Do I fix my Subaru or replace it with a new one…..comparison

“I told you we should have taken care of that last week!”

Often we come to a crossroads where a large expense occurs with our Subaru and the decision on whether to re-invest into the car vs replacing the car is thrust upon us. One of the first questions we ask a customer facing this dilemma is do they still enjoy the car and is it meeting all of their needs.  If the answer is yes to both questions  then it becomes a numbers comparison. Subarus, as well as other cars, are getting more and more expensive and re-investing into your current Subaru can actually make sense and save you thousands in the long run. In my cost of ownership analysis I compared a brand new entry level 2018 Subaru Impreza to a 2005 Subaru Outback. I also assumed no money down an a 0% interest 4 year loan.  After researching some numbers it’s pretty clear which scenario is more financially beneficial.  Here are my findings below:

  Cost of Ownershp over 4 Years
  Own Outright New Purchase
  2005 Subaru Outback 2018 Subaru Impreza
Purchase price incl tax/lic $0.00  no monthly pmt. $22,360 ($466 monthly pmt. 0 down 0% interest)
4yrs Lic/Reg/RTA est. $92 $0
  $88 $360
  $85 $320
  $80 $290
Insurance(no comp/coll on 05) $575 $750
  $575 $750
  $575 $750
  $575 $750
Yearly Maint/Repairs $2,000 $400
Estimated worst case $2,000 $500
on 2005 model $2,000 $800
  $2,000 $1,000
Fuel Cost $8,000 $6,000
Depriciation over 4 yrs $3,000 $11,470 
based on    
Total Cost of Ownership $21,645.00 $46,500

I tried to be agressive on the expense side for the 2005 Outback but in reality it would be out of the norm for one of our customers to spend $8000 in repairs and maintenance over 4 years even if it needed head gaskets during that time.

Now I realize that not all decisions are based on financial reasons. Having a shiney new car is nice without a doubt as well as all of the new safety and technology that comes along with it. I just wanted to make sure when you make the decision to repair or replace that you have looked at the complete picture so no matter what you decide you are happy with your decision.



Mike Corbin

Smart Service


  1. Michael Whiting
    June 5, 2018 Reply

    We have a 2005 Outback and just spent $2200.00 at the dealer for a new front end, (front axle, bushings etc) Major Service. Car has 118,000 miles. This is the second time front end replaced. (done in 2014)
    We also has timing belt and V belts replaced in 2014 and head gaskets replaced when car had 82,000 miles. $3200.00
    Now the dealer is recommending replacing all belts again and head gasket leak (A 1) and both Cam cases are beginning to leak.
    We are at the crossroads and thought about a new Crosstrek but at $31,000 just is too high.
    We like out Outback but read that 2005 was not a good year ? We have always kept up maintenance.
    We would like to switch to your shop. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Mike Corbin
      June 5, 2018 Reply

      Hi Michael,
      I’m sorry to hear of the multiple repairs on what are apparently are the same items. Before approving any work there, I’d advise getting a second opinion.We can do that for free and actually take you out into the shop to explain what we see and the severity of such. If the head gaskets were done at 82000 I’m perplexed why they would be leaking as well as the cam cases. If you can call either of our locations and we’ll take a look for you at no charge to see what’s really going on. Please bring records of any repairs so we can compare what’s been done to what may need to be done. From there we can help you figure what is the best route.

      Mukilteo 425-315-9999
      Shoreline 206-417-0880

      Let them know Mike said it would be a free second opinion.

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Smart Service is an independent parts and service retailer and is not associated with Subaru, Fuji Heavy Industries or Subaru of America