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2003 Subaru Forester Head Gasket Replacement

I recently had work done on my 2003 Forester. The service center told me that while the repairs were being performed, they noticed the cylinder head gaskets were starting to leak oil - and replacement should be contemplated very soon.

I bought the car brand new in late 2002 and it has approximately 70,000 miles on it.

My question is - should this really happen or be a needed repair at this point for a 2003 Subaru with only 70,000 miles on it? - or any car for that matter.

Any thoughts or recommendations would be very much appreciated.


Head gaskets leaks are common on Subarus. Short of replacing them (and there’s a lot of info on that process) you might consider having someone retorque the cylinder head bolts.

This could very well snug them up enough so a gasket replacement may not be necessary and if you get this done ask whoever does it to let you know if the head bolts moved or not.

Contact Subaru of America, and ask about “good-will” financial assistance for this repair.
There is usually an elapsed time/odometer mileage limit for them to do this, but with any luck you may be within the guidelines for assistance.

There is an 8yr/100,000 service campaign on these from Subaru. Contact local dealer.