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Subaru 2000 Outback

Hi there, I have just under 110K miles on my wagon…pretty sure I need a new clutch and I know I need to replace two O2 sensors and it’s probably time for new tires. Wondering what I can do to bring the price down on the replacement of the clutch also, my steering wheel shakes really bad…hoping it is just unbalanced tires, but could it be anything else? also when I turn the car on and I make my 1st turn I can hear liquid moving, sounds like something is getting filled (coming from the driver dash area).

As far as the sound of liquid moving in the dash, I would get your cooling system pressure tested…sounds like it could be a heater core leak (although people usually complaing about the sound coming from the passenger side if that’s the case) or air in the cooling system. Have you noticed any coolant loss?

First things first! Have you replaced the timing belt yet? That very vital maintenance procedure is due at 105k, and since failure to have this job done can result in a couple of thousands of $$ of engine repairs, I want to be sure that you have already taken care of this task. Incidentally, there is also an elapsed time value for replacement of the timing belt, and you have also passed that interval, so it is REALLY important to have the timing belt replaced if you have not already done so.

As to the shaking in the steering wheel, hopefully that is indicative of unbalanced (or defective) tires. And, with winter weather fast approaching, I would urge you to replace those tires a.s.a.p. (Incidentally, virtually any all-season tire will be superior on slippery surfaces, as compared to the awful Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 tires that came on your car!) If, after replacing your tires you still have front end shaking, then you will have to look further at things like tie rod ends, ball joints, and other front end components, but don’t delay that inspection because otherwise you could wind up ruining those new tires.

As to holding down the cost of the clutch replacement and the O2 sensors, all I can suggest is to ask for estimates from reliable independent mechanics. DO NOT go to Sears, Midas, Meineke, Monro, Discount Tire, or any other chain unless you are willing to risk substandard work at inflated prices.

Regarding the sloshing noise, it is possible that you need to have the A/C drain opened, which is easy to do once the car is up on a lift. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then you will have to look into the previously mentioned air in the heater core or a leak in the heater core.

Good luck with this list of repairs and maintenance items.