Is it risky to buy a 2003 Subaru Baja with over 200,000 miles for $4,000. Great condition everything works, my only real concern is the mileage. I keep hearing that Subarus last forever, but just want a professional opinion.

Asked by Jan 08, 2013 at 08:26 AM about the 2003 Subaru Baja AWD

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

9 Answers


The transmission and 4 wheel drive components would be my biggest concern with the Baja. Understand that NOTHING mechanical lasts forever, even a Subaru. 200K miles on most any passenger vehicle is pushing is cause for concern if you don't know the history. Does the owner have there service and maintenance records to show how its been maintained thus far, and what things have or have not yet been repaired? If basically the vehicle has had few things done to it over the years thats GREAT for the current owner with respect to their ownership costs, but might not be so great for then NEXT owner who will now have to start repairing and replacing those things and components that have simply come to the end of their life at 200K. You'll always here people talk about a vehicle that never needed a repair and they never even changed the oil, just added when it got low and drove it for 500K miles or more, but those are the EXCEPTION. You're best insurance is to have the Baja go through a Buyers Inspection at a Subaru dealer or a reputable Subaru Mechanic shop, to see what their evaluation concludes. WIll be worth the $100 or so, to find out if its a steal-of-a-deal or a money pit waiting to happen. If the seller refuses to let you have it inspected, be concerned as THAT is a huge red flag right there. Do they know something or fear something will be disclosed to you they haven't?

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I would be very leary with that kind of milage. My brother inlaw bought a car from my fater inlaw bought new and kept very well maintained. and had all the service records. Brother inlaw paid to much for the car to begin with. In one week he had to have it towed to a shop the secutity system quit working. after about another couple weeks. The coil packs went bad. after about a month the fuel pump went out. So it cost him about another $1000 or better in repairs with in about a 6 week period. That on th gm 3.8 leter motor witch is supose to be one of gm best. Motors good evry thing attached to it is going bad. So I would be very carefull. That one only had 123,000 miles on it

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Find out if the headgaskets have ever been replaced. If not, you're looking at an aprox. $1800 USD repair bill anytime, as the Subaru 2.5 liters of that vintage (late '90s, early 2000's) have headgaskets that WILL fail around 150-200K miles. If they have been replaced then good, as replacement headgaskets are an upgrade to the originals and as long as the job was done correctly should last the life of the engine. Otherwise, if the Baja is in good condition then that price is about right, since Bajas aren't made anymore they do have a semi-collectable status.

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4000 wtf is wrong with people there are tie rods suspention alternators starters water pump fule pump exhaust none of this is meant to last past 150k.... this car should be worth about 1200 dollars no more

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Everything depends upon whether the vehicle has been maintained properly. I own a Baja with 302,000 miles on it. I would drive it anywhere at anytime. It is still my daily driver and I put 3000 per month on it. The poster that mentioned the head gaskets is correct. I replaced mine at 161000. It is likely that the Baja in question has had the heads done as it has over 200k miles. Hey Tom, I appreciate your post but You need to know that my Baja has never had anything done except the heads, and two front axles. These vehicles are pretty amazing. 300k and still going strong. If you want great info about Subarus please go to Justin knows more about Subarus than anyone I know.

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Where is anybody going to find a Baja with any kind of mileage for under 4000? If you love the Baja you'll snap it up at that price especially if it is rust free all of the moving parts can be replaced, and or interchanged with other models, but the Baja was only built for 4 years. Those who have them love them. I hope you bought it, they are great cars that sell on Craigslist in the Portland Oregon area from 7,000 up to 17,000

1 people found this helpful.

I have a 2003 Subrau Baja for sale in New York / Queens. I have encountered the head gasket problem. I'm considering doing d.i.y I don't want to spend $2000 with the dealer on repair. If anyone is interested, please contact me and I'll provide additional info. Amosfeldman at gmail dot com or call six four six three seven two nine six four zero. Thanks!

1 people found this helpful.

It is risky to buy anything that has over 200,000 miles. The Baja will likely be a rust bucket.


I had a head gasket issue and clutch replacement at 114,000 miles. When engine was cold, esp winter, it sounded like bottom end was gonna drop out. Ended up replacing the engine with a refurbished guaranteed less than 50,000 mile engine. Along with with timing chain, I invested approx. 5k to keep it going. Even with that, the 'new' engine sounded like the old one when cold. And now, 20k miles more...........another head gasket. Love(d) my Baja, but its time to cut the losses and move on. Bill

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