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Dealership repaired head gasket, only issues was oil seeping out. Got car back once, check engine light within 40 miles. Got car back again and it's stuttering on acceleration and light is BACK on (p0301). What to do now? *Time Sensitive*

Let’s begin by saying my car is a 2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i which had 0 issues so far at 104,000 mi.

So, I brought my car to a dealership thinking everything would be safe, yes it’s a bit more pricey but I wanted this job, HEAD GASKET, done properly so I thought this was my best avenue.

Now at this point the only symptom and issue with my car was the fact that it was slowly leaking oil and smelt like someone blew out birthday candles. No drivability issues, no check engine light, just thought of being proactive.

So after them replacing the oil pan, fixing recalls, replacing the head gasket, I get the bill for $2940.00. Thankful as I figure this will add another 100,000 miles or so to my vehicle which seemed cheaper than getting another car.

Fast forward 7 days and very few miles, the cars check engine light comes on, which it had never done before. Not too much of an issue driving wise but I thought it weird that my check engine light would be coming on so close to their work on the car. Upset, I called them looking for a remedy to this BS. They give me some nice talkings, give me a loaner while they check it out, and call me when they figure out what it is.

Low and behold, they name it my oil pressure switches, two of them. They’re telling me the mechanic deemed them fine before the fix but now 2 of them are bad and they would be cutting their mechanics’ hourly in half. So after 4 days, I finally get my car back after paying them another $224.00.

Since I got this car back it’s stuttering on acceleration, slightly shaking but eventually finding its groove. Check engine, traction control, cruise flickers on once for 10 minutes. 1 day later the issue of the stuttering is becoming slightly more apparent and on the way home the check engine light, cruise, and skid are all flickering and this time they’re not turning off.

UPDATE : They’re telling me water got into the coil plugs and wires which caused to fail and the wires it’s all one piece and they’re quoting me 716.00 for parts only. Didn’t they replace these or am I missing something? Aren’t they responsible for this under their work warranty? I don’t have any more money to dump into this and these issues ONLY happened after bringing it to them. I don’t know what to do, please help!

Items replaced in head gasket repair -
1.) Three Bond 1 (x1)
2.) O-Ring (x2)
3.) Gasket Cylinder (x2)
4.) Gasket Spark Plug (x4)
5.) Gasket Rocke(Abr?) (x2)
6.) Gasket Intake (x2)
7.) Gasket (x2)
8.) Gasket Exhaust (x1)
9.) Super Coolant (x2)
10.) N/C Brake CL (Abr.?) (x1)
11.) Timing Belt (x1)
12.) Adjuster AY (x1)
13.) Oil Pressure Switches (x2)

Plus all the recalls ECM to latest logic/ rear brake pipe corrosion/passenger airbag.

There’s no way I can tell you what’s going on with your car, but I can tell you that it seems to me the dealership mechanics are floundering around after they did a sloppy job with the first, major head gasket job. Now they are throwing parts at the thing, hoping some magic will happen.

If it was me, I’d look around carefully for a local independent shop that specializes in Subarus. There is a “Mechanics Files” section on this website,, that has feedback about local shops, and that’s a start. You can use any number of web search tools, too. Subarus are different from most cars in several ways and there are often specialized shops that know them well.

If the indy shop figures out what happened they may be able to help you go after the dealership for messing up the work they did. Sorry, but it seems like this will be a pain for a while.


When it comes to dealership repairs, my mother have invested nearly half a million CZK in to a new Škoda Fabia in 2011. Since then ts has been going through regular checks at the dealership including oil change etc.

In 2017 we have decided to change the oil and filters ourselves. Unfortunatelly for Škoda dealership the oil filter had a date on it - 2011. It was the original oil, and the original filter. They have done NO SERVICE on that thing.

And that’s why I’m enthusiastic used car buyer. Because even though I had many cars that have fallen apart through the last 13 years, all investments included, I still didn’t reach even half the price of a new one in spendings. And I get them serviced by whoever the hell I want.

Go to some private service, dealerships could be insanely uncheap and unreliable.

Posted a 1 star review on their dealership via google reviews explaining this situation, got a call within 10 minutes from my advisor asking me to take down the review and they would fix the car. Guess I got him in trouble, he’s not the mechanic but that was a super fast response.

Posted a 1 star review on their dealership via google reviews explaining this situation, got a call within 10 minutes from my advisor asking me to take down the review and they would fix the car. Guess I got him in trouble, he’s not the mechanic but that was a super fast response to a poor review.

Google is definitely a powerful leveraging tool, I know I look up ratings before bringing my vehicle any mechanic.

Post here.

These guys are experts/fanatics on Subaru’s. I suspect that what you have been charged so far is out of line.

I wonder too if the dealer forgot to put the engine shroud back under the engine when he got through the first time. BTW, have you ever had the spark plugs replaced? If not, you are way overdue and they are expensive. That could cause the P0301.

Yes, I can do the basics which is everything minus working on the engine itself. My girlfriend has a 2011 Subaru Impreza that I work on – same exact motor, everything in the same place but hers is a little bigger.

I left a review on their dealership website, eloquently stating the events as they unfolded. I didn’t resort to anger but was very straight forward with the process in which my car has undergone repair.

My review was enough for them to contact me in 8 minutes and repair what would have cost me 1,000.00 in work, for free. They fixed it within less than 2 hours yet the prices they quoted were astronomical and simply put, I could not afford any longer.

I’m in hopes that I won’t have to return for a LONG time. Their service department did what they had to do but their business model is clearly to evade for as long as possible without ruining their reputation and fortunately I found the right button to press.

The sad thing is, their service department whom had nothing to do with my repairs had to take the heat on this when they were nothing but respectful, as well as clearly following the business model the company strictly enforces on them that is just inhuman. This just screams scumbaggery that it has to go to such lengths to get through to a dealer to fix something they, themselves, screwed up.

The evolution of this business at this point as the ages push their weight on the past, is trustworthiness. We live in a society of growing distrust and this, push come to shove, will be the product of future business.

A couple of notes:

The price you stated seems quite fair to me, it’s within $100 of what that job would have cost at an independent shop (where I work) so depending on your location may be quite fair.

One thing missing from your list of parts replaced is a water pump. The pump is driven by the timing belt, and while it’s normal for a water pump to last 100,000 miles, expecting it to last 200,000 miles is not reasonable. I would have replaced the water pump and thermostat for the price of parts only, since the engine is out of the car already anyway.

The spark plugs were due for replacement soon anyway, I also would have recommended them at a small additional cost at the same time.

Google reviews is a double-edged sword. I had someone bring in a truck for a brake inspection, my price was $200 higher than another shop for the same work. The guy actually demanded that I meet the competitors price or he would review me as a price gouger.


Obviously the Google review was effective, but I would have first sent an email to their customer service people before taking the problem public.

Definitely heard the head gaskets were a problem, however as stated, I believe the repair should have lasted much longer. I bet they made a mistake in the repair process and should re do the repair. Most reputable car dealers offer a 1 year warranty on repairs.

I definitely agree with you, actually didn’t think about it at the time. I asked many times who I can contact someone higher up the ladder but kept getting the “Ok I will contact someone and see what we are able to do.” the 2nd, and third time. No one could give me a number nor an email I could reach out to. I’m sure if I took the time to search and pinpoint exactly whom it was I had to email it could have resulted better for both parties. All I can say is that I did what I could with the best of knowledge that I had and had asked for throughout the internet community. I wasn’t disrespectful, malicious or pointing the finger but instead simply stated the routes I’ve been through to reach that point of having to leave a review – lost.

I was frustrated and felt completely spun from the whole ordeal. I tried to talk to these people but hit a brick wall. Subaru wound up paying for the work that was done, so thank you Subaru, so this company, in particular, did not lose any profits.

One thing I do regret is by my doing I got someone who had nothing to do with the repair, receive a talking to in which I apologized and explained couldn’t understand how they were at fault but nonetheless the customer service avenue should have been the first place I started.

Usually the dealership website will have contact information on a Contact Us link. Although in my case (repair on my '01 Forester plain didn’t fix the right thing) they sent me an email to find out if I was satisfied and I just replied to it.

A 301 is a No. 1 cylinder misfire. That means possible spark plug, coil, fuel injector issue or lack of compression.

What I would do is run a compression test and rule out a mechanical fault such as low compression due to a piston ring or the more usual suspect; a tight valve.
Valves should always be checked and adjusted during a head gasket job. Quite often they are not.