Menu

1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles.

How to Check Engine Fluids 04-09 Subaru Outback

Share on:

How to Check Engine Fluids 04-09 Subaru Outback

Created on: 2021-01-16

How to drain and refill your engine fluids on 08 Subaru Outback

  1. step 1 :Checking the Brake Fluid
    • Twist the brake fluid reservoir cap off counterclockwise
    • Check the brake fluid level, using a flashlight if necessary
    • Check that the brake fluid is between the minimum and maximum lines
    • Check that the brake fluid is clear or an almost yellow color
    • If the brake fluid is murky or dark, drain and refill it
    • Twist the brake fluid reservoir cap on clockwise
  2. step 2 :Checking the Oil
    • Pull out the oil dipstick
    • Clean off the oil dipstick
    • Insert the oil dipstick
    • Pull out the oil dipstick
    • Check that the oil level is between the low and full marks
    • Insert the oil dipstick
    • Twist the oil fill cap off counterclockwise, to add oil
    • Add oil as necessary
    • Twist the oil cap on clockwise
  3. step 3 :Checking the Washer Fluid
    • Pull off the washer fluid reservoir cap
    • Check the reservoir has fluid above the MIN line
    • Snap on the washer fluid reservoir cap
  4. step 4 :Checking the Coolant
    • Wait for the engine to cool
    • Twist the coolant reservoir cap off counterclockwise
    • Check the coolant level, using a flashlight if necessary
    • Remove the radiator cap with the engine cool
    • Make sure the level is right at the top of the radiator
  5. step 5 :Checking the Power Steering
    • Twist off the cap and check the level with a flashlight
    • If the power steering fluid smells burnt, is murky or dark, drain and refill it
  6. step 6 :Checking the Transmission Fluid
    • Bring the vehicle up to operating temp
    • Shut the vehicle off
    • Pull out the oil dipstick
    • Clean off the oil dipstick
    • Insert the oil dipstick
    • Pull out the oil dipstick
    • Check that the oil level is between the low and full marks
    • Insert the oil dipstick
  7. step 7 :Checking the Front Differential Fluid
    • Remove the yellow dipstick from the front differential
    • Pull out the oil dipstick
    • Clean off the oil dipstick
    • Insert the oil dipstick
    • Pull out the oil dipstick
    • Check that the oil level is between the low and full marks
    • Insert the oil dipstick

Tools needed for replacement

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

    Windshield Washer Fluid

    Gear Oil

    Power Steering Fluid

    Gloves

    Brake Fluid

    Transmission Fluid

    Engine Oil

Installation Video
Watch video

Hi, I’m Mike from 1A Auto. We’ve been selling auto parts for over 30 years!

To open the hood, we'll go inside the vehicle. Pull the latch just below the bottom of the dashboard right near your left knee. Open the hood up. Release the safety catch. It's right here. Push it to the passenger side. Lift it up. Prop rod is here, so those two positions, the normal position. Then if you want a little extra head room, you can move it to the service position. Put the prop rod in place.

Brake fluid reservoir is here for the master cylinder. On both sides there's a minimum line and a maximum line. This one actually is pretty full. It's above the maximum line. If you needed to add any, you could unscrew it. It says right on the top of the cap the type of fluid to use, DOT 3. There's actually a little mesh screen in here, so that things don't fall in here. You add your fluid right here with a funnel. Just be careful to clean up any brake fluid if you spill it because it can ruin paint. When you're all done, just replace the cap. Find the locks for it and tighten it back down.

To check the engine oil, it's located right here next to the filler cap. Basically, all these yellow handles or caps are the types of fluids that you should check. Pull the dipstick out and wipe it off. Reinstall the dipstick, and then check it. You can see there's two marks. There's a lower hole here, and then an upper hole here, and then a little notch.

The oil is just at the top of that notch, so it's full. Maybe a tiny, tiny bit low, but there's also an F there and probably an L under the oil. You just can't see it because it's dirty. This car has plenty of oil in it, so we don't need to add any. You can just put the dipstick back in. If you needed to add oil, just simply unscrew the cap. These can be on here pretty tight. It is a plastic cap though, so it should come off. It does have that rubber O-ring. Just put your funnel in here. Add the appropriate oil, 5W 30. Fill it up to the correct amount, and then recheck with your dipstick. When you're done, this threads back on.

I'm going to check the windshield washer reservoir. You can simply open the cap. This does have a dipstick on it. It's just at the bottom of the dipstick, but typically what I do with windshield washer fluid, if you think it's low, just fill it back up. The bottle is translucent. You can see the fluid in there, so let's fill this back up. You can leave this out. These usually hold about a gallon. I like to fill them right to the top. It's not going to hurt anything. Reinstall the cap. It will clip right into place.

This is your coolant overflow reservoir. It does have lines on it, so we have a low and a full. You can see through it, so it's actually over full. If you open up the cap, you can look down inside, see how high that coolant is. This actually has too much coolant in it, but I'm not going to worry about it too much. If this is low, you'll want to add coolant to it. Then, of course, there's typically a reason why this would be low. When the vehicle is cool you can open the radiator cap. You don't want to do this when it's hot because it's filled with steam. It can burn you, but when it's cool you can open it and just double check to make sure that the radiator has coolant in it. This has coolant at the top of the radiator. You can see right there the coolant is right at the top of the filler neck. This radiator is full. If it was dry, you would want to add coolant to the radiator first and then add it to your overflow because that might tell you that there's somewhere a coolant leak, and it should be investigated. This one looks all right. I'm not quite sure why it's over full, but we'll leave that for now.

Check the power steering fluid level. There is a minimum cold, and a hot minimum, and then a cold max, and a hot max. Looking at the lines, it's at hot minimum, but the line is almost the same with cold max. The vehicle is cold right now. The power steering fluid level is basically at the correct height. If you want to add some, you can simply open the cap. It pops off. It does have a bit of a dipstick in there, so you can see the condition of the fluid. Just take a tiny funnel and add the appropriate fluid, Dexron ATF. It does say it on the cap. When you're done, you can reinstall the cap, put it in place. It has arrows. Tells you how to close it, and you're all set.

This vehicle has an automatic transmission. Now to check the fluid level, the vehicle should be running. Start the vehicle. With the vehicle running, you can check the automatic transmission fluid. Reach down here. There's a yellow dipstick handle on the driver's side. Wipe it off. Reinstall it. The vehicle is cold. You've got two sets of marks. You've got cold low, cold high, hot low, hot high.

Now it does seem to have a little bit too much fluid in it. Just check it again now that it's been running for a minute or two. The reason why you have to check it while it's running, because the automatic transmission pumps the fluid through the—there we go, that's better—it's closer to the cold full mark, which makes sense because the vehicle is cold. When the engine is running it's spinning the transmission. It's pumping fluid through the transmission. That's why it gives you an accurate reading on the fluid level. Otherwise, when the vehicle is not running the fluid drains down into the pan, and you'll think that your transmission is over full when it's actually not. You always want to check it while the vehicle is running because the automatic transmission is basically pumping fluid around it, and that's the more accurate way to check it. Reinstall it, and if you had to, you could stick your funnel into that dipstick tube and add the appropriate amount of fluid to bring it up to the correct level.

Check the oil level in the front differential. This is an all drive vehicle. You can reach down. There's a yellow dipstick. Pull it out. You can check the condition and level of the fluid. Wipe it off, put the dipstick back in. Actually, let me turn it around, so it's not upside down. There's a low mark and a full mark. It's actually at the low mark, so you can add a little bit if gear oil to it. This would be different from the transmission fluid. This is gear oil because it's really differential. You would add the appropriate gear oil. It's probably like a quarter of a quart, half a quart to bring it up to full. You can add it through the dipstick hole with a long funnel. Then you recheck it with the dipstick.

Of course, if you were changing the fluid, you'd raise and support the vehicle, the jack and jack stands. You drain your gear oil out of the appropriate drain plug. Then you could reinstall the drain plug and refill it through the dipstick hole until it's at the full mark. That's all set, so I'm going to reinstall it.

Thanks for watching. Visit us at 1AAuto.com for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Windshield Washer Fluid
  • Gear Oil
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Gloves
  • Brake Fluid
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Engine Oil


Clunking in the Front Whats That Noise in My Car SUV or Truck

Clunking in the Front Whats That Noise in My Car SUV or Truck

Check out this video to learn many of the places a clunking sound may come from on your vehicle's front end!

Search Videos
Go To Top

Same Day Shipping

Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.

Guaranteed To Fit

Highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.

USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.

Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos to guide you step-by-step through your repair.

Loading...