Buying a used WRX
Results 1 to 11 of 11

This is a discussion on Buying a used WRX within the Maintenance, service, and repair forums, part of the Tutorials & DIY category; Ok I would like some good tips/guide for buying a used wrx. Any good questions to ask, what to look ...

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    5

    Question Buying a used WRX

    Ok I would like some good tips/guide for buying a used wrx.
    Any good questions to ask, what to look for on a wrx that might hint at abuse, tips for taking a test drive...

    Any help, to a hopfuly soon wrx owner, would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    ClubWRX.net
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    CA, US
    Posts
    22,316
    I Support ClubWRX
    Do a search. Here's a link but it'll only get you started, you'll need to search the forum for more tips:

    im gettin a new wrx...any suggestions?

    Here's a quote but again, it's just a little info, search for a more complete picture of how to buy a used 02:

    "Be meticulous and cautious. Do not buy a modified car.

    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."

    __________________
    Last edited by SD_GR; 10-22-2004 at 08:55 AM.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    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.

  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    5
    Thanks for your reply, extremely helpful and for heading me in the right direction to look for some help.

    I have found one for sale around me that does look to me that bad, but you never know.
    I do have some pics of the engine of from the seller (not sure how old the pics are, since I havnt seen the car yet) but I will be bring a camera with me when when I go check it out.

    I thought I might post what then engine looks like and see if any of you guys here see anything really wrong with it before I get a chance to see it and take better pics of the engine and that.



    and an angle shot of the whole car.



    Well thanks again for the help. And hopefuly I will get some better pics. and get to take a look at the FSH.

  5. #4
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    CA, US
    Posts
    22,316
    I Support ClubWRX
    That car has gone through a set of tires. See if the suspension is stock. Look at the engine bay and check for wear on the bolts (from a wrench) and scrapes (from tools and parts being moved around) in the following areas:

    1. The turbo/uppipe/downpipe area, to the rear of the engine bay toward the passenger side.
    2. The intercooler to the center rear of the engine bay, including its hoses (e.g., the stubby thick one visible going into the IC directly in front of it, on top of the intake manifold), and its clamps. Also check the relieve valve mounted on the intercooler front toward the driver's side - has it been removed?
    3. If the car is a 5spd, how does the clutch feel? How do the gears engage? Are some gears notchy?
    4. Check the service record. When were the following procedures performed:
    (a) Clutch shudder recall
    (b) Driver seat rail bolt recall
    (c) If an early car (judging by the motor bay photo), did it require an ECU reflash?
    (d) All routine scheduled maintenance?
    (e) Did the car require an alignment when the tires were replaced? Why?
    (f) Check the drivers/passengers carpet in the area that goes beneath the dash, behind the centre console for any sign that it's been removed. If the stereo is stock, the ECU hasn't been reflashed by the factory during service (for early cars in the US) and the alarm system is factory, why has the carpet been pulled? Similarly, see if you can tell if the center console has ever been removed (possible culprits: short shifter, aftermarket engine management, other electronics such as turbo timer and/or boost controller or anything else requiring power, a ground, and/or access to the ECU harness).
    5. Are the wheel bearings OK?
    6. The rad cap is on a platform formed by the top of a metal fluid reservoir on the passenger side of the motor bay, halfway back. It's just above the turbo. WIth the car cold, *carefully* unscrew the cap. Wait. You might hear a few gurgles and the coolant level in the overflow plastic tank to the driver's side of the radiator up front might rise. That's fine. Check the coolant for black metal paint flakes, as the metal reservoir is an early version that came painted black. Subaru later changed their mind on that one; mine is not black so I can't get paint flakes in the coolant. I think they fixed this for people who asked but am unsure.
    7. Are all the exhaust bolts intact or have they been removed at one point?

    (To see what a bolt that's been wrenched might look like see the oil sump drain bolt, for example. That's one bolt I'd like to see with wrench marks. Any others I'd ask about - why were they worked on and by whom?).

    My personal preference is for stock cars with full service histories from people twice my age or more, and with twice my income or more (betting somebody qualified did the maintenance on the stock car that was garaged and so on, pie in the sky maybe but that's just me). Not that there's anything necessarilly wrong with a car that's been modified in the past, but do get the full story, judge the service record and the seller, and go from there IMO. There are people I'd gladly buy a modded used car from, and others from which I'd hesitate to borrow the car. YMMV.

    BTW be careful when you're doing all this, the body work is thin and the paint ridiculously easy to scratch up, and be safe (jack stands, proper care and so on).
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    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.

  6. #5
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    CA, US
    Posts
    22,316
    I Support ClubWRX
    Another thought:

    Run the VIN by a dealer to make sure the car hasn't been "blacklisted" previously and had warranty claims denied due to modifications/abuse. You'll want a valid factory warranty if the miles are still below 36K (full) or 60K (driveline). Smog-related warranties vary from state to state, and in my state it's 50K (including the turbo).
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    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.

  7. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    5
    SD_GR Can't thank you enough for all your help.

    I put a call in to the dealer, still has its driveline/drivetrain warranty but due to mileage has gone over the full warranty and according the subaru dealer has been in for the recalls items, seat and cruise control...

    Ran a Carfax report against the car as well, came back clean. No accidnet reported, and millage is consistent, lemon check and own checked out.

    Now just to go check it out later, and if it appears to be ok, see about taking it to a shop.

    Would you recommand a subaru dealer to handle this? I asked when I was on the phone with them about having the car checked out, they charge $75 and sounds like the check all the normal safty issues related and take it out for a road test as well to check for problems. I would think I could get them to take a look/test other things along with that since they seemed quite helpfull when I called, odd in my little experience, being that it was a dealer.

  8. #7
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    CA, US
    Posts
    22,316
    I Support ClubWRX
    A dealer that's not too crowded would be a decent bet, they'll know the car well enough and if they're careful they won't scratch it (the paint really scratches easily, never let anyone work on the motor without using a protective cover on the fender, and even then, pray).

    If there are no independent Subaru specialists you trust in your area, a dealer might be the way to go. The money isn't unreasonable at all if they are thorough. Maybe take a friend or two along to check the car over, the more people looking it over the more likely they'll spot something.

    You might also look at all the maintenance/engine performance/driveline fora on this site at the sticky threads to get a feel for what issues other owners have faced (and/or have caused...).

    Happy shopping.
    SD


    EDIT: PS. Early cars had a few radiator failures. The seam on the top tank of the rad would fail, and coolant would seep out from the seam joint. This car may have had the rad replaced or may be susceptible; check the rad especially around the top seam for white or pale green coolant residue. If I think of anything else I'll post back.
    Last edited by SD_GR; 10-22-2004 at 12:48 PM.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    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
    Registered User Red2002's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    133
    I bought my '02 in August of '03 and I can offer one piece of advice: exercise patience. I wanted to jump on every WRX I found, and was told by three independent used car dealers that the WRX is "rare" (2 of the 3 were WRB sedans, never see those ). I ended up finding a major dealer (Subaru, BMW, Audi, Hummer, Maserati, VW, Land Rover, Porsche) with a car on their lot they couldn't get rid of, had a mechanic buddy and a paint and body guy check it out and got the thumbs up from both. About 1 month and dozens of WRXs from my start, I paid less than what I planned on (and what all 3 other dealers wanted) for a car with 9,600 miles on the odo. As of yet, no trouble whatsoever, but then again, the catless uppipe and downpipe won't be here til next week.

    Good luck!

  10. #9
    Registered User TurboWill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    LI NY
    Posts
    3,109
    Hope you have alot of fun. Good luck with it.

    ________________
    Rally Red EVOVIII

  11. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    5
    Update: I went to checkout the car, looked ok. I was getting late in the day so I knew I needed a better look in the nice bright sun, plus I wanted it checked out. Had it over at a dealer, they gave a clean bill of health for the over all car... needed a few things fixed though, 2 rims, tires, brakes, rotors... mirror control busted, bulb for plate.

    It needed way to much work to be in any good working order in my option, if you could get in back to good condition. Looks like according to the service records at 21k all 4 tires replaced, plus a dented/warped rim($320) which wasnt replaced. Many thousand miles later came back yet again noted that the rim was bad and that the other sides rim was bad... so in the end it has spent somewhere in the range of 27,000's with a bad rim/s never being fixed. I would think that would be bad, balance, alignment... Driving at highway speeds you could tell there was something wrong with the wheels, miss alignment, and balancing.

    plus there was other smaller probs, and larger ones and some that would only show up with someone that didnít treat the car right. The service record had some big gaps in it. I am sure there was some power missing too, turbo maybe not working so hot? So I said good bye.

    Oh yeah, found out it was a kids car 18/19 going to college... man I wish my mom and dad had got me one of these when I was that age, I wouldnít have destroyed it like that... or maybe I would have... so no more cars from a kid, I had hoped that it would be ok. But I was wrong.

    I did take out a NICE 2005 WRX before I took the used one out to see how everything feels and sounds. All I can say is..... WOW

    Well after saying bye to what I was hoping to be a good car, I starting my search again. I found another one that was at a dealer that looks like it might be promising.

    Itís a wagon but I think I wouldn't be losing anything if I was to get a wagon, would I? And it was owned by a guy in his late 20's, has a family and the service record is complete no gaps looks like he truly used the dealer for all service done. Sounds like he got a new wrx through this buy a new wrx and trades your old '02 for a great trade-in price, which they ran. Went to the dealer and found all this out, and a test drive. Much better feel then the kidís wrx, more like a new one in every way shifting, power, handling...

    Well now I know what to look for better, and I am glad I dint get sucked into buying the first one I had my grubby little hands on. I canít wait till I find one that is good. I have to say it was hard not to sign the dotted line for the 05...

    Thanks for all the help again.

    - Nereus

  12. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Miami Beach
    Posts
    20

    Old thread

    This is an Old thread but if you still looking for a WRx or aren't I hope you get a good deal. It does take some paitents to find a good deal. I stumbled upon a 04 Sti with 3000 miles on it. Plus the previous owner had put an HKS titanium carbon muffler on it, and a set of Axis 19'' rims with Pzero neuro's. Car was mint. Plus i ran it on carfax and did a background check on the guy. Along with the car i got the original Stock BBS golds with Protenza rubbers. So the deals are out there you just have to look around. check E-bay, Check auto Trader even vehix.com. I found my gem through auto-trader. Good luck Wrx'ers

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •