Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Subaru died today

1995 Subaru Impreza. Has died several times w/in last 3 months when slowed down to stop or park. Power dummy light comes on when it dies. Resumes back to normal by turning ignition off and back on again. Check oil/power steering fluid regularly. Added extra oil week ago, too much oil perhaps? Car has history of smelling like it’s burning either oil/power steering fluid when operated at high RMPs (ie climbing hills/accelerating). Smoke sometimes comes from under hood. Automatic, doesn’t shift down very quickly. I either go super slow to keep RPMs low, or punch it to try and get it to shift. Last night/today:loud/almost grinding noise from under hood, all dummy lights went on, then died, completely fuctionless. any speculations?

I’ll speculate: this poor Subaru has suffered from neglect and lack of proper maintenance for too long and has finally given up.

How many miles did it last under these conditions?

I tend to agree with mcparadise.

One of the items that troubles me is, “Added extra oil week ago, too much oil perhaps”.

Did the dipstick actually indicate that the engine was low on oil, or are you one of those folks who think that adding oil is like taking an aspirin tablet at the first sign of an ache?
How much oil did you add?
Did you recheck the dipstick after adding the oil?

How many miles are on the odometer?
What can you tell us about the car’s maintenance over the past 3 years? Please be specific, and don’t use meaningless phrases like, “it has been well-maintained”.
Is the Check Engine Light illuminated, and if so, how long has it been lit up?

And–what in the world is a “Power dummy light”?

It is very likely your battery has discharged. A grinding noise is usually the sound you hear when trying to turn over but cannot. Try a jump start.

161,580. thanks for your reply. you’re probably right.

I assume that “you’re probably right” is in response to mcparadise’s speculation that this is a vehicle that has suffered from long-term lack of maintenance. However, I would be very interested in your response to my specific questions about your car and its maintenance.

I’m sorry, I did respond to your post and it was right below my other response. I don’t know what happened to it. I’ll try this again…
Yes, I am one of those folks who doesn’t know much about cars, and I’m trying to learn. Have I made mistakes? Definitely. Trying to learn from them? Yes. Is it costly? For sure.
I added a quart of oil, rechecked the dipstick and it’s above the full line. I meant to change the oil this weekend.
I don’t know too much about the car’s maintenance over the past 3 years. Sometimes the car has sat for extended periods of time without being driven. The oil/filter has been changed regularly when it has been in use. The tires have been rotated at the proper times, along with alignment and balance checks. I cleaned the air filter and battery terminals in December. Added a stop-leak power steering fluid. The check engine light came on a week ago.
“power dummy light”–I meant to say an idiot light. The POWER idiot light.

All I can say is to get the car to a qualified mechanic for diagnosis of the Check Engine Light situation, which is undoubtedly tied to the problems that you reported. Most likely, he will need to bring the car up to date with maintenance before he can accurately diagnose/resolve the problem, however.

Please note that “qualified mechanic” does NOT include places like Sears, Pep Boys, Midas, Meineke, Monro, AAMCO, or other chain operations. Take the car to a reliable local mechanic.

Great, thanks so much. I already made an appointment with a local mechanic, and with a tow shop to get my car there.

Not so fast!
I hope you are aware that towing this car will cause expensive damage to the AWD system.
The car needs to be put on a flatbed auto carrier, rather than towed behind a tow truck.

Ok, I’ll look into that. Thanks.

The noise you heard may have been due to a timing belt broke or the tensioner for the fan belts may have some bad bearings. The shop should be able to figure it out without too much trouble.