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Hello!

I’m looking to get rid of my Xterra and switch to a WRX. I love the performance/reliability/fuel efficiency of the vehicle and I’m looking to make minor mods down the road!

I’m looking at 2015 and newer. I know it’s risky to buy used so I was looking for any tips on things to look out for when buying. I’m doing the bulk of my searching through dealerships. Should I stay under a certain mileage when looking? Obviously I’m also going to make sure I have service records and the like, but I also want to know what to look for when test driving and inspecting the car. I know the clutch can go out pretty quick on these, are there things I can hear or feel for? Thanks for all the help! I hope to be apart of the fam soon!
 

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Inspect the bay for anything modified. Any aftermarket parts need a specific tune to support them. Cobb OTS tunes are not a one size fits all.

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Take a long time to ride around in the WRX. If you can take one out for a few hours, that's the best option. Drive on the roads you drive on daily. I've heard some people who go from SUV's to WRX's and they end up hating the car due to its stiff ride.

Pull up pictures of what the motor looks like from the factory and closely compare it to the WRX engine bay. Check bolts for tooling marks. Exhaust bolts are tight and heavy, so they will show this a lot. See if the corrosion on the cat-back matches the other exhaust corrosion. Or if the exhaust parts look brand new, that's a sign that the OEM exhaust had been sitting in someone's garage during the life of the vehicle.

Check for parts in the engine bay that look clean compared to the rest of the engine bay, specifically the intake. Firmly grip parts and shake them around to feel if they seem loose or have any rattles from not being tightened down correctly or missing fastener hardware.

Look for badges that don't match OEM badges. Also, cars missing the standard Subaru/vehicle model markings on the back can be a sign of a car owner who likes to modify. Check for vinyl overlays around the head lights and fog lights. Compare trim pieces to pictures of a stock WRX. Look at the head unit. Look at the tires to make sure they don't seem shredded.

If the car looks like it has an aftermarket stereo, that's not necessarily a good sign. Unless you have the Harmon Kardon upgrade, the speakers in the WRX suck. Inspect the install to make sure it looks subtle and professional.

Make sure the wheels are OEM. Look carefully for aftermarket springs and you can compare ride height to pictures of other WRX's. Go to the dealership and take a look and drive a new WRX for comparison. Obviously, some things will have changed on the newer models, but it will give you an idea of how things should look and feel.

It sounds stupid, but I would really inspect a car with very dark window tint. Below 20%. There are adults who prefer this, but I find that a lot of blacked out windows are driven by kids who care about looks more than practicality. Cars with absolutely no window tint can sometimes be an indicator of someone who didn't care to change anything about the car. Commonly with these cars, you'll find nothing changed.

Most importantly, take your time inspecting the car. Do not shortcut this. Don't listen to the any sales guy who says the car was driven by an older housewife who had to get rid of it, because she had foot surgery. (Another user actually posted that information).

Good luck.
 

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Take a long time to ride around in the WRX. If you can take one out for a few hours, that's the best option. Drive on the roads you drive on daily. I've heard some people who go from SUV's to WRX's and they end up hating the car due to its stiff ride.

Pull up pictures of what the motor looks like from the factory and closely compare it to the WRX engine bay. Check bolts for tooling marks. Exhaust bolts are tight and heavy, so they will show this a lot. See if the corrosion on the cat-back matches the other exhaust corrosion. Or if the exhaust parts look brand new, that's a sign that the OEM exhaust had been sitting in someone's garage during the life of the vehicle.

Check for parts in the engine bay that look clean compared to the rest of the engine bay, specifically the intake. Firmly grip parts and shake them around to feel if they seem loose or have any rattles from not being tightened down correctly or missing fastener hardware.

Look for badges that don't match OEM badges. Also, cars missing the standard Subaru/vehicle model markings on the back can be a sign of a car owner who likes to modify. Check for vinyl overlays around the head lights and fog lights. Compare trim pieces to pictures of a stock WRX. Look at the head unit. Look at the tires to make sure they don't seem shredded.

If the car looks like it has an aftermarket stereo, that's not necessarily a good sign. Unless you have the Harmon Kardon upgrade, the speakers in the WRX suck. Inspect the install to make sure it looks subtle and professional.

Make sure the wheels are OEM. Look carefully for aftermarket springs and you can compare ride height to pictures of other WRX's. Go to the dealership and take a look and drive a new WRX for comparison. Obviously, some things will have changed on the newer models, but it will give you an idea of how things should look and feel.

It sounds stupid, but I would really inspect a car with very dark window tint. Below 20%. There are adults who prefer this, but I find that a lot of blacked out windows are driven by kids who care about looks more than practicality. Cars with absolutely no window tint can sometimes be an indicator of someone who didn't care to change anything about the car. Commonly with these cars, you'll find nothing changed.

Most importantly, take your time inspecting the car. Do not shortcut this. Don't listen to the any sales guy who says the car was driven by an older housewife who had to get rid of it, because she had foot surgery. (Another user actually posted that information).

Good luck.
I mostly agree with this advice . . .

But I will say I removed the WRX and Subaru emblems on the back and I have done very little modding . . . I mean other than adding a JDM arm rest. I am pretty happy with the WRX as is so didn't get bit by the modding bug (plus I figure it may be a plus when I get ready to sell it and it's unmolested.)

Also . . . while I have the OEM wheels, I also have a decent set of Enkeis with my winter tires so I wouldn't say it's crucial that the wheels are OEM as long as they are a decent, reputable brand.
 

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The removed badges are more of just an indication, rather than a concrete assessment of further modification or abuse. However, I do believe that in most circumstances aftermarket wheels are a stronger indication that the car had been further modified. I'd feel safer just staying away from cars with aftermarket wheels, unless you had a chance to talk to the owner and really feel him/her out.

Either way... I don't think the OP has been back.
 

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I'm not sure where you're from but apparently my old 2017 premium is still for sale lol 23-24k (depending on who's been driving it and how far) for $23,991. This is in DFW Area. It's got all the things ProZach pointed out but no engine modifications (except drop in air filter) since I was waiting til b2b warranty expired. No aftermarket stereo/speakers though because its becoming increasingly more difficult to retain OEM functions with aftermarket head unit, and I wouldn't upgrade speakers with an OEM head unit
 
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