How do I detect a car’s mechanical issues?

A Subaru Forester Car. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • To confirm if that Subaru is worth Shs6m, check the condition of the engine lubrication system. Get an engine compression test to confirm that it does not burn oil.

Hello Paul, someone wants to sell me a Subaru Legacy GT at Shs6m. However, the alternator runs nonstop, thus over charging the battery.  Could there be other issues for this car to be this cheap? Kon. B.
 

Hello Kon, does the Subaru start and run? Take it to a garage for inspection by a qualified car electrician. A voltage and alternator tester can be used to confirm the status of its alternator. 

You may need to replace the alternator since it may have a faulty regulator, which is not easy to repair because of unavailable spare parts. Occasionally, a wrong type battery can cause an alternator overcharge, especially in newer type vehicles built with battery control module. 

To confirm if that Subaru is worth Shs6m, check the condition of the engine lubrication system. Get an engine compression test to confirm that it does not burn oil. Check the automatic gearbox too. A road test is a good idea to get a general feel. Also, rule out major accident repair.

Which of the two Subarus should I buy? 

Hello Paul, I am thinking of buying a Subaru Legacy touring wagon 2007 model. Can you please help me break down some details such as fuel consumption, speed, durability and comfort. Also tell me which is better between a Subaru Forester and the Legacy.  

Paddy
Hello Paddy, I would opt for the 4th generation 2007 Subaru Legacy Wagon (Touring) which is an all-wheel drive five- door station wagon. 

Legacy Touring is based on a platform for the Legacy saloon midsize car. On the other hand, the Subaru Forester is a compact crossover 4WD station wagon which shares the Imprezza platform. 

In performance terms the range of EJ20 2.0 litre petrol naturally aspirated and turbo charged engines shared by both cars provides the same power output (110 [email protected],500 /161 KW @5,500rpm).  

Acceleration from 0-100 KPH is 5.9 secs for the 2.0 litre non turbo and 5.1 for the turbo charged version. 

The difference between the two Subarus is in handling and terrain accessibility. The Legacy has better agility and stability on highway sprints. This is due to its lower saloon profile and low slung transverse engine which allows better centre of gravity and good handling at high speeds. The Forester’s higher ground clearance and longitudinal engine layout suit its 4WD credentials as a go anywhere car. 

The Legacy has better legroom (mm: 4,793 / 4,485) while the Forester has better headroom (mm 1,650/1480).  Fuel economy is between 12-14 Km/litre depending on how you drive or maintain it. If you use higher octane Shell V-Power you will improve engine power, fuel economy and protection. 

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