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Head gasket replacement at 70000

I have a 2006 Subaru Impreza Outback with 70000 miles on it. I have taken it to a Subaru dealer religiously for both oil changes and regular services and checks. It just blew a headgasket which is costing me at least $2500. Although it is past warranty, do I have a strong case to have Subaru pay for most or all of costs?

Yes. You have a strong case if you have changed the coolant as shown in owners manual. Hopefully you are an atypical case. The 1999-2004 models had significant amounts of headgasket issues with the non-turbo 2.5L engine.

Press on Subaru, they pay.

No. It’s past warranty. I had a 1971 Austin America that needed a top end job after 5000 miles. Stuff happens. Get over it.

Thanks Andrew. I keep getting positive responses like this. It helps me to keep pushing on! Do you think it will be possible to get payment from Subaru even if I have already paid the dealership to fix it (by tomorrow anyway)? I only have just the one car and can’t hold out for too long. Thanks again…

Half the Subaru’s ever made have blown head gaskets…They are a POS, but they have a loyal following. An independent Subaru shop will replace the gaskets for half of what you are about to pay…And no, you will never see a dime from Subaru.

Unfortunately, Caddyman, the level of hostility in your reply far outweighs the accuracy of your answer. Subaru of America can usually be convinced to pay at least half the cost of head gasket replacement for vehicles with less than 100k on the odometer. And, they have frequently paid half of the cost on vehicles with over 100k on the odometer.

Subaru owners who approach the company in a rational manner will almost always come away satisfied. On the other hand, those who are excessively hostile may not receive the same level of cooperation.

Is a franchised Subaru doing the repair? Subaru may step in on this but there’s a few things to keep in mind.
One should never replace one head gasket only on a Subaru; both are done at the same time.

Cylinder heads should be checked for flatness and surfaced as needed. (Unfortunately, seldom done and often needed.)

If this blown head gasket was preceded by severe overheating this could mean an oil burner after it’s put back together due to piston ring and cylinder wall damage.
If coolant mixed with the engine oil this often shortens the life expectancy of the engine’s lower end as coolant is not a lubricant and will “wash out” bearings as it’s called.

If Subaru says they’ll meet you part way and warranty this with them paying the bulk and you paying a part (say 600 bucks to pick a figure out of the air), what this means is that you will be paying the entire cost due to the wonders of warranty time, warranty labor rates, and warranty parts “real costs” reimbursement.

Hope some of those random comments help you out.

You can get payment past the fact if you use a dealership.

If the dealership was worth their salt you visited frequently they would press for a good will.

[b][i]Who’s On First ?

I’d Like To Try And Help.[/i][/b]

2006 Subaru Impreza Outback. Got it.

I can find a 2006 Subaru Impreza.
I can find a 2006 Subarau Outback.
I don’t see a 2006 Subaru Impreza Outback.

Are all Imprezas, Outbacks ?
Are all Oubacks, Imprezas ?
Are just some Imprezas, Outbacks ?
Are just some Outbacks, Imprezas ?
None of the above ?

Please give me a little help, here.

Next question . . . Do these babies all come with the same engine or am I missing that information, too ?


Why did the gasket fail?

That seems to be the consensus from other people I’ve talked to. I guess I chose the wrong dealership. I just wish/hope Subaru corporate would step up and not make it vary by dealership. Guess I’m just naive. Thanks…

Not all Imprezas are Outbacks. The Outback looks more like a wagon, other Imprezas look more like a sedan. I’m not completely sure about the details, but the engine I believe varies by turbo (in the Impreza WRX), and slightly more modified in the Impreza STI version. (Mine is neither) I’m sure others in this forum can expand on engine variations if they feel so inclined. Subaru changed the body style for the Impreza in 2010 (or 2009?).

It is unclear at this time whether the engine overheated and then the gasket failed, or the gasket failed, I lost my coolant, and then it overheated. Honestly, I’m not sure it even overheated, or if I made it home before engine damage was done. I never got an engine light (found out yesterday it doesn’t even have an idiot light for overheating! (guess I (emphasis on I!) at least need one.) I was coming home late at night, and though I don’t consider myself a complete idiot, I didn’t notice anything wrong until I was in my garage and smelled coolant. Next day I had coolant dripping onto the garage floor as I backed my car out (no puddles from dripping overnight!) I never saw any steam, never smelled anything while I was driving. Admittedly it was late at night and I was tired…
My personal guess is that the gasket failed first…

More than likely the gasket failed first, and then the engine overheated, but one of your comments is perplexing, namely, “found out yesterday it doesn’t even have an idiot light for overheating!”.

Trust me–it has either a temperature gauge or an idiot light. I suspect that yours has a temperature gauge, and if I am correct, that means that you may have been driving for an extended period of time with a dangerously high engine temperature.

Engines with aluminum cylinder heads do not take kindly to overheating, so it is very possible that you will need new heads in addition to new head gaskets. In that case, no warranty coverage will be available for head replacement, as driving with an overheating engine constitutes owner negligence. Driving for an extended period of time with an overheating engine can also lead to other expensive engine problems that are not covered by warranty.

Take a few moments to review the section of your Owner’s Manual dealing with dashboard gauges and warning lights, and find out exactly whether your car is equipped with a temperature gauge. If it is, this is something that you need to monitor. I scan all of my gauges every few minutes, just to avoid potential problems, and I would recommend that you do the same.

VDC Driver, I’d Be Extremely Surprised That A Warning Light Wouldn’t Illuminate For High Coolant Temperature, In Addition To The High Gauge Indication.

Every one of our GM and Chrysler cars has both coolant temperature gauges and “idiot” warning lights. The lights are amongst many (low oil pressure, low oil level, low coolant level, ABS, Air Bags, low fuel, low window washer juice, etcetera) that illuminate momentarily when the ignition is switched on in order to test the bulbs / circuits.

I’m thinking that maybe like tclegler says, "Honestly, I’m not sure it even overheated, . . . " that the car never got hot enough to illuminate a warning.


It’s time the automotive establishment admits that Subaru’s are only half a step ahead of Yugos on the automotive pecking order…

They quote $2500 to repair the sorry engine, then if you make enough noise, they MIGHT give you a 50% discount, bringing the bill down to $1250 which is what an independent shop would charge for the same repair…That’s nice…

Subaru should look into having Briggs & Stratton design and build their engines. They are far more reliable…

Personally I think a 2006 2.5L non turbo head gasket failure is rarity out there. Notice how few posts we ever get for anyone with a 2005-present Subaru. I “think” they resolved their issue. However I guess time will tell.

Whatever it is worth they can design a flat four engine without head gasket problems. I have owned four turbo Subaru’s (Loyale, Legacy 93, Legacy 05, WRX 04) and none of turbo models have this problem at all and the model is not known whatsoever for it. It is a rare failure for turbo Subaru motors.

Funny thing Caddyman, guess who is the only car maker with a substantial sales increase this year, Subaru. Everyone else is down besides Hyundai.

For clarity the vast majority of Subaru out there has a 2.5L non turbo motor(same engine). This motor in the past (96-2004) was known for higher than normal head gasket failure. 2005-present it is a rare failure in non-turbo 2.5L however time will tell

The minority sold except WRX use a 2.5L(2.0L in older WRX) turbo engine which does not have head gasket problems.

Interestingly enough in the lower level Subaru’s for 2010 the temp guage is gone. It only has a cold engine and hot engine light. Lame if you ask me.

While I don’t think Subarus are near as bad as you say, it does amaze me that after all these years, they still are known for blowing head gaskets. You’d think this would be easy.

Hmm… our engines have been blowing head gaskets for 15 years… do you think we should fix this? Nope? Well OK. Maybe next year then.