2004 Subaru legacy gasket issues - chances that Subaru will pay for it? I can't afford too!

HI There,
I have a lovely Subaru…I do love my car and I truly love Subarus- but i have recently discovered this little problem they seem to have. My car only has 50,000 miles on it. I do get it fairly regularly oil changes- but I only drive about 5000 miles per year.

I did contact Subaru of America and opened a claim. I am seeing my local dealer weds…pending snow storm here in Boston! I have seen online that they have paid for this sort of thing before. They paid for my catalytic converter issue by some warranty that I have never heard of. Any thoughts ? I bought my car Sept. 2004- thought by getting the older model I would save money - what I have read is that 2005 and later do better with gasket issues - maybe I should have spent a little more money!

I also included in my maintenance record the documentation that they paid for several situations like mine…I am hoping cause I don’t have $2000 and I don’t have money to buy a new car!

That warranty on the catalytic converter is the Federal Emissions Warranty and that’s for 8 years or 80k miles on major components like the converters, the ECM (computer), etc.

It will be a roll of the dice what corporate Subaru agrees to do on this; if anything. It’s referred to as a Good Will warranty.

What is the reason for the head gasket replacement? Is it weeping engine coolant, engine oil, or has a gasket given up and led to a rough running engine?

I smelled oil and they said it was leaking oil… my local mechanic said I should get it fixed within a months time. It drives fine.

I guess I also wonder how perfect do they want/expect/need the frequency of my oil changes to be or does that not really matter…I have been pretty good - but I don’t drive much!


No offense, but you need to be a little bit more specific

What gaskets are you having a problem with?

cylinder head gaskets?

oil pan gaskets?

We’re not mind readers . . .

For what it’s worth, there’s about a 0% chance that Subaru will pay one red cent for any repairs on this car at this point in its life. You’re past any powertrain and/or emisssions warranties by now.

I know nothing about cars…so my lack of info is not intentional - I think it is the head gasket issue that everyone talks about. I have seen online that Subaru has paid for this sort of thing in cars this old. I did not know what a gasket was until about 2 weeks ago! sorry…yes- must be head gasket as they talked about leaking where cylinders are…

Thanks for the first person that commented - I need to keep the positive energy going here- I need this to happen…it has happened before and I am holding onto that it can happen again. they want to keep me as a loyal customer…I hope:) I assume the positive until proven otherwise!

My best wishes to you. My opinion in cases like this it is better to ask for them to cover it because if you don’t ask, the chance of being covered is 0%.

The head gasket problems don’t seem to relate to oil changes, somewhat to coolant changes, but mostly to a head and gasket design that chronically results in leaks.

no issues with coolant leaking ever in my car! And - yes- nothing to lose by asking. I suppose I risk losing the $100 diagnostic fee…if they don’t cover it and I go elsewhere- but no - I am not allowing that energy…they will help me cause they want me to buy more cars from them when I have money and I will likely buy more subarus - but there is a dealer a little closer to me…maybe they need to know that! thanks for your support!

An oil leak from a weeping head gasket is a common fault and this has nothing to do with the way you have driven or maintained the car. It’s not your fault at all.

Just my 2 cents and my opinion does not toe the corporate line, but I believe these leaks are caused by what is essentially the head gasket relaxing in use due to the repeated heating and cooling cyles the engine goes through.
If you can find a mechanic willing to do it, it’s quite possible that going back over the head bolts and retightening them will stop this leak without replacing anything.

Back in the 1980s Subaru had problems with oil weeping head gaskets and so did Nissan.
When did both makes start weeping oil? When they started the recommendation that retightening of head bolts were no longer necessary.

If Subaru gives you a line about adding their “conditioner” be advised that is not the answer. That conditioner will not affect an oil leak and is basically nothing but a stop-leak product for the engine coolant as Subaru head gaskets have been known to weep anti-freeze also.
Hope some of that helps.

Thank you. That is what I thought from all that I have read that it is more of a design flaw of my year - and since they have paid for some - I am hoping that will give me ammunition to say they should pay for mine. My local mechanic said that it would be $2000 to fix. I do not know enough about cars to know the details - but they said it was a slow leak that was a gasket that was connected or containing a cylinder. I would not expect a conditioner would fix a leak - prevent one after fixed…maybe - but I hear once this is sealed and fixed it does not break again…keeping my fingers crossed!

On a 10 year old car, I think that the chance of either the mfr or the dealership coming to your aid is slim, but it does make sense to at least ask. Just be sure to come across as a reasonable adult, rather than a crazed person.

I can tell you that, when one of the head gaskets (there are two) on my '97 Outback began to leak motor oil into the cooling system after 7 years and ~110k miles, the dealership replaced the head gaskets for a very reasonable price. I never actually inquired as to whether they themselves were coming to my assistance, or (more likely), they were passing along some goodwill assistance from the mfr, but the bottom line is that they charged me something on the order of $500 for the repairs, and that definitely represented a discount.

So, there is some precedent for this type of assistance, but whether it would be forthcoming after 10 years is debatable. What you have going for you is the very low odometer mileage, so perhaps that will help in your case.

Just keep things positive in your discussions/debates, and–whatever you do–DO NOT tell them that you will never buy one of their cars again. If you tell them that they have already lost you as a customer, you will be removing any motivation to help you. Instead, you should express sadness & disappointment that this has happened to your favorite, well-maintained car.

As to whether it could happen again, they now use improved-design head gaskets and a cooling system conditioner that–supposedly–prevent a recurrence.

Good luck!

Thank you!What you say makes sense…I shall try…as most have said - why not ask…They just may say yes!

And find out what the dealer will charge. The $2000 estimate from your mechanic seems high.

good point. I am in Boston - wonder if these prices are regional…I think it was just under $2000 - but rough that.

I have the estimate here:

replace cylinder head gasket - 1583.11
machined cylinder head - 400

I don’t know what that last item means…does this seam over priced for Boston ?

How much oil are you loosing? If it is less than a qt per 1000 miles, I think I’d just leave it alone until it becomes a problem. When it starts to loose coolant or starts running hotter, then its a problem. In the meantime, put a little money aside every month toward the eventual repair.

I do not know. About a month ago - my local mechanic said it I should get it done in the next month or so. I don’t make enough money to save…this is what credit cards are for…if need be. I see your point. If it’s a really slow leak there is no rush. I don’t believe I see any oil under my car -when parked- I just smell oil. so - that makes me think it’s not a big leak, I guess if it became a problem- my check engine light would come on before my engine explodes or stops which ever comes first:)

I go to the dealer on weds- curious what they say and if they tell me something very different. Or if their price to fix it is very different.

Just my take but I think you have zero chance of getting any help on this for a 9 year old car. Oil changes have nothing to do with it. Now if you bought the car new, have had all of the service work done at the dealer, etc. the dealer may provide some help but doubtful.