succumbing to peer pressure

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Always Something

So I took the Intrepid Snowflake (as she was dubbed on the great road trip of '03) in for an oil change and general once-over in preparation for Bonnaroo this weekend. Now, I love my baby and have grand plans to hang on to her until the very end. But this is the second time that a planned oil change has turned into a non-trivial (about $600 this time) repair. I've spent about $2,000 on repairs and maintanence in the past 2-3 years (primarily replacing two axles, the driver side last year and passenger this morning). She's 9 years old with 81,000 miles. She's a subaru, so she should last several more years, right? The salt in Cleveland was hard on her, and the heat and humidity here have been causing the latest round of problems. So my question is, as someone who knows very little about cars, at what point does it become more cost effective to stop repairing Snowflake and start saving up for a new (used) car?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Subaru owner from a family of Subaru owners (my mother's got an outback, my sister a legacy, my dad still has a GL from 1984), I'm inclined to say something is wrong if you've put $2,000 bucks into Snowflake in the last 2 years. Alaska's pretty hard on cars, since they're not designed to operate below freezing, and our family hasn't put 2,000 dollars into all our cars combined (ignoring routine maintenence).

9 years isnt that old for a Subaru, but it sounds like you're either doing something seriously wrong in how you treat her, or something is not quite right with the car itself. Has all your maintenence/repair been with the same mechanic? What sort of repairs have been necessary?

More information is necessary.


10:21 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

The first axle replacement was accompanied by a host of other random things, replacement brakes, a major mileage tune-up, and replacement tires (that trip was $900). That was last year, plus today I guess technically I've spent around $1500 in major mechanical issues, and rounded up what I've spent on standard tune-ups/oil changes in 2-3 years. I agree, it seems out of whack to me too, especially considering how low my mileage is for the age of the car. The past 3 years have been with the same mechanic, and it's possible I'm getting taken to the cleaners, but Dad approved the first set of repairs and I could hear that something was wrong with the car this time (hence I had been sort of putting off taking it in until I got paid, probably also contributing to the cost). I specifically asked about the axle problem today, since I remembered that they replaced one last year, and she said the humidity here just rots all the rubber components, which is turn ends up leaving the axles susceptible to damage. She says there's not a damn thing I could have done to prevent it.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Possible. I'll check the Subaru users BBoard to see if other people have had that experience.

What noises were you hearing recently? (I'm trying to be helpful here, but if I'm being pushy, just say so)


1:49 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

(not pushy, I asked for advice)

The noise was a sort of grinding, scraping noise under the front passenger seat (which is the axle they replaced), primarily when braking. It was similar to the noise it made as I was destroying my caliper.

I'm curious to hear the reaction on the board. I mean, I come from a family of subaru owners too, and if I just need to pour this money into her so she lasts another 10 years, so be it, but if this is going to be par for the course for the next 5 years, well, I love her, but not that much.

I am a little hard on Snowflake in that I drive like an asshole, but I'd like to think no more or less than your standard city driver. Plus, she only gets driven a few miles a week, since most of the time (ok, before it became a million degrees here) I bike to work. When I had all the work done last year they told me it might actually be harder on her to sit around in the heat undriven, so I try to make an effort to get her out on the highway once a week (which happens regularly now on my way to gymnastics).

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, if its primarily when braking (and not turning), at least its not the dreaded torque binding.


I dunno. I've been scanning a lot of subaru sites, but I can't seem to find anything that really matches your problem. You're just the lucky one, it seems, who gets to replace her axles.


4:56 PM  

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