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My Engine blew! What to do?

Today the engine in my 2000 Subaru Outback exploded. Without question, the engine is kaput (although it still started surprisingly). This happened 40 miles from home in San Diego. I had it towed to a local tow station ($250). Tomorrow I will have it towed to…somewhere…

Here’s my question:

Where should I get my car towed to?
If I park it on my street, I’m good for at least a week without tickets, but it would be another tow to get service or examined.
If I tow it to a service center…well first I’d have to find one, and second, I’m not sure what would happen then. Trade it in? Sell it as is?

The car has 170K miles on it, I paid 8K for it about 4 years ago. The body/interior is in very good shape. New tires! (of course)

Suggestions/advice appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

Got a friend with a pickup?

A 14 year old car with 170,000 miles on it along with a blown engine?

It’s time to remove your personal belongings, and call an auto recycler and take what they’ll give you.


+1 to Tester’s comment.

to be clear: if I had a friend with a truck, where would I have him tow it to?

and based on Tester and the +1 it sounds like to the street in my neighborhood

A boneyard.
Can you look up a boneyard near you?

Okay, I’ll ask the obvious… do you plan to replace the motor? If not, you might as well look up a boneyard. They might even come and retrieve it for you. It’s worth absolute zero to you with a blown motor.

I’ll also ask: what exactly happened to your engine? I have an enquiring mind.

If you had a friend with a truck, you wouldn’t have to sweat the cost of an extra tow vs. the cost of a more expensive repair shop.

Its all well and good to say “time to get a new car,” but reading between the lines (the car in question, concerns about costs of towing, repair) a new (er) car is probably not an economic reality for OP.

OP, a scrap yard will pay you on the basis of weight. They pay $ 0.12/lb here in PA. They tend to pay less in areas where there are a lot of regulations regarding scrap yards, so expect to get less in CA.

To me, an engine doesn’t “blow” unless, there’s a connecting rod or three on ground with accompanying holes in the block itself. If you were able to restart the engine, it’s not “blown”. Damaged? yes. Blown, probably not. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people claim their engine is “blown” when it’s likely something else.

See what the tow yard it is at will offer you. You already paid $250 for the tow. Pay again for another tow, then sell for scrap? You may not recover as much that way. Sell it there and collect your stuff. Time to move on.

Oh, don’t worry about what damage towing it with just a dolley under the front wheels will do the Awd system; it doesn’t matter.

Thanks for all the comments
I’m not real good at engine work, but there was a loud pop, followed by nearly every warning light possible going off, a lot of smoke that smelled like burning oil.
There is now a large hole in what could be the top gasket cover of the engine. (??)
It was difficult to get a shot, but in the photo you can the piece thats broken with the “222” sticker on it as well as a piece of it lying on top, which also has part of the sticker on it

The engine’s done.

Did you get all your stuff out of the vehicle?


I think that pic answers any questions about the definition of “blown”. If you’re not prepared to spend any money on the car your best bet is to see if you can find a private buyer or salvage yard buyer quickly for it as is/where is and try to get what you can.
Otherwise, the cost of towing it home only to begin the process of trying to dump it just isn’t worth it.

The unknown to me is how long you have at the towing facility yard before they start charging per day storage fees. Some start charges immediately and others have a little breathing room before the meter starts running.

If you need to park it on the street, you could probably push it forward or backward a few feet before you get a ticket. They usually chalk the tires or otherwise look to see if it’s moved at all.

If you love the car and the rest is in great shape, it might be worth getting a salvage yard engine installed. But bear in mind that the transmission, etc. are all going to have 170K miles on them too and may be due to fail soon.

List it for 500$ or so as a parts car or 50/50 on someone who will take it for scrap(you need the title)-Kevin

That seems to be a pretty catastrophic failure. How good were you on maintenance? Im curious how something can actually bust through like that. No oil changes? No coolant? Just curious.

I hate to see an otherwise good condition car be junked, especially when you spent $8,000 just 4 years ago. That comes out to $166 a month. Kind of like a car payment or lease payment. While not a terrible expense when you think about it, its still significant to the average person.

My advice, depending on your credit and finances, find out the cost to get a used engine installed, and compare that to the down payment and monthly payments of a lease or buy if you can swing it.

Yes its a gamble but if the car was well maintained and not dogged then it may be a decent option to consider a used engine swap. Im guessing it will be around 2-2500. This is the down payment for a lease basically, but then you wont owe 2-300 a month for the next 3 years.

Get the trans serviced if you keep the car! Good luck

Upon viewing the picture. Yes that engine is indeed blown. I agree with the others, if you have an attachment to the car, then look for a used engine. If not, look for another car.