2003 Subaru Outback- head gaskets again! Worth fixing?

subaru

#1

I have a 2003 Subaru Outback wagon with 92K miles. I had the head gaskets replaced at ~60K by the service dept at the dealer. I took the car in for the 90K maintenance and the service dept. says that they need to be replaced again, because there is a slow antifreeze leak (slow drip). I don’t find puddles under the car, and the oil and antifreeze levels appear to be holding steady. I having been checking them regularly for the last month after I got the news. The car has also not been overheating, which happened the first time the gaskets needed to be replaced. My questions are do I replace the head gaskets again to the tune of about $2200, or do I ditch the car and get a new one? Is there a problem with driving the car until it starts overheating, when the gaskets really start to go? Is there a way to estimate how many more miles the car might have until this happens?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks!


#2

I suggest that you take the car to an independent foreign car mechanic who specializes in Subarus, or at leasts commonly works on them. Tell him that you want the head bolts retorqued. With any luck, this will resolve the problem. If it doesn’t resolve the problem, the indy guy will charge a whole lot less than the dealership for HG replacement.

And–no–you shouldn’t ignore this situation until the engine begins overheating. At that point, you may wind up with engine damage that will total the car.


#3

I agree with VDCdriver. I’d try having the heads re-torqued before agreeing to another head gasket replacement. It may be enough to stop the leak. And I’d have the work done by an independent, rather than the dealer.

If you drive it until it starts to overheat you may do significant damage to the engine, and then you WILL need a new car.


#4

After torque’n the heads there is always stop leak in a can before spending a lot of money one way or the other…


#5

Retorque the head bolts and see what happens. If it continues to leak after that then whoever did the head gasket job at 60k miles did not do them correctly if there has been no overheating issues since then.