there might be other problems which accompany the CEL (maybe I had a boost leak which was affecting the A/F ratio, or maybe the rear oxygen sensor was going bad).

    https://drive.google.com/folderview?...nc&usp=sharing

    In my pulls, I was on a snowy country road (and I decided not to go to redline in 3rd gear because I don't want to speed, because it was quite slippery out (lots of wheelspin when boost kicked in on the first pull)).

    I noticed that the boost level was appropriate (14.6 ish peak psi, staying around the 13.38 target), that there was no consistent fbkc or flck with an IAM of 16, and that both oxygen sensors have varying numbers. I concluded that there is nothing wrong with my car. After all, it seems to drive fine. The CEL may very well indicate that my rear cats are dying in my 107 kMi vehicle.

    Finally, I am considering doing something about the CEL because it may come on and mask a true "problem" CEL. My best option is to tune the car (and eliminate this code), leaving the exhaust mechanically stock. I don't want to modify the exhaust or the power of the tune yet because I do not have the appropriate A/F gauges or sensors to monitor changes.

    I wonder, if my catalytic converters are actually going bad, what harm can this cause the car? Once I remove the CEL, will the dying stock exhaust cause me more problems?
    Last edited by Obeisance; 02-08-2014 at 04:33 AM.
    David - '05 WRX

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    Well, I decided to log my entire commute into work today.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByG...it?usp=sharing

    Incidentally, my CEL has been coming on and shutting off every couple hundred miles. I have been assuming that the light is the same P0420 as I had read a few weeks back. Today, during my log (about halfway through my commute) the CEL came back on and stayed on for the rest of the trip. I was not logging the rear O2 sensor, unfortunately, but I did notice a few interesting things.

    When I "accelerate quickly" onto an on ramp to get to freeway speeds, I only boost to 4.5 psi or so, and I accelerate from 0-60 in about 14 seconds. This feels plenty fast to me, so I never realized how slow it really was.

    I still do not know how to read the datalog for problems, so if anyone wants to sift through this long file to give an opinion and to teach me something, I would appreciate it.
    David - '05 WRX

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    Registered User SilverSemoWrx's Avatar
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    I would say you are very dedicated to this car! I myself have a 2004 and over replacing parts such as a clutch quite a few unexpected expenses come up from finding other things are bad. I've done an uppipe, upstream o2 sensor, clutch, flywheel, passenger side axle, and I still need to do some routine maintenance before I can even spend money to make it look nice and handle like I want.
    ~2004 Subaru Wrx - Stage 2
    ~2013 Honda Civic

    -I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.
    -Nobody remembers the guy who finished second but the guy who finished second.
    -Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary… that’s what gets you.

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    Registered User SilverSemoWrx's Avatar
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    If you can get a log of the rear o2 sensor if it just sits at 14.7 then it is bad. That's what mine did. Replaced it and no CEL and it fluxes like its suppose to when running. But that was my upstream. Not the downstream.
    ~2004 Subaru Wrx - Stage 2
    ~2013 Honda Civic

    -I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.
    -Nobody remembers the guy who finished second but the guy who finished second.
    -Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary… that’s what gets you.

  10. #9
    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    Finally, a response to my thread!! (thanks SilverSemo)


    Here are some plots I've made from the above logs. I forgot to log both A/F and rear O2 together in some of the measurements. A few things are immediately apparent:
    1) Long timescale plots are very messy and hard to look at.
    2) The values for A/F and for rear O2 are varying, so I doubt that the sensors are at fault.
    3) During normal cruising (likely closed loop fueling), there appear to be correlations between the rear O2 sensor, Injector duty cycle, and engine speed.

    The fact that there are correlations is not surprising to me: I understand that as I change the throttle position, the car will change the fueling (IDC) as it tries to maintain an appropriate A/F ratio, and the rear O2 sensor will reflect the change in the exhaust. My primary purpose in posting these plots it just to show changing values (i.e. that my sensors appear to be working). If anyone wants to re-educate my evaluation, please do so.
    David - '05 WRX

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    I read the whole thread, and you are very dedicated I saw those wire guard rails in your picture, and immediately thought "MICHIGAN!!!" I live in the Kalamazoo area (paw paw actually) and have seen cars messed up quite a bit worse than yours was, luckily you didn't bounce back into traffic. I currently live in the UP going to MTU. Repairing the car to that extent, although not fun because it is broken, looks like it would be fun getting it back together. Putting that much love and work into your car must make it that much more special, and Im sure it will be a very reliable and long lasting car in your hands. That "I can do it myself" attitude is one I found with my old car, and it has been one that has paid off, your car is in good hands

    If you ever need help or some Subaru friends to hang with, I have friends who live in Ann arbor, flint, grand rapids, and Kalamazoo who love to get together to work on cars and cruise. PM me, we are all up at Michigan tech university right now, but would be down to hang out in the summer

  12. #11
    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    Here's an update to the cost of ownership:



    My car now has about 109 kMiles (35 kMiles since I've owned it): apart from my accident, I have not had major maintenance costs. I have, however had occurrences of a few of the common ailments for WRX's

    97kMiles - Front O2 sensor
    101kMiles - Front passenger side, inner CV boot leak - I clamp with worm gear
    106kMiles - P0420, intermittent occurrences, A/F learning above +10%

    My fuel economy histogram is approaching the shape of a nice gaussian distribution.
    My cost/mile is approaching the cost of fuel over time, just as it should.

    Lately, I've begun datalogging on my stock-tuned car with a vag-com cable and romraider. I noticed that I have good boost behavior (my car does not have a boost gauge), but that my fuel learning was higher than recommended. I have not had driveability issues, but I tried to fix the A/F learning value by cleaning my MAF and checking for intake/vacuum leaks. I will continue to monitor this issue.
    David - '05 WRX

  13. #12
    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    I would like to add a link to my clock pod mod thread tying that to this car:

    Clock pod mod with Subarb Select Monitor ECU polling and Arduino
    David - '05 WRX

  14. #13
    Registered User tarpon1959's Avatar
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    This is really nice.... The front end sequence you went thru is what I am looking at....

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