My Subaru’s Totaled, So I’m Going Car-less….For Now

October 10th, 2011

Two totaled Subarus in five years: what are the odds? Thank God, we’re all fine, and no, neither accident was our fault!

Two weeks ago, a Jeep slammed into our 2001 Subaru Legacy. Our four-year-old was in the backseat. Ironically, that’s where his big brother was sitting on Mother’s Day, 2006, when a huge deer ran into the front of our 1999 Subaru wagon. (I was sitting in the front seat, very pregnant at the time. Thank God — and Subaru — we were all fine!)

The insurance company totaled the car because it would cost more than “the car is worth” to fix it. Says who? Talk about a waste, from a sustainability perspective!

So while we will get $9,000 or so to replace our Subaru, it’s hard – no unthinkable – to replace the car we bought new with someone else’s old car.

At first, I took it as a great green challenge to go carless. After all, we live near metro, I walk to my office, and the school bus comes to the corner. It was just the other week that I turned down a corporate Zip Car membership. Maybe time to reconsider?  Or what about BlaBlaCar, a ride-sharing service that cuts carbon – and costs?

But the thought of trekking several blocks with a sick kid in tow to grab a Zipcar to get to the doctors made me realize I didn’t want to give up the convenience of a car in my driveway, ready to roll.  And BlaBlaCar, regrettably, is not yet available in the US.

So now I’m back to square one, thinking about what to do next.

What about you, dear readers? Does your family get by with just one car? How do you do it, when you live outside a city center?  Am I crazy to think about trying to survive with just one family car?  (DH  uses the wagon for his commute).

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

— Lynn

12 Responses to “My Subaru’s Totaled, So I’m Going Car-less….For Now”

  1. Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Gren on October 10, 2011 8:10 pm

    So sorry to hear about your wreak! I’m still getting over my whiplash from my car accident in February. Glad you are okay!

    It may not seem like it but after my car accident and finding out the pain of getting a very badly wreaked car fixed you are lucky (since you weren’t hurt) that the car was totaled. Ours had around $8,000-$9,000 in damage but was only 6 months old so wasn’t enough to total it. It took months to get it fixed, had a terrible rental car for awhile then finally got a better one but it had terrible gas milage, we didn’t get enough in pain and suffering to help with those kinds of costs, they did at least pay my medical but only until we settled and I’m still going to the chiro once a month. That was longer than I meant for it to me but anyway, haha. On the bright side you don’t have that to deal with.

    I don’t drive so I can’t really help with the rest. Is there like a trial Zipcar membership?

  2. Mary Hunt on October 10, 2011 8:35 pm

    Isn’t it mandatory to have a car if you have kids? I’m having flashbacks of hearing about my neighbor RUNNING/PUSHING with her baby in a stroller it to the hospital after a bad fall.

  3. Lynn on October 10, 2011 8:35 pm

    You know, Lisa, your comments put it in perspective. Of course, I knew from @GreenMoms about your terrible pain, but I didn’t know about all the other hassles with the car! What a nightmare…

    So yes, I’m very glad we got some $$$$. In fact, the first car was not officially “totaled” but we ended up trading it back to our Subaru dealer with full disclosure of the problems, so they could fix it properly. I was spooked when another dealer in town suggested we “do the minimum repairs” and sell to Carmax. First, now I know that dealer is completely unethical, and second, I could just imagine some poor woman (cuz who else buys wagons?) buying an old Subaru and then finding out it needed more expensive repairs!

    It just seems so wasteful to have two cars….I would love if we could get by with one. So far, I’m 2.5 weeks into this…but I confess I’m starting to look longingly at some possible replacements! :)

  4. Lynn on October 10, 2011 8:40 pm

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, Mary, that’s what Diane told me! I never thought of Bethesda as “the burbs!” But yeah, it complicates things…

    I’m just such a “repair, restore, reuse” gal…I’d like to put a big band-aid on my old Subaru and be done with it… Part of the issue is spending time and energy and money to replace a car was not on my radarscreen, and as we’re in the midst of refinancing our mortgage right now, we don’t want to touch this now anyway.

    Thankfully, my wonderful neighbors have lent me their car a few times when I’ve been in a pinch….maybe more on that later in another post!

  5. mcmilker on October 11, 2011 10:25 am

    So sorry to hear that, Lynn,

    Glad everything is OK! It’s a bummer to have to go car shopping.

    I did live without a car for a number of years when I lived in Chicago and of course, my NYC mom friends wouldn’t dream of having a car.

    In general, it sounds like, day to day you don’t really need a car and can use zipcar for “car necessary” trips. I think for the emergency situation, it really depends on how good the taxi service is in Bethesda.

    Since I am a bit of a klutz, I made several trips to the emergency room when I was car-less…and, traveling by taxi to the hospital is actually a plus since you don’t have to park!

  6. Anne-Marie Faiola on October 11, 2011 12:52 pm

    I definitely try to walk (or run!) to as many places in my neighborhood as I can! I’m lucky enough to live near our local farmer’s market, so Saturdays I grab a stroller and the little man and I head out to market. It’s so admirable to attempt to give up the car completely! =)

  7. Lynn on October 11, 2011 3:34 pm

    Good points, MC! Taxi service here is ok when pre-ordered, but it’s not like downtown DC where you can step out and hail a cab. I had almost given up on the idea, but you’ve got me going again….:)

  8. Lynn on October 11, 2011 3:37 pm

    Admirable? Well, my husband thinks this is crazy. I must say that kid pick-up, and even car pick-up in winter would be a challenge….I’m thinking already this might just be a nice autumn diversion and an excuse not to look too hard for a car!

  9. Rosie the Riveter on October 12, 2011 5:32 pm

    I’m afraid that I may have started this. All I wanted to do was help out while the boys went to fight. Now, two income families are the norm and in most cases necessary. Face it, two incomes, two cars, two bathrooms. Once you’ve been there, you can’t go back.

  10. Lynn on October 13, 2011 12:12 pm

    You’re too funny, Rosie! At least you got the R right. :)

  11. Micaela @MindfulMomma on October 16, 2011 7:26 am

    I think you need to get a car Lynn. :)
    We were a one car family when my husband worked downtown and rode his bike to work. But other than that ideal situation, it would be very hard for us to get by with only one car. It’s just reality in the big city! You can still try to walk or take public transport as much as possible.

  12. Nancy on November 14, 2011 11:02 am

    My family is barely managing having just one car. I am surprised how long we are able to. We have one car ever since. I don’t go out that much. I am the stay at home mom type. There has been little arguments who can use the car but I have been really thinking of buying another one especially that my family is growing.

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