By on July 10, 2020

I last gave an update on the vehicles which occupy my drive back in February. At the time, the Volkswagen’s roof rattle issues had (finally) been corrected and I was all ready for a quick sale of my Subaru Outback. But said quick sale was interrupted by a few different issues, both local and global.

Uncertain Times for car sales, eh?

The Outback very nearly sold in early February. After listing it on the two quality lead generation sites, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, I had a buyer and a deposit. Said buyer walked away at the last moment for unspecified reasons via a hastily recorded voicemail message, but their deposit stayed with me. No big deal, I guess.

I renewed the sale listings right around the time the weather here in southwest Ohio turned frigid and icy, and nobody was car shopping. A couple of weeks passed, and as March dawned it seemed things were thawing enough for people to be out and about, buying cars. Of course, by then COVID had already begun phase one of its plan, and people were definitely not shopping transportation. Yet I was assured it would all be over by Easter, so I took down my sale listings.

All was uneventful (on the car front) for a couple of weeks, as I waited to put the Outback back on sale. Annoyed by a lull in the action, Mother Nature intervened. A fairly severe hailstorm arrived on the evening of April 8th. The winds which accompanied the storm were so intense that the dime-sized hail flew almost entirely in a northerly direction. That meant the Golf was shielded by the house, and the Outback wasn’t. I filed my first nature-related automotive insurance claim on April 9th.

While the damage was not severe, more than 40 visible dents had appeared across the Outback’s hood and roof. In the end I decided some light hail damage on a car I was finished owning was not worth a paintless-dent repair fix. Also in mind: The fact that I’m much pickier than most used car buyers. COVID raged on, and I kept the car off the market for the rest of spring.

I did eventually find a buyer, but we’ll get to that in Part II.  Also in Part II, I’ll detail my ownership experience with a higher-mileage Outback over the past couple of years.

[Images: Corey Lewis / TTAC]

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25 Comments on “Where Your Author Sells a Subaru During a Pandemic (Part I)...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Corey, I’m kind of curious why you didn’t just get the hail damage fixed by insurance. My old Jetta got nailed BADLY by a hailstorm a couple of years back, and the company I worked with was able to get it fixed with zero out of pocket from me. The repair work was excellent.

  • avatar
    ajla

    You have nice landscaping.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I bought a vehicle during the pandemic.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Do I read this as only 2 cars?
    Should have been in the garage.

    But the light hail can be a blessing, I noticed some VERY small hail dings on my Tahoe and figured while I have Comprehensive on it (paid off), may as well turn into insurance. I mean they have no problem take, take, taking from me all these years…
    Anyway they were able to see much more “damage” than I was, and ended up totalling it. Bear in mind from 10 feet away the thing looks new, all original paint, etc. I told them I wanted to keep it, because I could never find one as nice for what I’d get for it, plus I know the history, just did a new water pump, new tires, stuff like that. One of the most reliable vehicles in my rather extensive vehicular history. So even after subtracting deductibles and a couple Grand to retain the asset, I still pocketed several Thousand. And I think if I sold it tomorrow there would be people who would not even notice the hail, it’s that minor.
    (also the title remains clean, I never handed it over to them)

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    If you have a non-heirloom vehicle with hail damage on the steel hood, for example, it can be a good chance to try your hand at PDR/paintless dent repair. Many of the hood dents will be easy to reach, which makes it a good place to start. You can ‘soften’ some of the deeper dents and make them much less noticeable. Use a rounded tool (no sharp edges!) and go slow. Do *not* overdo it – if you turn the dimple into a wart [proud of the surface] you now have bigger issues. An LED line board helps a *lot*. Keep the paint warm. Use the 10-foot rule to check your work – ha.

    Numerous videos and tools out there.

    (If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot about the ‘thickness’ of modern sheet automotive sheet metal.)

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      One of my friends does this for a living – he’s amazing. But I thought I’d give it a shot on some dents in one of my cars.

      I ended up giving it to him to do and it took twice as long because of what I had “fixed” myself.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ? Didn’t you used to have a 195? Buick ? .

    Glad to not hear it got hail damaged .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    “I’ll detail my ownership experience with a higher-mileage Outback over the past couple of years.” I’m on the edge of my seat! I’m sure that will be a riveting read.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I got stuck with my PITA ’91 Volvo 940 16v for a couple extra months due to Covid. Had a buyer, had gotten them tickets from DC to FL to pick it up 3/28. So that didn’t happen. We mutually decided to wait. A couple of weeks ago I needed to be in Baltimore for work, and flights were ludicrous. Lightbulb goes off – *AutoTrain*. So I put the Volvo and myself on the train and delivered it, with work picking up the tab. NICE!

    AutoTrain is not great if you are too cheap to book a roomette, but better than driving an extra almost 900 miles in a car I don’t really trust. Though of course it ran absolutely perfectly the 350 miles or so it took to get to the train, and then from train to new home.

    But I also sold a car and bought another car for myself. Sold my Fiata to Carmax (for all the monies) and bought a BMW 128i convertible in Wichita, KS (from the BMW dealer, also for all the monies, but less than I sold the Fiata for) and drove it to Maine last week, where it will spend the summer (or until FL stops being stupid – could be a while). Loved driving the Fiata, but I am just too big for that car. It got painful after an hour or so.

    • 0 avatar

      This car train looks kinda gross in pictures!

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        It’s just a pretty standard Amtrak experience really. Seats are about on par with a domestic first class airline seat. Cafe food is fairly lousy and VERY expensive – no dining car for the plebs in coach. ~17hrs either way, so like a long redeye. Cost for me and the car was $320. A roomette was $500+ more – could not justify that for just me, but if travelling with someone it would make more sense.

        Annoyingly, the cars are the double-decker Viewliners. But the track is ROUGH in places so they really move around a lot. I think if I did it again in coach, I would ask for a lower level seat.

        One bit of advice I did not know until too late – unless you pay extra to have your car come off in the first 30, it’s first on LAST off. Took more than an hour to get my car back in VA as I was an earlybird in FL. But we also got in an hour early…

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