I’m a young woman wondering if my mechanics are taking advantage of me. Here’s the backstory:
New Subaru owner here, living in western washington. I bought my Subaru Impreza for $4k with 143k miles on it in Texas in April, had two mechanics say I had a solid engine, and specifically asked about leaks. Responses were positive. I began the drive north to Washington and 300 miles in got an “at oil temp” light (solid color, no flash). Pulled over, ended up towing it 80 miles (it’s west Texas, afterall) to the nearest Subaru dealer. Pricey tow.
Mechanic notes: “verified concern, Found a vehicle to need a valve body. Recommend replacing valve body and completing a transmission relearn. Replaced valve body, performed transmission relearn, test drove, all repairs complete at this time”. Cost was $2099.19.
Flash forward 4 days and 2000 miles, subaru and I arrive home in washington. As I pull into my street, no joke(!), oil light comes on. I cool the engine and check oil level, low. I take Subaru to my town’s Subaru dealer. They perform oil change, say that was cause of the light. It HAD been close to 4.5k miles since the previous owner changed oil, so I let them tell me that was the issue. They looked under the car, assured me everything was dry.
The car has been running very well since, until a few days back, when I got the oil symbol again, this time a few hours from home. It has only been 2k miles and ~2 months since that oil change. So I Cool engine down, check oil level. Low.
Drive 4 miles to yet another Subaru dealership. They listen to this story, and do an inspection and oil top off (which was really a refill because it was so low). No cost.
This is what they had to tell me, and what brings me here today:
They said my timing cover gasket was leaking, my control arm bushings were cracked, and my driver side head gasket needed replaced due to “seeping”. They took a video under the car and showed me the places of concern. Then quoted me $4000 for the repairs.
So my questions are:
Could the first four (!) mechanics have really missed these leaks, or were they waiting for them to get worse with the hope I would return for service?
Will these repairs REALLY cost that much? Could they be done cheaper? If so, how?
How soon do they need to be done, assuming I monitor the oil level and don’t let it drop too low?
I can’t afford to put more than $1000 into the car, maaaaybe $1500 in the next 6 months. If the repairs can‘t be done cheaply, I probably need to sell the car.
What are your thoughts on what I should do? I need a car that won’t continue having problems, but am afraid I’m stuck between not being able to afford to fix it and not being able to sell it for what I have into it. Thank you in advance ❤️