One of the most often overlooked items on a Subaru or any car for that matter, are the coolant hoses. Often times we don’t know they’re bad until it’s too late.Steam coming from under the hood is the telltale sign along with the temp gauge heading toward the red. Back in the old days it was common to replace all of the coolant hoses every 5 years or 60,000 miles. They just didn’t hold up much longer than that. Now with improved material and technology in the molded and reinforced hoses, we would be overselling you if we replaced them at the same interval. Frankly they last so long, replacement as preventive maintenance has almost become an afterthought. Well, as the years pass and the mileage adds up, the hoses are overlooked but continue to deteriorate from the inside out. When an older hose failed, it would often show signs of seeping, swelling or cracking. Now, with the newer hose, it looks nearly as good as new until right before it blows.

If you have over 120,000 miles on your Subaru it’s probably time to get the hoses changed. There’s a simple test you can do yourself to evaluate the hose condition. When the engine is cold, locate a couple of coolant hoses and give them a good squeeze. If you squeeze them near where they connect to the engine or radiator you’ll probably get the most accurate results. If you feel a “crunching” feeling inside, the hose is becoming brittle and it’s time to budget for replacement. You can check multiple hoses on the car this same way but some are tougher to get to than others. As a rule of thumb, if one is going bad, and the others are the same age, it’s a good idea just to do them all and get it behind you.

Subaru coolant hoses really do last an unusually long time but eventually do need to be replaced.

Make sure you use quality clamps too. Many times the genuine Subaru wire clamps can be reused.

Mike Corbin
Independent Subaru Expert

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  1. Karen
    July 3, 2012 Reply

    Dear Mike,

    Thanks for headgasket info. My 2005 2.5 outback has 67K miles and needs a new headgasket. The mechanic wants to replace the timing belt at the same time since it would be replaced at 90K miles anyway. The whole job of gasket and belt will run between $2,400 and $2,900. Is this a good idea?

    thanks for your input,

    • Mike Corbin
      July 3, 2012 Reply

      Hi Karen,

      I agree that the timing belt should be replaced now while the head gaskets are being done. It’s a small portion of the overall price and then you’ll have another 105k miles before it’s due to be replaced again.

      The overall prices seems reasonable if it’s including machining the heads and also installing all of the rest of the seals and gaskets on the engine. You may also ask if he’s

      Happy Motoring,

      Mike Corbin
      Smart Service
      Independent Subaru Expert

  2. Paul Spagnolia
    July 3, 2012 Reply

    Ya know, I had the head gasket problem at 102K Both completely leaking. Due to the class action suit for the odometers and the extension of all the warrantee’s by 5% I was able to get it covered and while they were there I had them do the timing belt which they did for the cost of the belt. I had a 7 year 100K extended factory warrantee on the car. Here it is at 146K and they’re leaking again. Brought it right to the service manager at my dealership. He called Subaru and they decided to pitch in $500 towards the $1800 job of replacing them. It’s nice to know that they’ll at least do SOMETHING towards this!

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