So you have decided to go out and purchase that sweet sweet WRX you've seen sitting on the car lot down the road. The price seems right, but it has a lot of miles on it. Well if that's the case then please sit back and read this before you go out and buy someone else's problems...
As with any used car common sense and a bit of knowledge go a long way and in the end can save you money, who doesn't want that. There are a few important things to look for when buying a used WRX. This is a small list of things to check for:
1) Does the car have service records and a carfax?
2) Check the oil on the dipstick to see if it's even at the right level. If the dipstick has a milky oil this is bad as the head gasket is blown, just walk away at that moment.
3) Walk around the car looking for misaligned panels and changes in paint brightness, usually this indicates damage and repair.
4) Check the trans fluid dipstick for discoloration and level.
5) Check the tires for wear. Also make sure they are all the same size and and have even tread wear, if not this indicates an alignment is needed.
6) Take a spark plug wrench with you and take out one of the plugs, you can do this somewhere away from the lot if needed.
7) Rent, borrow, buy a code reader to check for any codes that may be stored.
8) Take the car for a test drive to see if the car shifts okay, if not this could be expensive and this is more so on the older models.
9) Check the air filter.
10) Look for signs of upgrades, usually in the forum of exhaust, intake, etc.
11) Take someone with you that knows these cars well.
12) Ask a bunch of questions, if the dealer doesn't know the answer then talk him down in price, because you'll need the money later and you should get the best deal anyway.
13) Check the brakes while on your test drive, they should be firm but not jerky. If the pedal bounces up and down the rotors are warped easy fix, but pay less money.
14) Check the brake fluid level.
15) Check the clutch fluid level.
16) Check the power steering fluid level.
17) If possible check the timing belt, it's a few small bolts and you can see it. This is also expensive if it breaks.
18) Check to make sure the car has no leaks, this can be done after the test drive.
More than likely the car has had a rough life, so be prepared, especially if it's had more than 1 owner and has modifications. It may be shiny, but that shine will dull if the car is a lemon.
p.s. One more thing I wanna add. This may sound harsh of me, but it has to be said. These cars can get costly just in normal maintenance alone, so you have to ask yourself, can you afford to fix something if it breaks? Can you be without the car if you can't? If you modify the car save money in a slush fund for that, "OH S**T!!!" moment and trust me it will happen.
p.s.s. Also have some pictures of what the stock engine bay looks like and stock exhaust. Most importantly EDUCATE YOURSELF BEFORE BUYING!!!! That alone will save you money.
Added by Man Show:
Normal maintenance (aside from oil changes, roughly every 30k is a semi-major maintenance milestone where almost every fluid/filter/other miscellaneous parts should be drained/flushed/replaced): Subaru maintenance schedules and new car break-in period- 2000 through 2009, links for 2010, 2011...
Subaru maintenance schedules and new car break-in period- 2000 through 2009, links for 2010, 2011...
Generally, I like to buy the best materials I can "reasonably" find/afford. I rationalize the additional cost of the good stuff by thinking about how much money I save in labor doing everything myself. Fortunately for me, I have accumulated a pretty decent set of basic hand tools w/ some extra gadgets and a nice floor jack/stands along with a set of 56" Race Ramps which makes certain jobs much easier. The internet is full of great write ups with pictures and videos to help you gain the knowledge and confidence to tackle just about any job.
30k maintenance: https://www.wrxtuners.com/forums/f51/...o-t-you-25604/
30K Maintenance = How much did it co$t you?
60,000 Mile Maintenance
90k maintenance: https://www.wrxtuners.com/forums/f75/...ng-belt-30429/
90,000 Mile Maintenance & Timing Belt
Not everybody agrees with my oil change philosophy, but since mile 0, I have been changing my oil with synthetic (Redline or Royal Purple 5w30) every 3,000 miles and OEM oil filters. Every time I do that, it costs me about $50, but I also have a FuMoto oil drain valve which makes that job much easier
Roughly 5 months ago, my transmission failed because I was driving like an idiot and the shockloading sheared most of the teeth off of several of my gears. My car is in the shop right now waiting for a set of stock ratio Albins helical 1-5 gears which will set me back roughly $4,500 in parts alone (+ labor). That's one of the rare "oh crap" moments that we advise new WRX owners to save up for.
Pics of the carnage:IAG Performance / 2007 WRX Transmission J. Kimmel
I would consider myself somewhat of a Subaru enthusiast, so to me, this stuff isn't really anything out of the ordinary. I also apologize that I had too much coffee and I was bored this morning, but hopefully I have answered your question.
Also would like to add this post from turmic in here: