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Old 09-20-2018, 12:43 AM   #1
eroycarlson
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Default PSA: Be sure to ALWAYS get a pre inspection

In the past months, I've been in the market for my first car; a WRX. I saved up a good chunk of money for a down payment/gas/insurance/special repairs by grinding out money at a summer job (multiple 12 hour shifts :/ ). I found a seemingly amazing 2002 (completely stock) Impreza WRX Wagon, rust free, (which would really make it stand out here in MN) 130k miles, for 7.5k. I was ready to close the sale before my dad offered to buy me a pre inspection, just to be safe.
Turns out, the car smelled strongly of oil whenever the engine ran and the engine would've destroyed itself if I went over 3.5 or 4k RPMs.

The catch is, I live in Minnesota and the car is in Texas, which would've been an absolute disaster for me if I didn't get the inspection done. Would've been a waste of gas and time.

Moral of the story: it is ALWAYS worth it to buy a pre inspection. You never know what could be wrong with a car. Saved me thousands in repairs.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:17 AM   #2
jasonwrx86
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Was it burning oil or what? How would you know the engine would have destroyed itself if you go over 4krpm? Was it knocking?
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:19 AM   #3
Jack
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Amen to that.

How many threads have we seen here that start out: "I just bought my dream car. On the way home I heard metal on metal sounds and....."? Lots. Glad you avoided this.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:23 AM   #4
rtv900
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonwrx86 View Post
Was it burning oil or what? How would you know the engine would have destroyed itself if you go over 4krpm? Was it knocking?
yeah seriously, I was thinking the same thing^

Honestly, smells of oil and burns oil constantly????
Sounds like the pre inspection verified what I could have told him without even seeing a listing or the car. . . . .it's almost 2 decades old!!!!!!!

The real blunder was almost agreeing to pay $7,500 for a SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD economy car for heaven's sake. My lord, there are kids driving cars legally that were born after that thing was built.
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:24 AM   #5
eroycarlson
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Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
yeah seriously, I was thinking the same thing^

Honestly, smells of oil and burns oil constantly????
Sounds like the pre inspection verified what I could have told him without even seeing a listing or the car. . . . .it's almost 2 decades old!!!!!!!

The real blunder was almost agreeing to pay $7,500 for a SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD economy car for heaven's sake. My lord, there are kids driving cars legally that were born after that thing was built.
Really the problem for me was that it looked great and sounded great, the owner just didn't report the fact that it smelled strongly of oil, and since I live in Minnesota and the car was in Texas I wouldn't've realized until I drove all the way down.

I don't remember exactly, but one of the problems the mechanic said was that the car had a leak and the oil would run out before I made it home.

The owner had reported it was using oil, but not to that extent.

Also, the only reason I went for the car was because the body was in such great condition. If the pre inspection went fine, that car would've been a gem to find and I didn't want to pass on that. (Even the interior looked amazing, and it was only adult owned). I never figured it would be easy to find a high quality WRX of this era but the body style and look just made them my dream cars.

Last edited by eroycarlson; 09-20-2018 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:16 PM   #6
Slim_Jim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eroycarlson View Post
Really the problem for me was that it looked great and sounded great, the owner just didn't report the fact that it smelled strongly of oil, and since I live in Minnesota and the car was in Texas I wouldn't've realized until I drove all the way down.

I don't remember exactly, but one of the problems the mechanic said was that the car had a leak and the oil would run out before I made it home.

The owner had reported it was using oil, but not to that extent.

Also, the only reason I went for the car was because the body was in such great condition. If the pre inspection went fine, that car would've been a gem to find and I didn't want to pass on that. (Even the interior looked amazing, and it was only adult owned). I never figured it would be easy to find a high quality WRX of this era but the body style and look just made them my dream cars.
While I'm not doubting you, I am curious as to who did the inspection, what all was done and what all was found?
Just because it smells like oil bad, and uses some oil really doesn't mean anything other than it may have a leaky gasket...After all, it is a 2002 model year car (with 130K).

I've had cars that have smelled of oil, leaked oil and never had an issue with them (and ended up putting over 100K miles over what it had when I bought it/them).
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:37 PM   #7
eroycarlson
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I don't have anything on me that says exactly what was wrong, as it was my dad who had the inspection done. All I remember is that I THINK they said something was wrong with the turbo (I can't remember but that mightve been related to the oil problem) along with some other things.

I know the shop had several recommendations on Google along with a reputation for high quality services. It was also reccomended by the seller, they saved him from buying a bad car before.

If I can find anything else out (exactly what was wrong) I'll add another post to let you guys know though!
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:45 PM   #8
Mulder
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Sounds like the shop, while probably competent, may not have been that familiar with Subarus so their diagnosis might be a bit more dire than the actual problem. However you did exactly the right thing, and given the distance involved as well as the potential for a major headache it's fine that you took their advice and passed on this one. There will be others.
Going forward though, for the PPI on the next one it might be better to use the regional forum for where the car is located to ask for a recommendation to a well-regarded Subaru shop that can give a more accurate report.
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:59 PM   #9
eroycarlson
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Originally Posted by Mulder View Post
Sounds like the shop, while probably competent, may not have been that familiar with Subarus so their diagnosis might be a bit more dire than the actual problem. However you did exactly the right thing, and given the distance involved as well as the potential for a major headache it's fine that you took their advice and passed on this one. There will be others.
Going forward though, for the PPI on the next one it might be better to use the regional forum for where the car is located to ask for a recommendation to a well-regarded Subaru shop that can give a more accurate report.
Looking back I really wish I did that xD
Thanks for the advice! I found a good local WRX (2008) but next time I'm looking I'll keep that in mind
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:41 PM   #10
jasonwrx86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eroycarlson View Post
Really the problem for me was that it looked great and sounded great, the owner just didn't report the fact that it smelled strongly of oil, and since I live in Minnesota and the car was in Texas I wouldn't've realized until I drove all the way down.

I don't remember exactly, but one of the problems the mechanic said was that the car had a leak and the oil would run out before I made it home.

The owner had reported it was using oil, but not to that extent.

Also, the only reason I went for the car was because the body was in such great condition. If the pre inspection went fine, that car would've been a gem to find and I didn't want to pass on that. (Even the interior looked amazing, and it was only adult owned). I never figured it would be easy to find a high quality WRX of this era but the body style and look just made them my dream cars.
It's 16 year old and 140k miles. It's gonna leak a little and burn a little.
Unless it's dripping and puffing smoke out of the back, I highly doubt it's gonna run out of oil.
Plus, on an older car, it's common to check oil level more frequently.
Thank god you are not getting a rotary engine car if checking oil is not your thing.
I am not saying you should get the car. I am just pointing out what you are getting into buying a high millage car.
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Old 09-20-2018, 02:11 PM   #11
eroycarlson
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Originally Posted by jasonwrx86 View Post
It's 16 year old and 140k miles. It's gonna leak a little and burn a little.
Unless it's dripping and puffing smoke out of the back, I highly doubt it's gonna run out of oil.
Plus, on an older car, it's common to check oil level more frequently.
Thank god you are not getting a rotary engine car if checking oil is not your thing.
I am not saying you should get the car. I am just pointing out what you are getting into buying a high millage car.
The main thing was I couldn't be there to check all that stuff out, since it was across the country.

I'm into the habit of checking oil since the last car I drove (2010 Outback) leaked oil, so I always drive around with a container of oil just in case. Really it boils down to the fact that I just had to completely go off of what the shop was saying and it just seemed like too much if a risk for me.

(I ended up not buying it, btw)

And I think you're right, my expectations were just too high for a car so old.
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:41 PM   #12
eroycarlson
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The problem was that oil was leaking out of the turbo shaft, which could get into the catalytic converter and also into the intercooler which was triggering a check engine light and it was just too much hassle. I wasn't looking for a fixer upper so I passed.
I do know the car was sold, so it most likely got fixed.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:10 PM   #13
Slim_Jim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eroycarlson View Post
The problem was that oil was leaking out of the turbo shaft, which could get into the catalytic converter and also into the intercooler which was triggering a check engine light and it was just too much hassle. I wasn't looking for a fixer upper so I passed.
I do know the car was sold, so it most likely got fixed.
Good thing you passed. Good luck on your search, hope you find what you are looking for.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:26 AM   #14
gathermewool
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eroycarlson View Post
The problem was that oil was leaking out of the turbo shaft, which could get into the catalytic converter and also into the intercooler which was triggering a check engine light and it was just too much hassle. I wasn't looking for a fixer upper so I passed.
I do know the car was sold, so it most likely got fixed.
Probably purchased by someone at the PPI shop
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:50 AM   #15
monkeyposeur
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I don't see a problem with buying a 17 year old bugeye. I did it and couldn't be happier. All I had to do was replace the engine, transmission, rear diff, brakes, all coolant lines, vacuum hoses, every gasket, brakes, headlights, exhaust, suspension, and turbo.
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:00 AM   #16
rtv900
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^ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
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