I totally agree. I bought my 2002 Subaru Outback from a dealer and it has been nothing but a money pit. I luckily caught the head gasket issue about 6 months into owning the vehicle, and guilt the dealer into discounting the replacement cost.
It's had/have the following problems and/or I've done the following to it:
1) Replaced battery.
2) Air conditioner won't work - freon won't stay.
3) Rear view mirror lost all of the juice to dim the mirror.
4) Electrical issues with the dashboard.
5) Back side of the car coming apart from the body of the car.
6) Air won't stay in the front tires.
7) Replaced the tires.
8) Gas smell comes into the car when the temperature reaches below freezing.
I have had pretty much the opposite experience with my 02 LL Bean H6.
I bought it used with 114K miles on it. Upon reaching 120K, I had the 120K service done, which was ~$500.
Since then I regular keep track of fluid changes at local Oil Can Henry's. Oil is changed regular intervals, differential fluid is changed when needed, and coolant replaced as needed. I also use high mileage oil by Castrol.
As for major things happening to the car:
- Idle positioning sensor replaced.
- Idle pulley replaced.
- O2 x 2 sensors replaced.
- Valve cover gaskets replaced.
- New front brakes, new bolt to hold rotor onto axle.
- Rear view mirror dimming stopped working.
- Passenger/driver sun roof motor quit.
- Freon for AC needs recharging.
- One headlight bulb burnt out (replaced).
- Light indicator for seat heater is out (seat heater still works).
- Cover for rear passenger sun roof is off-track and doesn't move forward on its own.
While I can attest to the fact that this car isn't the most inexpensive car to own, this car has outlasted ANY vehicle I've owned, outside my '78 Mazda GLC Wagon in which the tranny died at 210K. My Outback is still running strong at 185K, even with the above issues.
Also, it should be noted that any work I've had done on the car has NOT been done at that dealership. I have a trusted mechanic who has employees trained on foreign autos like the Subaru, and are certified to have non-dealer work done for warranty purposes.
Will definitely own another one of these. :)