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2003 Subaru Forester Head Gasket

I am in the market for a new- used car, and I really have been loving the Subaru Forester. I came across on at the local dealership and the salesman had informed me that the head gasket had just been replaced. After looking at the carfax report, there wasn’t any issue that caused the previous owner (there was only one) to have concern about the head gasket.

The salesman’s rapport was as follows each time we went to look at it:

- the head gasket was seeping, so I replaced it

- the head gaskets of all subarus need replacing at 100k, so I replaced it since it’s at 85k and I don’t want you to have to come back

-the head gasket was seeping a little.

Is this a good thing that it’s been replaced? Will that fix any future problems? Are they just pulling the wool over my eyes?? They keep ensuring me I’ll be safe for another 100k, but I’m suspicious…

This model year had some issues with head gaskets, so it being replaced is OK. You might have had to do it later.

Our 2003 Legacy has 142K miles with no head gasket replacement, so the salesman is wrong that all subarus need head gasket replacement around 100K miles. However, the timing belt needs to be replaced at 105K miles, and you are getting there.

To help the cooling system and head gasket out, get the Subaru cooling system conditioner and use it every 30K miles as part of the coolant replacement service. It runs under $5 per bottle at the dealer, and I attribute my lack of needing a head gasket so far, to using it as recommened by Subaru.

Carfax reports are frequently inaccurate due to lack of information or incorrect info. It’s an aid but should not be taken as the the Gospel truth.

As to the head gasket repair there are a couple of caveats.
One is that the plural of that repair should have been done if it was not. One never replaces one head gasket on a Subaru; always both.
As to how long it will last that depends on how mechanically astute the person doing the repair is.

If they ensure you that you’ll be safe for the next 100k miles then you should ask them to put it in writing. That will probably bring that discussion to a halt.