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2007 Outback Wagon
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Discussion Starter #1
I've been thinking about this lately, as my beloved Subie has been acting strangely in the last few months and no one can seem to figure out the precise problem.

So, a hypothetical: let's say you're driving your 150k+, 13 year old Outback a few hundred miles. Halfway between points A & B, something major gives out - let's say your transmission calls it quits. You're looking at thousands of dollars for a replacement, potentially days in a hotel...not worth it, especially since you're on a break and have very little time on your visit already. So what do you do with your newly deceased car? What can you do with your car?
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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I think it's a fair 'thought experiment' that most of us go through occasionally. And many of the parameters to consider will vary person-to-person, hinging on someone's tolerance for risk, access to willing help and money. Throw weather, kids, females and maybe geography into the equation and I doubt you'd get a consensus.

My wife's car is just getting to the point where, I'd consider renting a car to drive to Colorado to visit my daughter. I MIGHT use it if it were only me in the car - but probably not since my wife would likely be with me.


I may be a little more gun shy than others - but I have experienced a situation similar to that proposed. I had a timing belt burn thru on a seized idler pulley in a Toyota camry halfway between DFw and Austin. With my teenage middle daughter with me. Had to get towed to town, had to rent a car, finish the trip, get my BIL to pick us up, and then had to get someone to take me back to get the car from the repair shop.

It CAN happen.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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if you are really worried , and you plan to have your family with you, buy a AAA membership. for about $125 - $150 a year you can get towed up to 90 miles. plus all the other services and discounts. in 2007, when i asked my wife to drive a 10 year old 97 GT with a ej22 swap on the hiway for her job, i knew the cost of AAA was part of the deal.

side note, i bought an outback with a bad transmission and tried to drive it home about 100 miles. i only got a few miles and the trans completely died. i called AAA, i was 87 miles from home and they picked me up and delivered me and the car to my house. this was the cheapest transport of a new /used /busted subaru i have ever had. usually i'm renting a trailer and borrowing my friends truck, buying gas at 12mpg, etc. (FYI: you can get towed farther, but you have to pay the difference.)

as to what to do with the car or how to deal with it all depends on your situation.pay for repairs out of town seems like the least attractive solution. anf if you get towed home you will be better off. but repairs are expensive when pay some one else labor.

but here is what you have to consider. the cost of the repair vs. what kind of car could you buy for the same money? the value of the car you are repairing does not play a part. to be fair you can add a few hunderd to the price of a possible car since you will like be able to sell your broken car for $500 or so. so if the repair is $2000, would you rather drive your car repaired or some other car with unknown history that you could buy for $2500??

bottom line your are going to spend some money or be with out of a car.

better to figure out what is wrong with your car before you go.
 

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buy a AAA membership. for about $125 - $150 a year you can get towed up to 90 miles.
They must have different plans in other states.... In Calif:

I'm paying under $100 per yr for the "plus" membership and get 3 100mi tows along with the extra included discounts. And you can stack the tows if needed. I don't know the exact way it's done but it didn't sound to difficult. (never needed to)

Just ask for a flatbed and there's no issues with the AWD... Gas ain't cheap thru them if you run out but it's cheap insurance. :29: in my book....

.
 

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2007 Outback Wagon
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Discussion Starter #5
Just a couple more details:

I'm traveling solo, so I don't have to consider other passengers. And I do have AAA, but I think it's the base membership that only has a few miles towing before it gets expensive. The big hypothetical question isn't so much "how do I get off the road", it's "I've been towed...now what?"
 

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'12 Outback 3.6R Limited
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I suppose I would get it towed somewhere it could be parked. Bring it to a dealer or repair shop and pay for a diagnosis to buy a few days worth of storage time. If it is time to part ways with it, I'd probably just call one of the donation services to get it hauled away since it wouldn't be worth dealing with trying to sell it if it is dead and requiring an expensive repair.

I had a car die while on a road trip once, but lucked out big time. It quit on me while pulling out of a gas station/truck stop after fueling up. In the days before smart phones, I was able to go in the truck stop and get a tow truck number and used the phone book to see there was a Honda dealer in town, about 15 minutes away. Called for a tow, got towed to the Honda dealer and waited for my fate. It was about 3PM at the time, so I was starting to plan for my night in this town. Turned out my ignition coil went bad (more like wasn't replaced when it should have been) and I was back on the road by 6PM. Probably the best possible outcome seeing I was about midway through my ~350 mile trip.
 

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The question that was posed in the OP has obviously broken out into two: what to do immediately, i.e., "How do I get off the road and get home.", and "What do I do for a car?"

First answer is simple, 3 letters: AAA. We wouldn't be without it.

Second answer, as has been stated in an earlier post, is more complicated. With our car (8 years old, 133K), a major engine blowup would just mean the old SAAB takes a trip to the salvage yard and we'd go buy a new car. YMMV considerably, however.....we're in a position to just write a check for a new car, but that's not true of many people.
 

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I've been thinking about this lately, as my beloved Subie has been acting strangely in the last few months and no one can seem to figure out the precise problem.

So, a hypothetical: let's say you're driving your 150k+, 13 year old Outback a few hundred miles. Halfway between points A & B, something major gives out - let's say your transmission calls it quits. You're looking at thousands of dollars for a replacement, potentially days in a hotel...not worth it, especially since you're on a break and have very little time on your visit already. So what do you do with your newly deceased car? What can you do with your car?
Depends on what broke?
I got stranded in the middle of BFE Nevada seriously no where from absolutely no place! Failed fuel pump in a GM product at 80mph. Spent 3.5hrs in a Napa Auto parts parking lot with the drive line pulled - and gas tank dropped to replace the $300 fuel pump. The local dealer couldn't get to us for 5days!

When our first child was born our 2001 2.5 5spd MT did a 2400 mile two week long road trip it had 150,000 miles on it. #1 I knew that the Head Gaskets were perfect - and knew that all the other minor work done on the car since day one was 100% correct. The car was flawless didn't miss a beat for the 2400 miles and at 180,000 miles was still perfect and sold to a HS kid going away to college.

All fluids must be known and maintained - front diff - rear diff - engine oil - no LEAKS!!! A rule that all my big 4x4 buddies have - if you have a leak FIX IT CORRECTLY! Given any long trip a leak or leaks can result in major issues and are far far more expensive to fix when you need a hotel room and its costing you vacation time!

Part of the cost owning a car is keeping it maintained - if you can't cover the cost of fixing leaky gaskets - your not going to cover the cost they could cause you regarding hotel rooms, gotcha by the gonads dealers stuck in BFE fixes!
 

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AAA was unable to help us in northern NM once. I had altitude sickness, we had our 3 daughters with us and my wife driving. Fuel pump failed after we left the clinic where i was diagnosed with AMS (acute mountain sickness). We even got our membership refunded.

they were apologetic and embarrassed, etc. but that didn't help us at the time. Ended up getting a tow from a local indie guy that barely spoke english. Then a State trooper got involved, we got a different truck I think to tow us farther, honestly, I don't remember all the details from being so sick. had a shop install an electric booster pump. '87 Colt Vista wagon. Evidently, the mechanical fuel pump wouldn't work at altitude.

this was in the early 90s - probably better AAA service there now.
 

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I have AAA as well, and both of my parents have had it for a long time. Never had to use it (knock on wood), but it's there in case I need it.

I thought about a situation like this briefly during my 8+ hour (each way) trip to Maine. I have a lot of confidence in my '04, but it is about 9 years old now and has 124k, so things can happen. There aren't many repairs that wouldn't be "worth it" to me. The way I figure, my 2004 is 100% paid for and I could easily get $7000+ if I sold it right now. If I were to replace it I would definitely go newer, so I'd need a loan (I'm 20, and I don't consider my savings "spendable" unless it's a down payment on a house). It wouldn't take long for the loan payments to equal out to a repair bill.

That said, where I was in Maine was probably quite a distance from any mechanic or parts store!
 

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last few times I've had real road trips, I always collect phone numbers for dealerships along the way.
 

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I pay $1/month for each car on my policy for roadside assistance through USAA. $100 a year for AAA? No thanks.
 

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I pay $1/month for each car on my policy for roadside assistance
through USAA. $100 a year for AAA? No thanks.
Yep, and the USAA subs actually show up promptly.

 

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AAA HQ is near me. I was recruited to come interview them for a massive restructuring and company wide make over a few years back. I spent 3 days at HQ and in the end I decide to pass. A good friend with very similar background as mine took the challenge and left less than 3 months later.

Her comment was "The most inefficient - over paid - under qualified and stuck using PAPER to track customers processes and employees she has ever seen in a Company still in business!" HA HA

I was not impressed to say the least funny no one in my Family has ever had AAA. But it was all the rage with my Wife's family on the East Coast about as far from HQ as you can get. LOL
 

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Interesting opinions about AAA- but I'll reiterate: AAA has always been there when we've needed them (maybe a half-dozen times over 20 years) and I wouldn't be without our membership. It's worth it, I'm not going to change our insurance carrier, and how AAA runs their organization, so long as they deliver, is of no concern to me.
 

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About 3 months after getting married, the timing belt on my civic died in the middle of college town rush hour traffic. (Turns out the previous owner was lying to me when they said it was changed at 100K.) Her AAA got it back to our apartment where i spend a day in the middle of finals week replacing that thing.

Now, my car insurance covers towing and other roadside assistance. Didn't know about it for a while. Check with your insurance agent, you may already be covered.
 
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