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Do Subarus Burn Coolant? (Explained)

Do Subarus Burn Coolant

If you are a Subaru enthusiast, then you know how notorious these boxer engines can be with burning through oil, but what about coolant?

Do Subarus burn coolant? The answer is yes. The older generation 2.5L engines (1999-2011) are susceptible to burning coolant. A leaking head gasket was the main cause for the high number of Subarus burning through coolant.

The most notable car model that this issue arose in was the Subaru WRX STI. But this problem wasn’t just limited to the STI. Other models like the 2.5L Outback also had similar issues with burning through coolant.

Why Do Subarus Burn Coolant?

There are a number of reasons why a car would burn coolant, but there is one particular problem that sticks out like a sore thumb with these older 2.5L Subaru Boxer engines. The most common issue why they would burn coolant was from a head gasket leak on the left side.

The problem drew a lot of attention to Subaru, and they responded by extending their warranty plan and by also adding an anti-leak cooling system conditioner into their coolant. This conditioner helps prevent seepage and slow or stops the leaking of the coolant.

However, this was just a band-aid to the bigger problem with the design. Subaru went on to later install different head gaskets in their vehicles in the 2014 and later models to help with this issue.

How Long Does Coolant Last in a Subaru?

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Older Subaru Models (Earlier than 2008)

Before the mid 1990’s there was only one type of coolant that came in the older generation Subarus.

It was a single type of coolant that was green which contain corrosion inhibitors that only lasted between 24,000 – 36,000 miles or between two to three years.

Newer Subaru Models (2008 and Later)

Newer Subaru vehicles, after the mid 1990’s, came from the factory are pre-filled with what they call Subaru Super Coolant. This coolant has been specially engineered for a much longer life expectancy than the normal antifreeze or coolants that their older generation vehicles were filled with.

This coolant was manufactured with a blue tint, which is different from their previously green formula in their older vehicles.

A vehicle with Subaru Super Coolant has a lifespan of 11 years, or 137,500 miles of driving. However, this number can be greatly skewed if your vehicle is leaking or burning coolant.

To check the current price and availability of Subaru Super Coolant, click here to view the listing on Amazon.

Is It Normal for a Car to Burn Coolant?

It is not normal for a car to burn through coolant. The coolant system is mostly a closed system with overflow vents that help to prevent any type overflowing or breaks.

A car’s coolant system should only need to be topped off once in awhile due to the natural gases escaping and evaporation over time.

If a car is losing or burning coolant, this can be an indication of a head gasket leak or a heater core leaking. Most of the time, a coolant leak can be spotted by looking under the hood for either a green or blue liquid.

However, if you have a leaking head gasket, you may not be able to identify a direct coolant leak. One way to gauge if you have a leaking head gasket is to check your exhaust for any white smoke which usually indicates a head gasket leak.

How Often Should You Change Subaru Coolant?

Newer Subaru vehicles today, starting from 2008 onwards, have coolant that only needs to be changed once every 11 years, or every 137,500 miles. This is due to the type of coolant used in their vehicles, Subaru Super Coolant.

Vehicles that are from the mid 1990’s and before, have a different type of fluid which needed to be changed or flushed every two to three years, or about every 36,000 miles.

Here is a useful maintenance schedule chart from Subaru showing the mileage and maintenance intervals for their vehicles, including information on when you should be changing your Subaru’s coolant.

Can You Mix Blue and Green Subaru Coolant?

Green and blue Subaru coolant can indeed be mixed. However it is not recommended since the blue coolant is good for 100,000 miles, and the green is not, you will need to change the coolant roughly every 30,000 miles.

If you were to use the all blue Subaru Super Coolant formula, then you would not have to change it until 100,000 miles.

If you are wanting to replace the green coolant with blue, then we recommend doing a complete coolant flush that way the coolant can be refilled with the correct type of coolant of your choosing.

How Much Does a Subaru Coolant Flush Cost?

A coolant flush for your Subaru will typically cost 250-350$. This cost depends on the location you bring your car to, and whether or not it is a dealer or local mechanic.

If you bring your vehicle into a dealer, expect to pay a little bit on the higher end. If you take your car to a local mechanic, you can expect to pay a little bit less than the dealer.

The Subaru Super Coolant can be found for about 40$, while the rest of the costs will be for labor. Labor charges vary from location to location, and the time it takes to flush the coolant may also vary depending on the method they use.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, every car manufacturer’s cars have their flaws, and Subaru’s main issue was with head gaskets. The head gaskets would leak and cause their vehicles to burn through coolant at a much faster rate than expected.

Many of these issues were remedied with a new coolant formula that was designed to help stop leaks and seepage, but this was only a small fix to the bigger issue.

Later on Subaru went on to implement a new head gasket design that helped alleviate this problem altogether.

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