Head Gaskets


My '99 Subaru Forester, at 135,000 miles needs new head gaskets. The price = $1,100. I’ve recently replaced a wheel and a tire, an axle, wheel bearings on two wheels and four tires before that. Do I want to do the head gaskets or move on to a newer version of this car?


Have a read on this post: 2000 Outback Head gasket and rethink what you might want to do.

You’ve already spent some $ fixing it up, so if the vehicle is still in good condition and you still like it, I say fix it. BUT, get three different quotes first.


One Subaru is usually enough for most people…You did not mention the timing belt…Better replace that too or you will replacing the entire engine…


Compare the cost of repairs to the cost of a new car. Those monthly payments add up fast and you can do a lot of repairs with what you would be paying in repairs. Replacing wheels usually means driving in areas with very poor roads or fancy alloy wheels that are just not as strong as good old cheap wheels with wheel covers. It’s your choice.

At 135,000 miles if you are on the original timing belt, I would have it changed tomorrow and get the water pump done at the same time.


For $1100 that is not a huge price considering the car is likely paid for. If you have not replaced the timing belt/water pump ask for that to be done at same time. It should not add a significant amount to the cost since your motor will be all apart for the head gaskets.

Its awful Subaru did not goodwill all these engines headgaskets for 8yrs/150,000 miles. The 96-2000 2.5L(your engine) are simply prone to failure.

If you decide to move on the Legacy/Outback/Impreza is a much more pleasant upgrade/evolution. The Forester is in the last year of its design and due for a major overhaul in 2009 and likely worth the wait.


Ok, if I keep this car and replace the head gaskets, water pump and timing belt, are there any more big expenses I should expect in the future?

Thanks for all the responses. You’ve all been very helpful.