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Posted: 7/16/2013 4:25:31 PM EDT
This is ironic since I was actually planning on doing a "heat related preps/emergency" thread tonight anyway due to the extreme heat waves we've been having!!

We had a pretty horrible day today...pure hell actually!  But if you want to skip the story/drama scroll down to "Here's my problem...."

It all started with the A/C conking out about an hour into a two hour trip to the beach.  We were going for the day because we haven't been in about 12 years and thought it would be nice to let my 2yr. old son have some fun and experience it.  It was close to if not over 100F out on the highway.  So when the A/C started to go on and off and then shut off all together, windows down wasn't fun but we decided to push on and suck it up.  The A/C was an issue in the past but it was fixed and just caused by a small outside leak so we didn't think much of it.

About 10-15min. later we rolled in to a 2 mile construction back-log/jam.  Around the same time I noticed that the car started bucking when I accelerated and applied the brakes.  Again, it's bumper to bumper and we're only going 2-5mph at this point.  

I mentioned it to my wife and happened to look up at the temp gauge which was maxed out and at high...OH SHIT!!... so we pulled over.  No smoke or anything so I popped the hood to take a look.  The antifreeze was literally steaming and boiling!!  Now right before I left I had topped off the anti-freeze and checked the other fluids which were fine.  

I gave it 10-15min. to see if it would cool down at all...nope!

Now on my bike I have Progressive.  They are amazing!! You call them, they first and foremost ask...ARE YOU SAFE??  Then they proceed to grab your location, contact a tow truck, get you the tow company's ETA, their number, and the name of the guy that will be coming.  Well, my CAR insurance company was quite different!! I called the local office because they don't have a 24hr help-line.  I got a "Oh yeah your agent is out at lunch".  I asked for help with towing because I was out of state and in somewhat unfamiliar territory.  I got a "hmm...well do you have a smartphone you can probably find one close enough".....ya fucking kidding me lady?!?!  I have a toddler in the car and it's 100F here!!!  HELP!!  Then it hit me...I was in a personal SHTF situation!....Time to fall back on preps!

No problem I've got plenty of supplies....  Water in my GHB, check!  Cold water in the cooler...check! Tarp and paracord for shade...check! (we were already parked in the shade though).  Ice packs in my trauma bag...um....nope!!  I forgot that I had used them and forgot to replenish...lesson learned.

So we kept hydrated, got to a shaded cooler spot and sat tight and used wet/cool towels to keep my son cool.  

In between talking to my mechanic and starting to look for a tow service (because that was horrible...no one answered or was available!!), a highway unit pulled up in back of us (not police...they are trucks that roam the roads and work for the state that help report and render aid to broken down vehicles.  The guy wanted to know if we needed help, how we could pay for a tow (cash/credit) and then called a truck for us.  I asked if my wife and son could sit in his cab since it was air conditioned..."Uh...no I gotta get going down the road"....

45min. later the tow truck arrives.  He wanted $150 just to hook it up and $5 a MILE to tow it home.  I get on the phone with the insurance company and got the same asshole as before (my agent's sister).  She said they would submit it and whatever was "reasonable" would be covered.  $400 sounded like a fucking rip off but whatever...if we waited another hour+ for another truck we'd be calling 911 for heat exhaustion and possibly dehydration.  So grab my ankles I did!!!

Took a rather unpleasant ride home AND had to pay the tolls!!!...$380 later we were at my mechanics.  But at least we were safe.

Here's my problem though and where I need help...

I focus a LOT of time, money, and attention on my vehicle (survival-wise) and my GHB.  However, all three times, in the past 5 years or so, that I've had an issue on the road...it has been close to useless and I was unprepared.  The water today seriously saved us from calling 911!  During a real/larger scale SHTF we probably would have been dehydrated/passed out and close to death in that heat without it.  But ok...we were hydrated.  The ice packs would have come in handy for keeping us cool...but they are only short term fixes...so I don't look at those as anything substantial.

But what am I missing here??  Why are my roadside emergencies so miserable for as much as I prep??  

When it is only a personal SHTF and not a societal one...what other supplies should I have that could have helped today??

What I needed was for the car to cool down/be fixed then a tow truck then water/cool spot...later we would have probably broken into the Cliff bar cases.  

Let's just start from square one though and assume I'm a total newbie to prepping...what supplies are essential to keep in the vehicle when stranded (all seasons)??  Keep in mind I would probably get a ticket/arrested for starting a fire on the side of the road in the winter...

By myself, in a societal/larger scale SHTF where I'm abandoning the vehicle and walking home I would have been far better off!! But with a family, in extreme temps and not allowed to leave the vehicle...MUCH different and more serious of an issue!

Please share suggestions and try not to be too cruel...it's been a hell of a day!  

Thanks!

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 5:01:21 PM EDT
Wow. Hell of a day. In a situation like what you described, maybe call a cab if close enough to civilization, go to the nearest car rental place and retrieve your vehicle at your own time and doing. Uhaul Tow dolly, or your own tow company, if possible. This is where smart phones and 411 might come in handy. Getting a cab and knowing where rental spots might be. Out west here, there are times when you are just SOL and need to rely on people. I have been stranded 50 miles back in the woods and had people turn me down for a ride closer to civilization. Sucked, then another set of hunters helped me out and drove me to pavement. Then I waited 8 hours for my wife to come get me in the middle of the night. That sucked.

All in all sounded like you did the best you could. You got home safe and sound, no one was injured. Let the frustrations wear off and look back on it in a few days and see what if any thing you could have fixed. Sometimes there is not a lot you can do now matter what we prep for. That time I mentioned above is why I now have several ways to repair tires in the field. It was two flats that stranded me. A blowout and a mile down the road a puncture, a can of cheap as fix a flat that broke. Now its compressor, slime, plugs, two spares if I have room.

For your situation, can't think of much of anything for a catastrophic vehicle failure, maybe some cash on hand to pay or "bribe" someone to give you a lift or like the guy that stopped, to sit for a few? Sucks that society has gotten to that point, but I guess that's why we congregate here on this site, want to know and meet fellow like minded people.



Link Posted: 7/16/2013 5:13:59 PM EDT
Sorry to hear about your troubles.

Not really sure what else you could have done.
Emergencies like this suck, and the heat just made it worse.

Your number one needed prep item was water and you appear to have had plenty.

You said you had cold water in the cooler, didn't the cooler have ice in it?
-That would have solved the ice pack problem.

Insurance company.
-I think the problem here was dealing with an agent (or his sister in this case). You should have told them to set up a claim, give you the claim number and phone number to the claims office.
-I think you might have had better luck talking to the claims person handling your claim than the agents office.
(Instead of: well, we will turn it in and see what happens).

Two year old is kind of hard to keep entertained or distracted, I am sure the heat was miserable for him.

Link Posted: 7/16/2013 5:14:56 PM EDT
Quoted:
Wow. Hell of a day. In a situation like what you described, maybe call a cab if close enough to civilization, go to the nearest car rental place and retrieve your vehicle at your own time and doing. Uhaul Tow dolly, or your own tow company, if possible. This is where smart phones and 411 might come in handy. Getting a cab and knowing where rental spots might be. Out west here, there are times when you are just SOL and need to rely on people. I have been stranded 50 miles back in the woods and had people turn me down for a ride closer to civilization. Sucked, then another set of hunters helped me out and drove me to pavement. Then I waited 8 hours for my wife to come get me in the middle of the night. That sucked.

All in all sounded like you did the best you could. You got home safe and sound, no one was injured. Let the frustrations wear off and look back on it in a few days and see what if any thing you could have fixed. Sometimes there is not a lot you can do now matter what we prep for. That time I mentioned above is why I now have several ways to repair tires in the field. It was two flats that stranded me. A blowout and a mile down the road a puncture, a can of cheap as fix a flat that broke. Now its compressor, slime, plugs, two spares if I have room.

For your situation, can't think of much of anything for a catastrophic vehicle failure, maybe some cash on hand to pay or "bribe" someone to give you a lift or like the guy that stopped, to sit for a few? Sucks that society has gotten to that point, but I guess that's why we congregate here on this site, want to know and meet fellow like minded people.



See here's the thing...I've got a plug kit, mini-compressor, fix-a-flat, fuses, inverter/chargers, fluids, etc. in our vehicles....but when the fluids are boiling...what can be done?  No spare parts were needed because nothing broke...I guess I could have pissed on or poured water on the engine to cool it down but this wasn't a SHTF societally where I needed to go for broke.

That brings up the taxi idea.  EXCELLENT one btw!!  

We are kind of hard up financially right now.  Not behind on any bills but going to the beach for the day was an option, boarding the dog and renting a hotel room was not.  However, keeping 5 $20's so a cab can get my wife and child to safety is absolutely an excellent idea!! I will be doing that tonight!!!  

Here is my concern and why I HATE...I'll say it again..HATE NEW JERSEY!!!  My wife carries and is efficient with her guns.  However, in Jersey we cannot.  Oddly enough, Jersey is where we have broken down 2 out of the 3 times I talked about!!  So if that cab driver turns out to be a complete psycho...kidnaps them....etc....MAYBE pepper spray... No way in hell would I want a blade or taser entering that scenerio because of her inability and the presence of my son.  But us splitting up definitely raises the stakes...still I think that would have been the lesser of two evils today.

THANKS!!!

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 5:19:34 PM EDT
Quoted:
Sorry to hear about your troubles.

Not really sure what else you could have done.
Emergencies like this suck, and the heat just made it worse.

Your number one needed prep item was water and you appear to have had plenty.

You said you had cold water in the cooler, didn't the cooler have ice in it?
-That would have solved the ice pack problem.

Insurance company.
-I think the problem here was dealing with an agent (or his sister in this case). You should have told them to set up a claim, give you the claim number and phone number to the claims office.
-I think you might have had better luck talking to the claims person handling your claim than the agents office.
(Instead of: well, we will turn it in and see what happens).

Two year old is kind of hard to keep entertained or distracted, I am sure the heat was miserable for him.



But again, Progressive was a dream to deal with!! So I'm going to be calling them tonight and seeing what rates they can give me.  That way the next time I'm not having to scream at the person not to put me on hold or hang up on me, negotiate coverage, and get help calling a tow....one phone call solves the problem.  

As for the cooler...it was actually an 8x10" ice pack that screwed into the lid.  We did use it but I would have liked to crack a few packs and put them under his pits, back of neck, and in his crotch as I started to notice heat exhaustion kicking in with him.  The wet/cold towels did work but ice packs would have been faster, easier, more effective, less messy.

I also plan to join AAA which would have saved us...potentially...$400 today.

Thanks

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 6:23:44 PM EDT
Well I just got off the phone with Progressive...nice as pie to deal with!!

Now for slightly less coverage in some areas (ex. $250K vs $300K) and more in others (ex. $500K vs $300K) it'll cost me about $80 more per year  to go with them.  And to be able to make a single phone call and have a tow truck 1) contacted, 2) on the way, 3) the number, 4) the name of the tower, and 5) have it paid for with no cash/credit needed...I'd pay $200 extra a year!!! No screaming over traffic, no heat related emergencies, plus they ask me if I'm ok so if we're not...I just tell them!! Now I could call 911 on my own but again...it's nice to know they are programmed and I pay them...to care!!!   None of this "oh...uhmm...yeah...I don't know what to tell you" bullshit!!  I swear I wanted to strangle that woman through the phone!!! It takes a LOT to get me to that point but she did it!  You do NOT he-haw around when my family is with me and in jeopardy!  

Any other suggestions for what to add to my vehicles??  

So far we have more cash, instant ice packs....what else??

What about staying warm in the winter without making a fire on the interstate and getting arrested?

How about other supplies other than car parts and/or temperature control?

Thanks!

-Emt1581

Link Posted: 7/16/2013 6:37:53 PM EDT
So what caused it? The combo of a/c then overheating would make me suspect a bearing went out on a/c, leading to serpentine belt failure, but your comment about spare parts/nothing broken leads me to believe you'd be onto that possibility right away. Just an unlucky coincidence?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 6:43:02 PM EDT
Quoted:
So what caused it? The combo of a/c then overheating would make me suspect a bearing went out on a/c, leading to serpentine belt failure, but your comment about spare parts/nothing broken leads me to believe you'd be onto that possibility right away. Just an unlucky coincidence?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


I don't have an answer yet as to the cause.  Hopefully my mechanic will tomorrow.  

But yes, the car still functioned.  That is, I could turn it on and drive it.  However, I've learned my lesson the hard (read: EXPENSIVE!!) way driving it after I shouldn't have.  So I erred on the side of caution today.

When I see a coolant tank boiling and I'm out with my family...that tells me to back away and let a mechanic figure it out.  When it's breaks, fluids, lights , oil/filter, tires, etc...screw the tow/mechanic I'll take care of it myself!

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 6:43:30 PM EDT
If you 'need' AC in your car - you are a wuss...



Seriously...

People all over the world live without it just fine and do not 'cry' about it.
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 6:45:41 PM EDT
Quoted:
If you 'need' AC in your car - you are a wuss...



Seriously...

People all over the world live without it just fine and do not 'cry' about it.


Re-read my OP...the car OVERHEATED!!! A/C breaking just preceded the event...

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 7:09:28 PM EDT
What kind of vehicle? Sounds like a thermostat stuck or water pump went out. Is the radiator good? Do you have the proper tools to change a tire? Small floor jack and fold able 4 way lug wrench?

Gloves for hot parts, hand pro.
HiViz mesh vest for night time breakdowns/ assist?
Keep frozen bottles of water in cooler.
The gel filled freezer packs are good.
Extra flashlights and batteries.
I keep a 3Million CP spotlight in rear of vehicle.
Trauma bag, IV bag. My fire gear.
Have mobile UHF/VHF in Tahoe

Of course Bob with tarps, folding saw, food, 8-10 bottles of water stashed under seat.

Insurance with road side/ towing
Cell phone road side
AAA
Car warranty road side
Lots of stuff we can discuss later.
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 7:35:24 PM EDT
Quoted:
What kind of vehicle? Sounds like a thermostat stuck or water pump went out. Is the radiator good? Do you have the proper tools to change a tire? Small floor jack and fold able 4 way lug wrench?

Gloves for hot parts, hand pro.
HiViz mesh vest for night time breakdowns/ assist?
Keep frozen bottles of water in cooler.
The gel filled freezer packs are good.
Extra flashlights and batteries.
I keep a 3Million CP spotlight in rear of vehicle.
Trauma bag, IV bag. My fire gear.
Have mobile UHF/VHF in Tahoe

Of course Bob with tarps, folding saw, food, 8-10 bottles of water stashed under seat.

Insurance with road side/ towing
Cell phone road side
AAA
Car warranty road side
Lots of stuff we can discuss later.


It's a Forester and yes, everything to change and plug a tire...and duplicates of some things.

I have everything you mentioned except for the IV bag.  First because I'm not trained to use them at my rank in an official capacity but also because if they get to an IV bag level, we've either run out of water or they need much more serious care than I can provide.  Either way it's something I can carry and I do know how to use them (just wouldn't be covered by the local counsel if something went wrong), but I just choose not to for the reasons I stated.

I actually have 2 trauma bags.  One is specifically for GSW and other more serious injuries.  The other is from my station and is just first on scene and much more basic type of stuff (gauze, roll gauze, BP Cuff/Steth, CPR mask, etc.)

There is no warranty on this car as it is an 02.  

Next call is to AAA to see what they would offer to justify the $100/yr over Progressive's auto policy with roadside/towing/rental.

Thanks

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 7:50:54 PM EDT
to the tools and parts already mentioned

take off...serpentine belt, wiper blade.... my Ford's idler pulley uses a 1/2" breaker bar to release tension to install belt
heavy duty jumper cable
tire plug kit
hand tire pump
4 way lug wrench
when I had a manual transmission vehicle an unopened can of brake fluid
fuse assortment
small plastic bucket to gather water from roadside ditch
folding GI shovel and GI machete to cut branches for traction if necessary
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 9:18:57 PM EDT
Probably a cooling fan failure, a/c failure may or may not be related, car will cruise along fine temp wise until you get into stop and go, or slow then it will overheat. Solution, sit an 1/2 hour to hour, start drive to nearest exit or until the gauge climbs to the red again, if you get open road and can maintain over 45ish you can continue on without worry if its the fan. Things to check, is the fan turning, can be checked key on engine off on most electric fan vehicles or just starting it for a second while its hot, no? check fuses, swap non-essential relay such as headlight relay at noon or horn anytime, if that's it, it'll get you home, or to the beach. I recommend a test light it makes finding problems easier. Also cranking the heat full blast can slightly prolong how far the car will go between cool-downs. If its not the fan, on most rigs the thermostat is easy to get to, in a real emergency you can remove it or knock a hole in it and put it back in, fill the car with water and possibly carry on, if it still acts up it's probably the water pump and there is no roadside cure for that but another water pump.

So far as staying cool, shade and water, really your best options unless you're gonna pack a trailer with a generator, fans and/or a/c, everything else just offers temporary relief, oh and get out of the car, its an oven. High temps for a few hours are not normally an emergency for healthy hydrated people, just unpleasant.

Staying warm, in AK in winter when you went on a roadtrip you carried sleeping bags for everyone, plus winter gear. Heat sources, stove of somesort, do not use in the car, most states specifically exempt warming fires from bans/ordinances when used for an emergency, further in an emergency who cares about a citation. Chemical warmers are good for snivels, here again they're temporary and not great for a real emergency, but ideally your body just needs a little help. Best to stay in the car, if its not running and you suspect you'll be there more than a few hours heap snow on it, it'll insulate, but mark your snowpile so help can find you, if it runs keep the exhaust clear, and do not let snow pile up to the bottom of the car. Body needs a lot of calories in the cold, and a way to heat those calories will dramatically improve morale, gatorade and the like have a slightly lower freeze point than water, dehydration makes you more prone to hypothermia, keep liquids thawed by keeping them in the bag with you if you don't have an external heat source.
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 1:53:44 AM EDT
youd do well to acclimate you and the family so their used to heat.

heat sucks lol..we all know it but honestly it wont just kill you unless your dehydrated or really exerting yourself.

it stays into the 80's here even up past 9pm...plus high humidty..



sides that get rid of that hippy Forrester...my brother got rid of his because they constantly had issues with it.
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 5:38:33 AM EDT
Quoted:
Probably a cooling fan failure,


This was my first thought, too. Cooling Fan(s) assembly/circuit failure. Check the fuses too.
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 7:16:19 AM EDT
Sounds like you are counting on your insurance company to do what AAA does.

I guess with some higher end policies you get towing coverage but generally not.

Another problem is during any time of high demand you are going to be at the end of a long line . Snow or ice storms , heat waves or whatever
and you are going to be sitting at the side of the road . Self rescue or preventative work on the car are your best bets.

A car with a poor electric fan , half plugged radiator , or soft radiator hoses might run fine on a average day but on the hot day in stop and go traffic you are in trouble.

Old school help for a car on the edge of boiling over is to roll down the windows , turn the heater to high and drive it out of the stop and go traffic.
The heater will make you miserable but it will pull lots of heat off the engine and let you motor on . this won't help you if your fan bet is gone but if you have a radiator in need of a flush it could get you out of a jamb.

I once drove 100 miles on the highway with a 1967 dodge dart on a 98 degree day in my skivvies sweating like a pig with the heater on high. Nasty but it got me home
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 7:18:47 AM EDT
I will try not to be cruel, but as I was reading the OP I was wondering what the panic was about?  Sure it was hot, but you had shade, water, AND cold water in a cooler.  You were planning on heading to the beach so you should have been ready to spend time in the sun in that weather, so an hour or two in the shade should not be too bad.  Yes, your plans being messed up and the cost of fixing the problem are always frustrating but the thought that you would need to call 911 after 2 hours (if you waited for another tow truck) is a bit out there, especially when you have water.  I would park the car where safest, move to the off the blacktop and into the shade.  Both the car and the road will be well over 100, avoid those.  Otherwise, I would say you had what you needed to make it though the situation (shade, water, cell phone, credit card/cash) and need to look at adjusting your outlook.  When stuff breaks, it is not going to be as nice and when it works.  The worst part would be keeping the 2 year old occupied and not bored so he/she is not focusing on being hot.  Do you have age appropriate games/toys in your kit.

Or just take this as a rant "the heat is not that bad" from someone that lives in Alabama, has lived in southern Texas, spent a lot of time in New Orleans, and actually likes the desert (dry heat is so nice compared to humidity)...  How you deal with the cold up there in the north I will never understand

On a side note:  your coolant (antifreeze) can be steaming and boiling under normal conditions if you take the cap off.  It operates under pressure so when you open the cap to take a look while still hot, the pressure that keeps it from boiling normally is gone.  This is why all radiator caps have that warning about opening while hot.  I would say that is your only mistake... I am cautious opening that cap on a car running normally,  I would be paranoid about opening it on an overheating car(see story below).  I am not sure if your radiator fan will run with the key in the half way on position but that would be the best option for cooling it back down with the hood up.  Also, check the oil, it has as much to do with cooling as the actual coolant and probably needs to be replaced after overheating.

(story time) A friend in high school was burned by hot coolant.  He and his Mom were driving around in Texas in the summer when the car overheated.  The mom thought she would take a look at the radiator fluid.  When she opened the cap she evidently did not know about the twist to the first location to let off steam while the cap is still held on.  So she twists off the cap in one motion and the coolant shoots out like a  fountain and lands all over the shoulder and shirt of my friend.  He had 2nd degree burns on shoulder chest and back before he could get his shirt off.  Also, now there is no coolant in the car.  Luckily they were in the city so help was not far away.   I say this as a warning, it may not be you that gets burnt, it may be your wife or child, and in a traffic jam where help cannot get to you for an hour it would be a bad situation.  Or even if there is no traffic, the car would not have any coolant in it so you could not get yourself out.
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 7:40:57 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 10:00:37 AM EDT
Quoted:
I don't really tout team membership much, since you have to make up your own mind, but it seems folks here are more than willing to help paying team members.  Please don't get the the impression that NO-ONE would help a non-paying member, but you have been around long enough to see what some on here think. Having said that, and the fact you have a smart phone, I would be willing to bet if you posted your dilemma in GD that someone would have been willing to help out. I have seen it a few times.  Yeah, you would get many "smart a$$" responses, but I am sure a few would have offered help, especially if you were in a populated area.

If I where in a tight spot, I would post in GD and see what happened.  I remember a guy who had a problem with his truck and someone helped with finding a decent hotel in a safe area and might have even offered to haul his truck back home.  I could see someone offering to come out and take you to a rest area or restaurant.  It couldn't be any worse than waiting forever for a tow truck.  

$24/yr seems like a reasonable "prep" expense.


I don't understand what you mean by $24/yr?  Is that the cost to be a paying member of ARF.com?  I thought it was $15/yr. but maybe that's the boating forum I'm on (thehulltruth.com).  

Also, I never thought of that...making a thread for help in that area of Jersey.  I mean we could end up with serial killer Sam picking us up who would get a rude awakening when I reach into my little bag of tricks.  But otherwise it would have been something better than sitting there for over an hour!!  

One other thing I forgot to mention...when my wife started walking around holding my son...within 5 mins a guy towing a boat and going to the same beach we were going to pulled over to help us.  Just then the tow truck pulled up.  But maybe that is one way of flagging down help as the 4-ways and hood up did nothing.  

Thanks

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 1:45:18 PM EDT
I think the other important question to ask is what you would have done if there was no help coming?

Did anyone stop to help? A quick tow strap ride could have made all the difference.
Could you have fixed the problem on your own? After it sat for like a few hours could you have limped it to the nearest town?
Do you have a paper copy of the FSM in the vehicle? cheap code reader?

Even with it being 100 degrees you probably wouldn't have died before the sun went down. Having a little one is going to make things harder but the human body doesn't shut down that quick. It probably sucked and all but I always have to ask myself what if help wasn't coming....

If my vehicle let me down that much I would kick it down the road. Personally, I drive old crap I can fix with basic hand tools 95% of the time. I don't have a/c :)

Link Posted: 7/17/2013 3:36:48 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 4:50:41 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I think the other important question to ask is what you would have done if there was no help coming?

Did anyone stop to help? A quick tow strap ride could have made all the difference.
Could you have fixed the problem on your own? After it sat for like a few hours could you have limped it to the nearest town?
Do you have a paper copy of the FSM in the vehicle? cheap code reader?

Even with it being 100 degrees you probably wouldn't have died before the sun went down. Having a little one is going to make things harder but the human body doesn't shut down that quick. It probably sucked and all but I always have to ask myself what if help wasn't coming....

If my vehicle let me down that much I would kick it down the road. Personally, I drive old crap I can fix with basic hand tools 95% of the time. I don't have a/c :)

View Quote


What would I have done if no help was coming?...hiked out of there!! We could both take turns carrying my boy.  But what I said to my wife was that we were only about 1/4-1/2 mile away from the exit.  It's not like we were out in the middle of nowhere...unfamiliar territory...sure....but in the middle of nowhere it was not.  It was just one of those situations where we had no idea who was coming and when.  So we couldn't leave but couldn't have stayed much longer.

For those who have said we weren't in any danger of dehydration, you're right, we had some time there.  But I know what to look for with heat related illnesses and my son was started to show signs.  Plus we were going through bottles of water very fast!!  That's another improvement I'm making.  I have to store a LOT more of them.  I've seen people say they keep them under the seat.  I'll see how many gallons worth I can stow.

As for who stopped...I think I said it earlier but a guy towing a boat to the same beach we were going to.  

I don't understand what you mean by a "tow strap ride"....what is that?...Where we sit in our car and steer and they drive their car??

FSM?  What is that?  I should buy one of those code readers but that wouldn't have done anything.  

I did hear back from my mechanic twice today.  First he said it might be the head gasket (which he just replaced before I bought the car from him three months ago)....then he said it was most likely a bad thermostat after checking everything.  So he ordered it and I should have my car tomorrow!!  

Other than the A/C having a leak in the past, which the mechanic/dealer fixed for free...this is the only issue the car has had.  So once it's fixed we should be good to go.


-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 6:46:45 PM EDT
First off my verizon phone bill gives me towing for any vehicle i'm in for $3/month.  My insurance (progressive) wanted $40/month per vehicle.  You may check places other than insurance.  AAA, your phone, etc  That being said I've been happy with them.

Second you may have a plugged radiator or condenser coil if your vehicle didn't have a mechanical failure it may have a flow failure.  Take your grill out and wash the radiator and condenser with a garden hose, do not use a pressure washer but a spray nozzle should be fine. Also check for flattened fins.  All the bugs and dirt you drive thru can get stuck in there.  You may swing by the hardware store and get a can of coil cleaner from the hvac section also (don't get it in your eyes).  If you have lots of debris get a stiff stainless card type dog brush for about $3 from walmart.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pet-Champion-Dog-Grooming-Slicker-Brush/20369871

You can use these to clean your A/C at home also.
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 8:16:55 PM EDT
Just curious what tow company was it?

Edit for spelling
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 8:39:21 PM EDT
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Quoted:
Just curious what tow company was it?

Edit for spelling
View Quote


Defalco's Automotive and Towing.

Driver had gang tat's on his throat and arms.  

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/17/2013 8:55:54 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
First off my verizon phone bill gives me towing for any vehicle i'm in for $3/month.  My insurance (progressive) wanted $40/month per vehicle.  You may check places other than insurance.  AAA, your phone, etc  That being said I've been happy with them.

Second you may have a plugged radiator or condenser coil if your vehicle didn't have a mechanical failure it may have a flow failure.  Take your grill out and wash the radiator and condenser with a garden hose, do not use a pressure washer but a spray nozzle should be fine. Also check for flattened fins.  All the bugs and dirt you drive thru can get stuck in there.  You may swing by the hardware store and get a can of coil cleaner from the hvac section also (don't get it in your eyes).  If you have lots of debris get a stiff stainless card type dog brush for about $3 from walmart.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pet-Champion-Dog-Grooming-Slicker-Brush/20369871

You can use these to clean your A/C at home also.
View Quote


I didn't know that about Verizon!  I will definitely check into that!!  Same with AAA.  Now with progressive their customer service is 24/7.  I just called AAA not an hour ago at 12:30am here...got a recording.  I'm guessing if I really had an accident/issue they would have picked up on that extension but still it's definitely not a fully fuctioning company in all facets 24/7 like Progressive.  

But for $3 a month no matter where I am or who's vehicle I am in for 100% covered towing...that's a serious bargain!!!  That would come out to $72 a YEAR for my wife and I!!

I need to call AAA to see what all I'd take advantage of by joining them.  I can't afford to fly or go on vacations so that takes that away.  I have no interest in leaving the country.  We don't go out to dinner much.  We don't go to the movies or shows.  We do buy groceries, gasoline, and have utility bills...not sure what they could do there.  But like I said, I'll call up and see what they have.

My mechanic thinks it's a bad thermostat so he's ordering a new one and I should have my car back tomorrow.  $100 for that instead of $1000+ for a new head gasket...I can handle that just fine!

My wife and I talked though.  Yesterday was bad.  However, as pissed off, worried, and miserable as we were we are actually going to make a re-attempt next Tuesday.  I figure if it happens again I probably won't go further than wal-mart for quite some time!!  

Thing that gets me is that Subaru engines, especially with replaced head gaskets are supposed to be damn near bulletproof!!  Now if it was just a thermostat, fine, parts go.  But if this car won't get us to the beach and back safely I will have pretty much lost my faith in Subaru's and this is the third one we've owned!!! Our other car is a Buick LeSabre.  

Now I also have the Forester setup as our BOV.  Roof basket, dog barrier, guns in the rear floor compartments, survival kit, ammo pouch, GHB, water, tow kit, etc.  Whereas the Buick is just not set up/equipped to handle what the Subaru can.  It's not like my dog can ride in the trunk and there's no ability to tie anything to the roof.  Much less interior storage capacity as well.  

Any opinions here on the issue?  Next Tues...take the Buick or the Subaru?  

Thanks

-Emt1581

Link Posted: 7/18/2013 5:12:14 AM EDT
I would drive the car around close to home for a while with the A/C on after you get it back today. Then, let it idle (if it is still really hot there) with the A/C for half hour to 45 minutes. Try and get it to fail. Get an anti-freeze tester (the little dollar ones are OK) and test your coolant. If all checks out, it is as good as it will ever be.



I would wash your rads. Maintenance item anyway.
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 5:45:03 AM EDT
Well, I still think you handled the situation about as well as can be expected.
You had commo, water, shade and food.
I figure since you were headed to the beach, you had lightweight clothing, sunscreen and hats.

Breaking down sucks. There is really not much you can do to make it not suck.
You could of had some of those personal misting systems or battery operated fans or both.

I am not a big fan of the icepack coolers.
and I cannot tell if you meant the cooler was 8x10 or just the icepack was 8x10. - either way, too small.
When we head to the coast or on a trip, we have a large igloo cooler full of ice, water, etc.
Another benefit is water from the melted ice can be used as well.

You got me to checking and we also have roadside assistance on our policies with USAA.
Towing and labor for $14.00/yr per vehicle really does seem like a good deal.

We also have Progressive on our boat, through USAA.
Glad to hear you are pleased with their customer service, we have not had to use it yet.
I do like Flo, though.
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 1:04:32 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:





I didn't know that about Verizon! I will definitely check into that!! Same with AAA. Now with progressive their customer service is 24/7. I just called AAA not an hour ago at 12:30am here...got a recording. I'm guessing if I really had an accident/issue they would have picked up on that extension but still it's definitely not a fully fuctioning company in all facets 24/7 like Progressive.



But for $3 a month no matter where I am or who's vehicle I am in for 100% covered towing...that's a serious bargain!!! That would come out to $72 a YEAR for my wife and I!!



I need to call AAA to see what all I'd take advantage of by joining them. I can't afford to fly or go on vacations so that takes that away. I have no interest in leaving the country. We don't go out to dinner much. We don't go to the movies or shows. We do buy groceries, gasoline, and have utility bills...not sure what they could do there. But like I said, I'll call up and see what they have.



My mechanic thinks it's a bad thermostat so he's ordering a new one and I should have my car back tomorrow. $100 for that instead of $1000+ for a new head gasket...I can handle that just fine!



My wife and I talked though. Yesterday was bad. However, as pissed off, worried, and miserable as we were we are actually going to make a re-attempt next Tuesday. I figure if it happens again I probably won't go further than wal-mart for quite some time!!



Thing that gets me is that Subaru engines, especially with replaced head gaskets are supposed to be damn near bulletproof!! Now if it was just a thermostat, fine, parts go. But if this car won't get us to the beach and back safely I will have pretty much lost my faith in Subaru's and this is the third one we've owned!!! Our other car is a Buick LeSabre.



Now I also have the Forester setup as our BOV. Roof basket, dog barrier, guns in the rear floor compartments, survival kit, ammo pouch, GHB, water, tow kit, etc. Whereas the Buick is just not set up/equipped to handle what the Subaru can. It's not like my dog can ride in the trunk and there's no ability to tie anything to the roof. Much less interior storage capacity as well.



Any opinions here on the issue? Next Tues...take the Buick or the Subaru?



Thanks



-Emt1581



View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:

Quoted:

First off my verizon phone bill gives me towing for any vehicle i'm in for $3/month. My insurance (progressive) wanted $40/month per vehicle. You may check places other than insurance. AAA, your phone, etc That being said I've been happy with them.



Second you may have a plugged radiator or condenser coil if your vehicle didn't have a mechanical failure it may have a flow failure. Take your grill out and wash the radiator and condenser with a garden hose, do not use a pressure washer but a spray nozzle should be fine. Also check for flattened fins. All the bugs and dirt you drive thru can get stuck in there. You may swing by the hardware store and get a can of coil cleaner from the hvac section also (don't get it in your eyes). If you have lots of debris get a stiff stainless card type dog brush for about $3 from walmart.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pet-Champion-Dog-Grooming-Slicker-Brush/20369871



You can use these to clean your A/C at home also.




I didn't know that about Verizon! I will definitely check into that!! Same with AAA. Now with progressive their customer service is 24/7. I just called AAA not an hour ago at 12:30am here...got a recording. I'm guessing if I really had an accident/issue they would have picked up on that extension but still it's definitely not a fully fuctioning company in all facets 24/7 like Progressive.



But for $3 a month no matter where I am or who's vehicle I am in for 100% covered towing...that's a serious bargain!!! That would come out to $72 a YEAR for my wife and I!!



I need to call AAA to see what all I'd take advantage of by joining them. I can't afford to fly or go on vacations so that takes that away. I have no interest in leaving the country. We don't go out to dinner much. We don't go to the movies or shows. We do buy groceries, gasoline, and have utility bills...not sure what they could do there. But like I said, I'll call up and see what they have.



My mechanic thinks it's a bad thermostat so he's ordering a new one and I should have my car back tomorrow. $100 for that instead of $1000+ for a new head gasket...I can handle that just fine!



My wife and I talked though. Yesterday was bad. However, as pissed off, worried, and miserable as we were we are actually going to make a re-attempt next Tuesday. I figure if it happens again I probably won't go further than wal-mart for quite some time!!



Thing that gets me is that Subaru engines, especially with replaced head gaskets are supposed to be damn near bulletproof!! Now if it was just a thermostat, fine, parts go. But if this car won't get us to the beach and back safely I will have pretty much lost my faith in Subaru's and this is the third one we've owned!!! Our other car is a Buick LeSabre.



Now I also have the Forester setup as our BOV. Roof basket, dog barrier, guns in the rear floor compartments, survival kit, ammo pouch, GHB, water, tow kit, etc. Whereas the Buick is just not set up/equipped to handle what the Subaru can. It's not like my dog can ride in the trunk and there's no ability to tie anything to the roof. Much less interior storage capacity as well.



Any opinions here on the issue? Next Tues...take the Buick or the Subaru?



Thanks



-Emt1581









I would do the test the above poster mentioned when I got the car back. I would not fault a a car because a thermostat went bad, thats a maintenence item. Its like saying "I'm not going to trust my car anymore because it has a bad alternator"



I consider myself fortunate it only have POS junk cars when I was growing up. My life (until I was 25 and bought a newish car) was "figure out why the car won't work or be late for work". Taught me a lot about vehicle troubleshooting and maintenence.
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 3:06:18 PM EDT
While I am not against drivng the car around as a test,
it only proves the A/C is working during the test, no guarantee that it will not go out during the drive to the coast.

Much like my ex-wife who could not understand how she could have a flat tire today when they were fine yesterday
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 3:25:50 PM EDT
OP, it sounds like you handled things just fine.  Cars break sometimes, whaddya gonna do?  You had preps pretty well.  Definitely need more water.  I usually carry a gallon in a cooler and have a gallon of 50/50 antifreeze mix on trips.  I need to up my own travel water supply.  

As for the little one, you had shade and water.  If he was starting to overheat, keep him in the shade, keep him hydrated and soak him down with water.  Babies are pretty tough.  

Did you have any friends who could come out and get you?

A buddy and I have a mutual assistance agreement so that if either one of us breaks down or has a problem, the other will come to his aid.  Maybe you can get a buddy who is also preparedness minded to be a back up for you.

Cars sometimes suck to know how to fix them.  Maybe you can get with a buddy to learn to work on your car together.  Anyway, glad it all worked out OK.
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 4:16:58 PM EDT
Sounds to me like you handled yourself just fine, and you did what you had to do keep your family safe and healthy. Breaking down sucks, by definition, but it would have sucked a lot more had you not been prepared

Also, I checked our USAA auto policy and we have towing coverage as well...I had no idea

Thanks brother, this thread prompted me to check.

When it's all said and done, being prepared is all about mitigating the impact of the curve balls Murphy throws at us.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 5:31:04 PM EDT
I've used the heater to keep going on an uphill pull when my truck was overheating.  It works.  You've got to watch that temp. guage like a hawk in my opinion.

I keep a gallon clorox jug full of tap water in my vehicles for refilling the cooling system in emergencies, washing up, etc. and I can drink it if need be, even though I carry dedicated bottles for that.  In the past I have helped cool down an overheated car by pouring water over the radiator. Newer vehicles may not let you do this.
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 6:33:38 PM EDT
What did humans do before AIR CONDITIONING......
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 7:41:13 PM EDT
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Quoted:
What did humans do before AIR CONDITIONING......
View Quote


...overheated and died a LOT more!

Over time your body acclimates but in such a short time period it doesn't.

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 7:42:25 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I've used the heater to keep going on an uphill pull when my truck was overheating.  It works.  You've got to watch that temp. guage like a hawk in my opinion.

I keep a gallon clorox jug full of tap water in my vehicles for refilling the cooling system in emergencies, washing up, etc. and I can drink it if need be, even though I carry dedicated bottles for that.  In the past I have helped cool down an overheated car by pouring water over the radiator. Newer vehicles may not let you do this.
View Quote


Wait...so that dissipates the heat in the engine compartment by moving it to the passenger?  

In a SHTF emergency it's something to think about.

Thanks

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 7:43:06 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


What did humans do before AIR CONDITIONING......
View Quote




 



They didn't live in hot areas NEAR as much!!




Serious. I saw a History Channel documentary on how A/C allowed migration to hotter regions in the US.
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 7:47:22 PM EDT
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Quoted:
Sounds to me like you handled yourself just fine, and you did what you had to do keep your family safe and healthy. Breaking down sucks, by definition, but it would have sucked a lot more had you not been prepared

Also, I checked our USAA auto policy and we have towing coverage as well...I had no idea

Thanks brother, this thread prompted me to check.

When it's all said and done, being prepared is all about mitigating the impact of the curve balls Murphy throws at us.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
View Quote


Thanks for that but you'd link with all the shit we pack there would be some way for breaking down and needing a tow to NOT suck!!! I mean I know we can't pull an air conditioned tent out of some place but I sure wish there was.  Then you could sit tight and relax!  

As for the towing policy I checked into that today...

To the guy that mentioned the Verizon $3 a month deal...yeah no thanks!! It only covers you for THREE miles!!! Then it's $3.50 a mile after that.  That's pretty much the same rip-off I just went through.  I appreciate learning about it though...had no clue!!

With AAA they offer some really nice support and it's under $200/yr. for the both of us!!  Only downside is if I need a rental car I only get one day and an extra day if we go with Hertz.  No hotel stay coverage or anything there.

Progressive really sounds like the best but it's also the most expensive so I'm going to have to compare apples to apples and see which of the two is the best for us.

Thanks!

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 7:48:36 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
While I am not against drivng the car around as a test,
it only proves the A/C is working during the test, no guarantee that it will not go out during the drive to the coast.

Much like my ex-wife who could not understand how she could have a flat tire today when they were fine yesterday
View Quote


I plan on taking a test run to Cabela's by myself.  That way I can take my time looking around and if something happens I'm by myself so no worries.  On my own I could walk home if worse came to worst!!

-Emt1581
Link Posted: 7/19/2013 5:54:44 AM EDT
Throw a bike in the back, just in case.
Link Posted: 7/19/2013 7:27:37 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Progressive really sounds like the best but it's also the most expensive so I'm going to have to compare apples to apples and see which of the two is the best for us.

Thanks!

-Emt1581
View Quote

But you will have to actually READ your policy.

It may only cover you to the nearest repair facility, not all the way home.
Link Posted: 7/19/2013 7:32:10 AM EDT
I have been thinking about this,

and basically,
traveling is everybodys Achilles heel,

We just take for granted moving from point A to point B.

To me, even on the best day, nice 65-70degree weather, sunny,
sitting on the side of the road still sucks.
Link Posted: 7/19/2013 7:33:46 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I have been thinking about this,

and basically,
traveling is everybodys Achilles heel,

We just take for granted moving from point A to point B.

To me, even on the best day, nice 65-70degree weather, sunny,
sitting on the side of the road still sucks.
View Quote


+1

A survivalist can learn their rig though. A little understanding of engine cooling can go a long way to keeping rolling. I have driven over 400 miles from Austin to West TX  with a  BOV that was leaking coolant.  I got real good at planning water stops on that run
Link Posted: 7/20/2013 3:10:41 PM EDT
I've been mulling your incident over since I read this a few days ago.  The level of upset with your car insurance company is not warranted.  Many car insurance policies don't offer roadside assistance, and if they do, it's just that they cover x amount of dollars of the fee, they don't seek out the assistance for you.  You were expecting your car insurance carrier to do and care about something that you don't pay them to do or care about.  Your policy clearly says what they will do or pay for.  While your progressive policy has different benefits, you shouldn't expect them if they're not spelled out, that's FSA thought.  You have to provide for yourself.  I grew up traveling down the shore in the area of NJ that you experienced and the first car that my family ever had with air conditioning was mine that I bought when I was 18, however we always had AAA.   Never had it before and it sucked, but we survived being stuck in hours and hours of traffic on the parkway and turnpike in the middle of summer.  I know this isn't the most supportive of responses, but it's reality and now for the supportive part.

Could you have reached out to a friend or relative to get you home while your car was towed to the nearest shop?

If it's just a matter of overheating, as someone else mentioned, you could cool the radiator off with water after a time, and alternatively, if it's a broken thermostat, just open the coolant hose and remove the busted thermostat, your car will run very cool now, and the thermostat shuts off coolant flow to allow the engine to come to operating temp, without one, coolant will flow constantly.  

Do you carry extra coolant with you?  You could have drained the boiling stuff and replaced with new, and probably made it to the next exit.

Did you turn the heater on full blast and open all the windows?  I've run cars with almost no coolant left this way for more than a mile or two in the summer without overheating.  It's not comfortable, but it works enough to get to the next exit.

Finally, cars have a shelf life, I know alot of members here like to own old cars and wrench on them themselves.  They carry a full set of spare parts for most anything that can go wrong, have a full set of tools, and have the Hayes manual for their car in the trunk.  For many it is better to drive a cheap newer car than an older expensive car.  Most new cars will easily go to 100k without more than oil, tires and brakes, once you get up there and beyond, you either need to:  be able to diagnose and fix anything that could go wrong, have AAA and accept the fact that you will be stuck along the way sometimes, or be a maritime style maintenance fanatic who follows all the manufacturer recommended maintenance repairs and then some at or ahead of schedule.  I personally drive too much to replace cars at 100k, so I'm the PM fanatic.  Everybody's situation is different and you have to do what's best for you.

The bottom line is that you were prepared, and you and your family survived just fine.  Next time, though, do drop a line on arfcom if you have no other options, if you were near my AO, you'd have been drinking cold beer while we solved your problem.

Link Posted: 7/20/2013 3:10:51 PM EDT
doubled
Link Posted: 7/21/2013 8:51:33 AM EDT
Sounds like the family needs to get out in the heat and harden up.
Mine could use some work too.
Myself and the kids are OK; but as soon as the wife starts sweating, her head goes right up her ass and it drags down the rest of us.

Embrace the suck.
Link Posted: 7/21/2013 11:44:40 AM EDT
Look at AAA OP. For me it's worth the extra money so I don't have to deal with some dick wad at the insurance company.
I saw something on the local news channel here a few years back where someone was  making a claim for a tow when they broke down.
When It came time to renew their car insurance the rates went up because of the towing claim, seems kind of crazy.

Just look at the different plans for AAA, I think I have the basic. When I have used them they always have had help to me under one hour.
I have yet to test them out in the middle of nowhere, I would think that might take longer and could cost more.
Link Posted: 7/21/2013 11:52:00 AM EDT
Another option for those of us with older cars is to rent a car for trips.
Weekend rentals are cheap and you get a new low mileage car that is not going to break down.
If it does break down, call the rental company and they will come out with a new car and replace yours.
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 3:43:09 PM EDT
Just wanted to update.  I finally got my Forester back tonight...

Initially my mechanic said it wouldn't be an easy fix as nothing was obvious.  Then he said it just needed a new thermostat.  But after he did that it still kept overheating.  

Turns out the heads were off by 2/1000" and needed to be machined.  Plus it needed a new head gasket.  I asked him what could have caused everything and he said the thermostat probably went around the time we noticed the A/C shut off and then any more than a few seconds driving on it screwed up the heads and then the head gasket.  He also said there's not really anything I could have done to avoid it.

So $450 later and I'm back on the road.  He said to drive it around a lot before taking any long trips just to make sure the problem is really solved.  So I figure I'll give it 300 miles before I call it safe to go to Cabela's and the beach with.  

Despite this MAJOR hiccup I still think it's a much better vehicle than our 06 LeSabre.  

-Emt1581



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