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Ted G.
Ted G., ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 6155
Experience:  20 years auto repair experience, ASE Master Tech, Mechanical Failure consultant, Expert Witness
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I have a 1995 Subaru Legacy with 115,000 miles. Car broke ...

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I have a 1995 Subaru Legacy with 115,000 miles. Car broke down, towed to dealer for service. They''ve told me that I need a new engine and that it would cost $5K and it''s not worth it. The rest of the car is fine, shouldn''t I just get a new engine rather than replacing the car???
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Ted G. replied 9 years ago.
Jean, you can certainly get an engine put in your car for less than 5000 dollars. I'm quite surprised to hear you had an engine failure on that car, they are usually good for 200k miles or so. I would call a couple of independent shops and see if they will give you an estimate to replace your engine with a remanufactured or a salvage engine. If your car is in good shape and you don't have any other problems a replacement of the engine is a reasonable move.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Apparently the problem is that the harmonic balancer was loose & wore down the crankshaft attachment or something and it's now cone-shaped not cylindrical and if they replace the harmonic balancer it will just wobble and not seat properly, so they said that I'd need a new engine. They said that a used engine would run $3800. Does this sound reasonable and should I do this rather than buy a new car? I'd hoped to keep this car for 250,000 miles!
Expert:  Ted G. replied 9 years ago.
I think 3800 is a little padded, but your car is older and the dealer is covering all the bases-you would be happier to authorize 3800 and pay 3400 than to authorize 3000 and have to pay 3400-see what I mean? In order to replace the car you are looking at 16000 plus so 3800 is a lot less. If the rest of the car is in good shape and you like it, there is no reason to believe it won't go 250k with proper maintenance, there are a lot of them out there with that kind of mileage. Be a good shopper, call a couple of places and compare price and warranty, and then fix it where you feel comfortable.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thanks! Are there any other considerations in choosing a used vs new engine for this replacement? Seems like it would be safer opting for a new engine for $1200 rather than some unknown used engine? Also Are there any other major parts of this car which might go out at this point (115K) to add to my total cost for the year in addition to this engine replacement? I replaced the clutch 6 years ago, the catalytic converter 4 years ago and had major brake work done 3 years ago, otherwise just the regular major services.
Expert:  Ted G. replied 9 years ago.
2 things, I suspect your 5k estimate was for a remanufactured (rebuilt) engine, not new. But it could be new, either way check the warranty period. For instance-when you buy a GM rebuilt engine you get a 36 month/50,000 mile warranty. A new GM engine gets 12 months/12,000 miles-kinda screwy. Also if you do get a salvage engine the supplier has to certify the mileage on it, so if you got a nice low mileage one, it would be a good engine, but the warranty will be much less-usually only 101 days. What I would do is shop price vs. warranty period and disregard what type of engine you're getting. Obviously the longest warranty is the most attractive, but may also be the most costly. One other thing to check is if you can find an independent rebuilt engine installer that will give or sell you an extended warranty on the engine-some can go up to 50000 miles or more. The installer will probably recommend any belts, hoses, etc. that they see bad. One thing you may want to do is replace the clutch, since it has to be removed you will only pay for the part, and that is a wear item with 6 years use on it.
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