Yesterday afternoon, my wife was supposed to go visit her mom, who lives about 80 miles from us. At least that was the plan, until I got a frantic call from her saying her car had died and she was stranded on the side of the road.
I tried to get her to explain what was happening, but she was pretty flustered. Best I could tell, she was driving along and the car decided all of a sudden that it didn’t want to move under its own power anymore, blinked a bunch of warning lights at her, and that was it. She pulled off to the side of the road but this was a busy 2-lane state highway that she was on and she didn’t feel like she was in a safe spot.
I tried to calm her down, and I had her share her location with me in Google Maps. She was about 2/3 of the way to her mom’s, near a little town called Elkhorn. I called Subaru roadside assistance for her. Originally their plan was to have the car towed to the closest Subaru dealer, which was the one in Janesville, about 45 mins away from our house in Madison.
I called my wife back and she was ok with this plan, where either she’d get a loaner car from that dealer and drive back, or I’d pick her up. A loaner would be more desirable since my car is stick shift and she doesn’t drive stick, but she was all stressed and probably wouldn’t have been thrilled to drive a loaner from Janesville to Madison after her little ordeal.
I also tried to talk her through putting the car in neutral and seeing if she could get it to roll further away from oncoming traffic, but she couldn’t get it to budge. I told her to leave the engine running so she could at least have heat but after a few minutes of idling the car got pissed off at having to idle and started beeping and throwing more warning lights at her, so she shut it down.
One thing I didn’t think of was to call some kind of local law enforcement to help her, but thankfully a county sheriff deputy showed up and helped push her car away from oncoming traffic.
At some point after that, I decided I’d call Subaru roadside assistance back and see if they would have the car towed back to the local Subaru dealer here in Madison so we could avoid a bunch of back ‘n forth to Janesville. They said they could tell the towing company the new destination but Subaru only covers the first 41 miles worth of towing so we’d have to cover the difference. That was fine, the extra cost was worth not having to schlep to Janesville, and my wife was very happy to be going directly to the Madison Subaru dealer.
The sheriff deputy stayed with her until the tow truck arrived, let her stay warm in his car, and took her to a gas station nearby to get some coffee while the tow driver loaded her car on the truck. She said the tow truck driver was a nice guy who used to be some kind of motorcycle stunt rider and his family owns a big motorcycle dealership and he drives a BMW M235i.
She was like, “my husband drives some kind of BMW too,” and texted me a couple questions about my car, the answers to which she shared with the guy. He approved. At the end of the ride she tried to tip him which he declined with some kind of comment like, “you’re too cool for me to accept that.”
My wife is nice, people like her and are nice to her.
She’s got a Forester loaner, and she’s already commented to me that she kinda likes sitting up higher. This, even though when we were shopping for her Impreza, she picked it over the Crosstrek because it was lower. “I don’t like driving big SUVs but this is basically just a wagon.” Such is life.
This afternoon I called the Subaru dealer where the first time I got transferred to service, they picked up and hung up, the second time I called I got their voicemail, and the third time (after waiting for like 10 minutes before calling back) everyone in the service department was very ready willing and able to repeatedly put me on hold until some other random person picked up the line and I had to start all over again with them. Finally after a total of 14 minutes I left my name with whoever the dude I was talking to was, for the service advisor to call me back when he was finished with the customer he was helping.
When they finally called me back, they said the car hadn’t been looked at yet, and it will be another day or two before it is, because they’re booking appointments a couple weeks out in advance and have to fit in the tow-ins when the techs have free time.
When I first talked to them yesterday, the Janesville Subaru dealer happened to mention they probably could get the car fixed sooner than the one here in Madison, because they’re less busy, but still, I really just didn’t want my wife to have to deal with driving a loaner car back to Madison from Janesville after all that nonsense she went through.
All this stuff is covered under warranty, so whatever. We’ve got the Forester for the foreseeable future, until maybe the dealer gets around to, you know, actually looking at her car. Hopefully it’s nothing too crazy wrong with it.