Question on Buying Used WRX
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This is a discussion on Question on Buying Used WRX within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Well Fellas, After trolling these boards for about two years now, I need to leech some more information out of ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Damon's Avatar
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    Question on Buying Used WRX

    Well Fellas,
    After trolling these boards for about two years now, I need to leech some more information out of yall.
    Due to monetary reasons (an upcoming proposal/marrage, age, etc) I have to buy a used WRX. So, what things should I look for or have a mechanic look for to check for abuse/racing/excesive wear?

    I'm fairly mechanically inclined, so I'm not scared to stick my hands and head places. So far, I think I'll check the break rotors for deep grooves and tires for excessive wear.

    Any thing else yall can think of, let me know. Thanks!!

    P.S.-- And if you think I should just wait the extra six months to save up a down payment to buy a brand new one, let me know that as well.
    --Damon

    '04 Black 1.8t GTI
    (O8o)===W===(o8O)

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  3. #2
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    Well...what are you going to do with the car?

    and how mechanically inclined are you?

    Most WRX drivers aside from the majority in the older age group probably beat the snot out of their cars...its one of those cars thats just hard to find not abused in some way. Plus, you dont know about the break in....i would wait if youve got a working car now and buy new.

  4. #3
    Registered User Damon's Avatar
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    The car would be a daily driver.

    I personally don't care if it was driven "spiritfully." Who could resist anyway? I just don't want the car to be excessively abused.

    The vehicle I have now is starting to see the beginning of the end, methinks. Fords and 65k miles usually spells trouble. Right now I have a leak in my transmission case and another one at my rear main seal..
    --Damon

    '04 Black 1.8t GTI
    (O8o)===W===(o8O)

  5. #4
    Registered User Damon's Avatar
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    ttt
    Anyone else? Is this in the wrong forum section?
    --Damon

    '04 Black 1.8t GTI
    (O8o)===W===(o8O)

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    Check to see that every gear works. Hard launches have been known to break gears.

    Drive with the car in a few gears at full throttle to see if the clutch is slipping.

    Ask to see proof of regular maintenance.

    Other than that, have fun!!!

  7. #6
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Ditto that. You're looking for full service history (FSH) and ideally from a dealer only. Also look for no modifications. Don't worry about what the owner says, that's irrelevant. Look at all the bolts along the exhaust and intake and turbo and see if they have wrench marks. If they do, move on. Look for leaks. Look at the driver's carpet -- is it too worn for the indicated mileage? Run a search with my user name and key words like "FSH" as I swear I've answered a similar question some time. Don't buy an "un-modded" car from someone with grease under their fingernails.

    Next, gather up green papers with US presidents on one side. Take it to a mechanic (independent) and shell out $100 for a full look-over. Then take it to a body shop and find someone there that'd take a $50 to tell you if all the seams are original or if the car has been sprayed (read: wrecked).

    Buy a car from a couple in their late 20s/early 30s that have outgrown it due to kids/pets/whatever. Chances are they've used their own money to get the car to begin with and have better things to do with their time/money than thrash a $25K car about.

    Do run that search, I seem to recall more good points being made.

    Happy shopping!
    SD
    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.

  8. #7
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    AHA! MORE...

    Here's the original response I gave to another poster a while back:

    Only buy a car with FSH in the form of a logbook and original receipts in the owner's name from an authorized dealer or repair facility (no independents for the FSH on such a new car).

    Take it to an independent specialist and have them do a compression test, check the turbo shaft for play, check the brakes and clutch for wear, and pull 100 ml samples of motor oil, gearbox oil, and coolant - have these analyzed by an independent lab. Ask the owner what brand lubrication/cooling products are in use - if you get a blank stare or BS, do not buy the car. If you get an answer, send the samples in for testing and use your own fresh fluid (same type indicated by owner) to replenish the car if needed.

    Have the mechanic comment on the plugs while they are out.

    Have the shop pull any ECU codes. If no codes, check the battery terminal for wear indicating it's had contact with a wrench - if the FSH doesn't indicate any reason to pull off the terminal, the ECU codes may have been blanked by the owner. Ask and depending on the answer, decide...

    Find a body shop and pay a body repair person to take a look at the body and tell you if it's been re-sprayed and if all the seams are original, and if any panels have been replaced.

    Check the condition of the driver's floor mat. It should not look ancient in a car with low mileage. The usual pedal cover check doesn't apply, as these are metal. Check the wheels/rubber for ridiculous wear that doesn't correspond to the driven-by-granny-to-church-only story you may have heard.

    Do not buy a car with a spotless engine bay. Find a nice dirty one. Look for streaks of fluid and/or other leak signs. Look for juice marks on the tarmac where the car is usually parked. Check the exhaust component bolts from the manifold all the way to the muffler, turbo and up/down pipe included of course, and see if they've ever been removed. Check the story.

    Look all around the car and inside the engine bay for anything that looks out of place or that doesn't agree with the image a machine put together at a factory by pros and robots would portray - signs of an aspiring "tuner" should make you run.

    This will take time and effort, and will not be free, but it will ensure you'll have a fighting chance of getting what you think you're getting. Don't rush to buy a car, it's simply not worth it. This is a Subaru, they make them every day and you'll find another soon enough. Rushing costs money.
    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.

  9. #8
    Moderator GV27's Avatar
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    I'd agree with everything that SD said except for the part about buying from a dealer - I know of a lot of dealers that will trade for anything and try to pawn it off on the first sucker they find. I trust individuals much more!

    Anicdote: A freind of mine many years ago bought a V6 Corrado. He loved the car and treated it well but never made a single payment. It got repo'd. A month or so later it showed up on a dealer lot in town. Undoubtadly they bought it at auction. Just for laughes we took it for a testdrive. The salesmen said "yeah, the guy who had it outgrew it and traded it for a minivan. Boy was he sorry to see this car go." My buddy said "yeah, I bet he was!". The salesman couldn't figure out why we were all laughing hysterically! Lyin' SOB!

    I'd also disagree with the part about them being beat on. In Colorado at least most WRXs seem to be owned by middle-aged people. As an example - in my office of 50 people there are 5 WRX owners. The youngest of us is 28, the oldest in his late 40s. All are well cared for - the guy who's in his 40s probably drives the car the hardest, or maybe it's me (I'm 33). But mine at least gets first class maintenance and I like to think I have a load of mechanical sympathy. Same goes for the guy in his 40s. (as an aside, I expect him to trade his for an STi shortly - he's a VP and makes a minimum of $150k/year and keeps drooling over them).

    C
    Last edited by GV27; 09-26-2003 at 09:26 PM.
    "Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me." -Jesus

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  10. #9
    Registered User Damon's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Wow, guys. Thanks for the good responses!!
    I'm going to evaluate the mechanical well-being of my truck and go from there.

    Once again, teh best board EVAR!
    --Damon

    '04 Black 1.8t GTI
    (O8o)===W===(o8O)

  11. #10
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    check the bolts for the turbo heatshield. I don't know anyone who's installed an uppipe or downpipe that was able to get them all back on.

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