Was coming from very southern Alabama to stay in Kennesaw on a Friday night to continue my trip to north Georgia the next day when, about 20 miles out, the "check engine," the ABS/all wheel drive, and flashing 'brakes' lights all illuminated simultaneously while on I-20. I naturally stopped right away to check everything out. With a look at the owner's manual it seemed there were a wide range of causes from minor to catastrophic. A good inspection of the vehicle showed everything in working order save the caution lights, so I decided my next stop was the Subaru dealer since it was also nearly across the street from my planned hotel location for a strip that night (how fortuitous!).
After a few tense miles of trepidation I pulled into the Kennesaw Subaru a little after 4pm with all kinds of scenarios running through my head for plans to complete my trip. The first question is what I could possibly get done towards the end of a work day...on a Friday? The service advisors met me at the service bay and I advised them of the issue. Considering it was a brake issue they didn't hesitate to diagnose the issue then and there regardless of their availability to fix it or not, whenever that might be.
While waiting for a tech to come available the service advisor and I talked options to get the issue solved. Naturally the first option was to leave the car and come back at a later time. I explained to him I was from out of town and passing through the next morning to continue my trip, which included coming back south through Kennesaw Saturday night and onward to southern Alabama Sunday morning. I offered that a good option would be for me to obtain a rental that evening, drive it all Saturday, come back Saturday evening to pick up my 'ru, then be on my way Sunday morning assuming they could resolve the issue Saturday. Or, in a worst-case scenario, if they couldn't fix things Saturday I could just drive that rental all the next week then return the following Saturday if it took that long. It was also a case of the drive from home to Kennesaw being about 4+ hours too. He then asked where my nearest Subaru dealer was since I was from out of town. For me Montgomery was the closest at about 1 1/2 hours north from where I live. He frowned at the prospects and I could see the gears turning in his head. I even offered that if he could determine if it 'was just an idiot light' and everything was functional, I could simply continue on my way, put up with the caution lights, drive to north Georgia as is, back through Kennesaw all the way to south Alabama, then return to Montgomery sometime the next week if need be. He frowned at that too and said, "Hold on."
The service manager then explained that everyone was currently tapped out for scheduled repairs at the moment, work on Saturday with a skeleton crew was also going to be saturated, and they'd likely not be able to get to my outback until next week. An impromptu repair was going to be difficult to achieve but he also realized then and there that that Friday was the best chance for my vehicle being serviced short of an extended stay over the next week.
The diagnostic the service manager was able to do revealed a small air leak. It could have been a simple faulty gas cap or perhaps something else, though. I offered again, since the schedule was full, that if he could just determine if the car was still safe I could be on my way and solve the software indications later. He said only a certified tech could do that. He said, "Hold on," and disappeared again into the shop. A few minutes later he reappeared with a certified tech he pulled off the repair line to take an official look.
The tech had a possible simple solution and conducted his own diagnostic. He found that a simple software update could solve the whole thing. Sure enough, in less than ten minutes, with a laptop download and software update still covered under an 8/80 warranty that I was not aware of, that the service advisor kindly informed me about, the whole issue was solved just that quick. And because it was under warranty it cost me exactly zero.
It did cost that service manager some time and a tech's time from other duties, though, and I definitely noticed. And what did this do for me?
True story: my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer earlier that week and my wife and I were on our way that weekend to visit him. With some careful consideration for the situation at hand that service advisor found a simple and best solution in context of all that was going on and prevented an already difficult weekend from getting tougher. Normally I have a rather cynical view of automobile dealerships and their service department antics, but Kennesaw Subaru displayed what I feel to be the epitome of what an auto dealership service provider should be. The job was handled very professionally, without a doubt.
Exton, thank you, folks like you help the world go around.