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I'm looking at cars for my first car and I've been looking ay honda/toyotas just because of how much I hear about the reliability, but I had found something that caught my eye. There is a local dealership nearby that buys old subarus and fixes them up. There is a 1998 Subaru Impreza wagon with 158,000 miles for $3,000. The guy offers a lifetime warranty on free diagnosis and whole sale price of parts and maitenance. I hear they go well past 200k and when I test drove the car it felt pretty smooth, on & off the freeway. The dealer replaced 2 tires, had the alignment fixed, and a oil leak repair done. Any suggestions or opinions on these cars? I've read mostly good reviews from these cars, but not sure if it's a car that I could learn to work on myself for changing small things. Any help/info is greatly appreciated. thank you!

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Tell the dealer to replace the other 2 tires with the same that has already been put on there.  Thats a big no-no for an awd car. 

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Great little cars. Another ditto on the tires. It probably even says things about that in the owner's manual of the car.

That's probably a 2.2L (ej22 engine) which is one of Subaru's very finest. And driven gently in that car should give you near 30mpg.

If you're game to do some of your own work they're pretty easy to work on as well. You can change out an alternator on one of those in about 20 minutes with only hand tools, for example.

Are there any records with the car? The only concern to look into would be the timing belt. If that has never been changed it is overdue in both mileage and age so maybe you can bargain that into the price a little. 

Ask more questions as necessary, there are guys around here far more knowledgeable and helpful than I could hope to be. Good luck with your purchase!
 

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I asked today if he could put the tires on and he said he could do it. The car has a salvage title because of a fender bender, and in california you can't re-evaluate the car to a clean title. I like it but the salvage title will raise the insurance and make it hard to sell, which might not happen. He said the timing belt looks great.

Edited by GypsyFeet

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If you do buy it a timing belt, tensioner, and water pump would be cheap assurance that you won't have to worry about anything with that part of the engine for another 100k miles. It's rarely the timing belt that goes bad, it's the tensioner that seize and cause the belt to break, which will most likely end up in valve damage due to the interference nature of the 96 up engines. Also pulling the oil pump while you're in there and checking the screws for tightness, and replacing the o-ring wouldn't be a bad idea.

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Salvage title is fine if you plan to keep it until the wheels fall off (assuming it was properly repaired), but it does raise all kinds of eyebrows with insurance.

 

I'd pass on it for that price. A clean low miles 98 Impreza is worth about that much with a clean title. A wrecked one that's been fixed is a gamble depending on what damage was done and how it was repaired, but the salvage title takes off a thousand easy.

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I drive a 97 with 276,000 miles and can highly recommend the car. Wouldn't be bothered by the titling either unless you plan on re-selling the car soon. It makes it a little tougher to sell. But in this area, these cars are hard to come by. I would use that title as a negotiating point. Most dealers will come down on price, and will price a car based more on what they hope to sell it for than what they would be willing to part with it for. Without seeing pictures and all, you're probably looking at a car worth 1700-2500 in this area. (Everything costs a bit more in CA I've seen.)

 

 

If you end up getting it, I'm just over the hill from you and could give you an un-biased view of the timing belt and such to see if you wanted to replace that or if it's been done recently.

 

It's tough to find a more dependable car. And Subarus can do a lot more than their toyota/honda counterparts.

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