Subaru Summer Driving Tips

It’s Summertime in the Puget Sound area. Now is a great time to start planning or taking a vacation. If your Vacation includes your Subaru; here is something to consider: there’s just no such thing as a welcome surprise on a Summer road trip.

Here are some tips to help you have a successful road trip in your Subaru:

  • Be sure to check your tires and don’t forget about the spare! Any tire at or below 2/32 of an inch of tread life left should be replaced, making sure the tire pressure is set is a good idea all year around, but making sure all 5 are set at the proper levels before a prolonged period of road time is crucial to safety. If you don’t know when the last time your Subaru had a wheel alignment, there is no time like the present.
  • Check all of your fluids and change as needed! During the summer months the fluids are at more risk of evaporation and breaking down under extreme temperatures. This can be especially true for brake fluid if it has collected enough moisture it can actually boil during excessive brake use like coming down a mountain pass with a full load of family and gear. Brake fluid, should really be changed every 15,000 miles, or at least once a year. Carry a jug of coolant or at least water to be on the safe side. The anti boil property of Coolant can be put to the test during a long trip up a Mountain Pass, so making sure the proper mix of Ethylene Glycol to water is just as important in the Summer as it is in the Winter. Don’t forget about windshield washer solvent, bugs on the windshield are tough to remove without cleaner. It’s also a good idea whenever you stop to refuel, that you scrub the windshield at the gas station as well using the fancy tool and the dirty water.
  • Make sure you check that the AC is functioning properly before venturing out, while it may have been 60 degrees in Seattle when you left, temperatures in sunny California or even just Eastern Washington may be in the 80’s or 90’s. If you are traveling with a pet this is also very important to be able to control the cabin temperature.
  • When you begin to pack for your road trip be sure you don’t overload your Subaru and be mindful of how the load is being distributed, if at all possible. It’s also a good idea to be sure that you can see out of all of the windows and if not, be comfortable using just the side view mirrors.
    Rain in the Summer causes more accidents than it does in the Winter, this is because the heat of the Summer sun releases oils out of the road materials and onto the road. Rain makes it that much more slippery. This goes back to making sure the tires on your Subaru are in good shape, but even the best tires need a responsive driver. During the Summer months road construction also increases and you need to be cautious of that when traveling.
  • It goes without saying that if you bring the family dog on the trip you never leave him or her in the car unattended for long, and never without the windows down enough for fresh air. Both you and the dog will need extra water so plan accordingly.

If you service your Subaru with us, most likely you are ready to go. However, a quick call or email to see if there was anything we were monitoring on your Subaru, can also go a long way to avoiding surprises. If you are not local to us; hopefully you have a good relationship with Your Subaru service shop, and can obtain that information as well.

Thanks for reading and All Wheel Drive Auto wishes you safe Summer travels.

6 Responses

  1. Are you still responding to readers with repair questions, Justin? I found info on your blog about Subaru’s gasket head issues. Our Sub is 2010, and out of nowhere, in 15 minutes, the car went from flashing oil light to smoking out of the hood, at low highway speeds. This is the first time in 5 Subarus that we feel it is a manufacturer’s responsibility. Basically, that light came on, then the whole dash lit up, then 5 minutes of rattling, and a smoking death on a slight incline. Our mechanic says the head gasket blew, sucked out the antifreeze, and the oil shot up through the air filter. Do you know if we can expect Subaru to kick in some bucks ? Repair by our mechanic means $3500 (soup to nuts) using an engine that has 87K miles on it (our dead one has 170K). Reasonable ? Or sell it and buy a different brand? PS Any idea if the new tariffs/trade war likely to increase the cost of Subaru ? Thanks for any help you can offer.

    1. Hello Amy,

      Yes Still helping Subaru Owners for sure.

      At 170k, I don’t really think Subaru is going to participate in any warranty repairs, however you could call 1800 Subaru 3 and present your situation to them.

      I really do not like the used engine thing as you have no idea how that engine was treated how often the oil was changed etc. The description of the failure is also not typical at all. The red oil light would only come on if the oil pressure becomes low usually because it was run low on oil, the HG could fail due to heat. It’s possible if it overheated or if it was run low on oil it damaged the engine. The Anti-freeze would not have been “sucked out”, cylinder pressure is greater than coolant pressure, the coolant may have been pushed out of the radiator and the overflow bottle due to a failed HG, but the coolant would not have been sucked into the cylinders there would have been evidence of the coolant being pushed out and that may have been the smoke you saw. The oil in the air filter indicates it had an oil consumption issue that may have contributed to the low oil situation if that’s indeed what occurred or be a bi product of a major mechanical failure from the lower end of the engine.

      If the car was run low on coolant or run low on oil (and unless those things were checked right before venturing out) there is really no way to know for sure, either one could have caused the engine problems you have had. The only thing I can really also suggest is when the light came on it shouldn’t have been driven for 5 miles of rattling and that’s just a hindsight thing. I wasn’t there however and don’t know all of the circumstances.

      As far as changing brands that’s really just up to you, working in the industry I understand that desire to not want to go through this again, but a new car is a new car, and one day it wont be and subject to scenarios like you just encountered. My advice is to always own what works for you and its always cheaper to repair what you already own than buy a new car, the rest of it is 100% emotions speaking to you.

      The Outback is made in Indiana and while some of the components are sourced form Japan, I have not heard any Tariffs related price increases coming.

      Hope that helps and sorry to hear about the trouble.

      -Justin

    2. Hi, Amy. I recently developed an external leak on my 2011 EJ25 Outback at 115k. While it’s not much, Subaru of America did give me $500 toward the repair if I used a Subaru dealer.. Well, I did the job and they threw in a free timing belt job for me too even though I had that done at 95k. Engine seems to run a lot smoother now, which sort of surprised me. The difference is honestly very noticeable. I live in the south Puget Sound area. I don’t feel it would be proper of me to name the dealer I went to, but they quoted the lowest price of all the regional dealers. Of course if Subaru wasn’t contributing to the bill, I would’ve called up AWD Auto.. At least the OEM parts have a 1-year warranty I guess. Anyhow, just wanted to comment to let you know my experience with SOA. I would urge you to call them. I will say that after years of Subaru ownership, the key is to call them and be extremely polite. They seem to respond best to those who are not demanding. That probably goes without saying, but these days.. Ok, good luck.

  2. Thank you so much, Justin. There is a lot I don’t understand, but you helped a lot with your response. We’ll check back in.

    And thanks for your comment about the tariffs.

    Amy

  3. My Subaru OB 2012 just experienced the cvt transmission repair at 195.000 miles while traveling. I was within 60 miles of a Subaru dealer for towing and (lucked) out with the warranty coverage ending July 31. However, now I am concerned about future problems new parts with old parts, etc. My Subaru confidence is waning.
    Another issue for me, is I have had 99% of my maintenance and repairs done at my dealership, and not once did they mention the transmission possibility to me. I was in a mountainous isolated area when this occurred and It would have been nice to have known. Not informing owners of this stalling risk was putting us at risk.

    1. Hi Mary Lou,

      You never mentioned if within the 195k your Outback has on it how many times the CVT fluid was Serviced?

      -Justin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *