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Advice for engine repairs in a 2000 Subaru Forester

Hi everyone,

I’m looking for some advice. I bought a 2000 Subaru Forester two years ago with 107,000 miles on it. Since then, I’ve put about 30,000 miles on the car, and I’ve loved it. I’ve also sunk a lot of money into the car: new timing belt, new suspension, and two years ago, a major head gasket repair for the notorious engine problems (which I didn’t know about when I bought the car, silly me) common in Subarus with a 2.5 l engine. All told, I think I’ve probably spend $4,000 on major repairs in the last two years.

I just moved out to Wyoming, and had the car checked out before I made the drive. Lo and behold, one day into the drive west, the engine began showing signs of overheating. I made it to Wyoming, and my new mechanic here (who I found by recommendation) has diagnosed yet another head gasket failure. I’m looking at anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 in engine repairs, depending on how bad the engine looks when he opens it up.

Here’s my question: Would you continue to sink money into this car? I’ve always been told by my mechanic back east that I was doing a great job of putting in major repairs when necessary, and that by treating the car well I could be one of those Subaru drivers who drives their car upwards of 250,000 miles. Now, I’m not so sure. I could get about $2,500 for the car in a trade-in if I went to a dealership. I wanted to drive this car until it died, but now family members are recommending I cut my losses. What do you think?

It may be time to walk away. The head gasket repair should last longer than the 30K miles you have accrued. I would pay for an estimate, but if the cost of repair goes past about $1.5K, I would walk and send the car to salvage.

If you choose to do the repairs, then make sure you use the Subaru Coolant Conditioner (about $3-5 per application when you change out the coolant). So far, its correct use has kept me from having any head gasket problems.

I would go for $1500, asking what other imminent maintenance am I looking at, I would trade it if it has a 5k repair price.

We have a 2000 Forester with overheating problems and discovered a current recall. You might want to contact your local Subaru dealer to see how much can be done under the terms of the recall. Good luck!