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Q: Head gaskets particularly problematic

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I heard just before buying my 2007 Subaru Outback that boxer motors have an issue with head gaskets leaking and needing to be replaced. I still wanted it though, and at 70,000 miles I had both head gaskets start leaking. This is an expensive repair. Is there any way to extend the life of the newly replaced head gaskets?

A: Regularly scheduled preventative maintenanc...

Regularly scheduled preventative maintenance is generally the best way to stay ahead of head gasket problems. Old and corroding engine coolant can buildup in the coolant passages of the engine (due to electrolysis), this can cause the head bolts to erode and can also block the thermostat. Old coolant can also lead to overheating, which is the number one cause of head gasket failures. In general, coolant should be replaced every 45,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first. A local mechanic (like those at YourMechanic) can also perform a coolant test with a refractometer a your home or office. A refractometer test shows the protection level and dilution of the coolant.

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