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What do I do with my busted-ass car?

Fire TruckFire Truck I love mySELFRegistered User regular
edited September 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
So here's my situation:
Late last year I moved Out West to Oregon from Indiana. I did so in my beloved '99 Subaru Forester, but found after a couple months driving across the country and then across the state looking for work the car was having issues. The issues seemed to slowly get worse no matter how many times I brought it in to my ~*Totally Trustworthy*~ mechanic, until it finally came out that the head gasket had been cracked (apparently a common problem with Subarus) and the mechanic had been too dumb or too crooked to address this issue until the gasket was completely blown out.

He gave me a ~$2000 quote to fix the issue that would have been a relatively cheap repair had he caught it earlier, and I told him to get lost, went without a ride for a while, and eventually got myself a cheap old Hyundai that has done me well so far. However, since that time I've been completely at a loss for what to do with the semi-ambulatory hunk of scrap that is my old Subaru. I was pretty successfully ignoring it until just the other day, when I found out I got an internship up in Washington, and I'm gonna be moving, and so I need to figure out a way to hopefully get rid of my Forester.

I have pretty much no mechanical aptitude when it comes to cars, beyond changing the oil.
The Subaru itself is in pretty good shape overall, and it seems a shame to just get rid of it for scrap, though I've been entertaining that option.
My dad says I should put it up on Craigslist for ~$1000, and explain about the head gasket. The Blue Book value for the car, were it in working order, is about $4000, so he thinks that there may be someone willing to buy it, repair it, and resell it, still making a profit.
My other alternative would be to get it repaired myself, swallowing that cost, and then sell it for the Blue Book value. This seems like it would take a while, and I'd probably have to leave it in the care of my dad while I was up doing this internship.

I'm sorta paralyzed with indecision, and any advice would be appreciated.

Fire Truck on


  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    depends on the mileage. if super high, either put it as is o craigslist or just donate it. i probably wouldnt pay for the repair unless it is low mileage

  • Fire TruckFire Truck I love my SELFRegistered User regular
    Mileage is pretty low, actually, considering the age of the car. ~107000 miles

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    What's more important, that you get your money's worth from selling it, or getting rid of it?

    There's always places junk shops that will come pick up your car and tow it away if you give it to them. This does require that you have the paperwork to sign it away. Downside to that is that at most, they'll give you a couple of hundred bucks for it.

  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Shop around for a better deal on the head gasket. I had my Outback's done for $1,400 including head resurfacing which is probably what you need. It took 3 days. Pay for it and you can net $2,500 or more when you sell it. Should be easy to sell as well, they gobble up Subarus in the PNW.

    saltiness on
    XBL: heavenkils
  • kitchkitch Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    I don't know if Oregon has this, but in California there's a program to recycle your car (a bit of paperwork involved), and the state gives you $1,000. Maybe worth checking the Oregon DMV to see if there's a similar thing there.

    kitch on
  • LailLail Surrey, B.C.Registered User regular
    If I was you, I would do Craigslist and try to get $1000-$1500. It seems like you're not so concerned about the money, so anything you get for it seems like a bonus.

  • PelPel Registered User regular
    Don't be too hard on your mechanic, a head gasket can be a tough problem to troubleshoot and would almost definitely cost the same to fix whether it's blown out a little or a lot. If you hadn't carted it all the way across the country I'd probably try to make a deal to buy the thing but as it is you should have no issues selling it for 1k if its in good shape. Or just spend the money and drive the thing, forester is a nice car and once fixed will probably outlast the hyundai.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Head Gaskets are the most common issue on that era of subaru, so it is a decent oversight, especially since they're so easy to diagnose.

  • wmelonwmelon Registered User regular
    I'd suggest posting it on this site You're likely to get more out of it there than you would on craigslist. At the price you're thinking about putting it up on craigslist for, you'll get a bunch of people wanting to trade you random stuff for it, as well as a bunch of people wanting to give you next to nothing for it.

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