2004 Subaru Outback 3.0 Rn
October began with some unwelcome noise from the rear of the Outback as the rear wheel bearing started to go bad. It turned out to be just a few hours’ work to install a new one, and all is quiet again. In the process, I noticed the rear brake discs getting thin, so those will need attention prior to the car’s next MOT in April.
Other than that, the Outback continues to perform daily duties without any complaint, ferrying the family around to various places in quiet comfort. As the temperatures have dropped, it has been a delight to discover how quickly the car warms up inside. I’ve had to make a few trips to our rental property in between tenants to sort out the garden, which required me to take my collection of landscaping tools with me. Hardly a problem for a wagon, of course, and with the Outback’s extra ground clearance, it was especially easy to get the lawnmower in and out.
This month has seen both ends of the fuel economy scale. On a long motorway run to Birmingham and back, I managed to squeeze 34.5mpg out of the 3.0L flat-six. All the conditions were right – a tank full of 99-octane, cool air, beautiful sunshine, and very few traffic problems. However, if I was pleasantly surprised then, it was quite the opposite last week, as I took a Saturday to go roving through the Yorkshire Dales. Lots of single-track roads and significant elevation changes had the onboard computer showing 25.9mpg at the end of the day. That aside, the Outback does this kind of lazy countryside driving very well, and the manual shift option is particularly helpful for holding gears going up and down hills.
Current mileage: 143,013
Mileage since purchase: 4278
2002 SEAT Leon 20VT
Mercifully, the leaks on the Leon appear to be sorted now; we had a bunch of rain in the first half of the month, and no further water has come into the car. The same was true yesterday when I gave it a thorough wash. There is a touch of lingering moisture inside the car, evidenced by the windscreen fogging up on the inside on cold mornings. That is probably the damping material, and will just take a bit longer to fully dry out.
One thing I have neglected is cleaning the inside of the car. Besides a quick dust and vacuum now and then, it has probably been over a year since it has had a deep clean. This is partly because I don’t think about it too much – it’s my wife’s car and I don’t drive it often – and partly because I’ve wanted to make sure the leaks were sorted before given the carpets a thorough clean. But I attacked it with the full Autogylm interior catalogue this week, and it is now probably the cleanest it has ever been. It surprises me how much more inviting the interior of this car becomes when it is properly clean. With lots of sunshine and mild temperatures this week, I also gave the exterior a good wash, hit it with the clay bar, and gave it a polish and wax to ready it for winter. Unfortunately, the car looks much better in photos than in real life, so in the spring, I’ll have to pull out my rudimentary bodywork skills and tackle some of the dings and lacquer peel.
The car runs as good as ever, and hasn’t lost a drop of coolant in the last couple of months. I took the Leon to York today to go to a meeting, and came back the long way so I could enjoy the fruits of my labour – a clean car always feels like it has an extra 10bhp. Or maybe that’s just because it was extra slippery with the new coat of wax. Either way, I’m feeling much more charitable towards the car than I did earlier this year, and really should take it out more often at the weekend.
Current mileage: 83,836
Mileage since purchase: 11,553