Head Gasket problem in a Subaru

We have determined that we need a new head gasket in our 1997 Outback. Right now it’s good for short distances. Is it OK to keep driving it as is for a few months until we can afford to have it fixed? I don’t want to do any further damage to the car.

What exactly do you mean it is good for short distances. If you have a head gasket issue, even short distances could be doing additional damage to your car.

If antifreeze is mixing in with the engine oil then you are simply destroying the engine by running it.

Any use at all most likely will destroy the engine and could destroy the radiator as well.

No, it’s not “OK” to drive it this way. The head gasket needs to be replaced NOW, not a few months from now.

If you continue to drive it under these conditions you will, indeed, do “further damage” to the engine.


Be aware that the early 2.5 engines were common to have cracked blocks. If there isn’t an obvious visual indication of where the leak came from, and the head test good, you may need a new block.

how have you determined that its the head gasket? more info. maybe others would have more enlightening thoughts too.

Also bear in mind that this is an aluminum engine, so it’s much more susceptible to thermal expansion and contraction. Driving it any distance when it’s been overheating (I assume) and you’ve got a known headgasket issue is really likely to toast your engine.