EEEK! Is my head gasket going to blow?

While listening to the show today, I heard the guys tell a caller who had overheated his car, that his head gasket was going to blow in the next 6 weeks and that this fix would cost about $1000.

A couple of weeks ago, my 2003 Subaru Forester overheated (the gauge hit the red). I pulled into a conveniently located auto repair shop and discovered that the piece that connects the hose to the radiator had broken. The radiator was repaired and the car has been running just fine, but now I’m wondering if a very expensive repair is in my near future.

We are a one car family, and the great thing about the Subaru is that it’s paid off, but with a timing belt due soon, and breaks, and the possibility of another expensive repair, I’m wondering if it is time for a new car…

Anyone know the odds of the head gasket blowing after a car has overheated?

Subaru uses an aluminum engine block and cylinder heads, and those components to not take kindly to being overheated. I think that the probability of an impending disaster depends on how long you were driving with the gauge in the red zone. If you turned off the engine within…perhaps a couple of minutes…then you may be in the clear. On the other hand, if the engine was overheating for more than just a few minutes, damage is fairly certain.

However, it is not a case of “will the head gaskets (your engine has two) blow in the near future”.
Either the damage has already been done, or it has not been done.
Your mechanic can do a couple of tests to determine if the head gasket has been breached. If it is still ok, then it should continue to be ok.