Death of the TSX

Back in September, my 6-speed Acura TSX was totalled by a drunk driver while parked on the side of the road. If you want a car that’s reliable and will sell for the same value years down the road I recommend a 2004 TSX. That car was a tank and costed me $0 net after driving it for 2 years and getting totalled. For a few months I just went without a car. I have been working remotely for nearly a year and my room mate was willing to make grocery trips so I just waited for the right car to come along.

An argument for old cars instead of new

I don’t want a new car. One of the reasons I loved my TSX was that it was 15 years old and all the known issues were easy to find online. When I bought the car, the driver’s side seat didn’t recline. It was electronic and made sound but just didn’t function. After purchasing it, I found a solution to this common problem on the TSX forums. As they described, I pulled back on the seat while sitting in the back behind the driver’s seat and had a friend push down the button to incline the seat. A small click (resetting the gear where it should be) and I now had a functioning seat again. Fixes like these are found when people have owned these cars for 5+ years and have discussed their solutions online. If the car has some really catashrophic issue, then it is known. Old cars that have survived this long are often the most dependable cars out there.

A new (old) car

Craigslist eventually led me to begin searching for a WRX. These cars are 4WD, quick, and have a strong community of car lovers to back them. I spent months searching for the right one. Most of the WRX on craigslist have serious issues or are due for expensive maintenance. Eventually I settled and three weeks ago I purchased a black 2005 subaru WRX.

This car was in amazing shape both inside and out. Second owner, garaged, after market sound system with subs and tweeters, after market exhaust, cold air intake, stage 2 tune on it, everything else stock. It was maintained well but had some oil leaks coming from the valve covers and oil pump that were minor but needed to be addressed eventually. No big deal, this is a common problem with this car. I had a mechanic look at it and he gave me the ok to buy the car.

For two weeks, I was having a blast driving this car around. The sound the turbo and blowoff valve makes as you are accelerating and releasing the petal is so satisfying. The car isn’t so fast that you are bored driving it around. It’s really a joy to drive.

However, I should have addressed the oil issues sooner. The car ended up running on low oil while I was driving it and I blew up the engine. One day after a trip to denver it developed rod knock. This was a problem I should have been aware of from my research but I didn’t take it seriously enough. I even had a friend recommend I get those oil leaks fixed sooner rather than later but I didn’t heed his advice. I figured the leaks were minor and I wanted to be frugal for now. (Bad idea… If you have a performance car and it had a problem which could potentially cost you thousands… go fix it!) The car is currently being rebuilt and is costing $7000 to rebuild a hybrid 2.5L engine to go into it. This is why people buy new card or buy cars from dealerships, but honestly I don’t think this would qualify as a lemon because I should have checked the oil. The advice I received from a friend after this was that old cars should really have their oil checked every time you fill up gas just to make sure the oil consumption hasn’t changed(especially in the winter).

Oil pressure gauge

I am installing a oil pressure gauge in the car as soon as I get the rebuild back. The part costs $60 and I can install it myself with my socket set. Engine starvation from low oil is a common problem with these EJ engines(fromthe research I have done). This should prevent the same problem from occuring again.

Performance cars cost money

Owning a performance vehicle costs money. I knew this going in, but it is just something to have in mind when buying a fun car. After everything is said and done, I am likely out about $2000 even if I sold the car with this new rebuilt engine. Sometimes shit happens and you just have to keep moving forward. I started this journey because I wanted to learn more about cars and this is my path to learning about my WRX.


This newer engine is actually bigger than the stock one. I now have a 18,000 mile warranty on the engine and after a break in I will have a very sporty car to drive for at least a few years. For those wondering, the body has about 120k on it and I have $15k into the car. I definitely didn’t plan on having this much into it but I can afford it and it’s been a bonding experience for the WRX and I. I still would recommend this car to someone looking for something fun. If you buy one, make sure to research it and definitely check the oil regularly.


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