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How much would you pay?

I need a new head gasket on a 2002 Subaru Impreza. Can’t do it myself. The dealer wants $1100. Is that reasonable?



Yup. But don’t take my word for it, call some independent shops. They’ll generally be less expensive than dealer shops.

For a dealer it sounds reasonable.

It is absolutely unbelievable Subaru produced such a terrible motor. Supposedly yours was engineered not to have the issue…

I love my Subaru Impreza WRX but have the smaller turbo engine that seems to be immune to the problem.

Yeah, I love that car. It’s got 132,000 miles, handles a 70 miles/day commute, and has killed two deer. In 4 years, I’m thinking about a Forrester or Outback.


If you are planning to keep it another four years, I think you should spend the $1,100 and get it done.

Andrew, is this a design flaw or is it a problem with long-life collant like with some GM vehicles?

Can’t do it myself.

I don’t know…can you?? What mechanical work have you ever done on a car??? Do you have the necessary tools??

I have the knowledge and tools to do a head gasket. But it’s not something I’d like to tackle. I just don’t have the time. Expect to spend a whole weekend. And that’s not counting possible machine shop work.

There’s a few unknowns here.
Any coolant mixing with the engine oil? If so, potential problems.

The heads could quite possibly need machining and the water pump, timing belt, and tensioners have to be considered along with a new thermostat.

It is a design flaw due to thermal expansion in the head and bad gasket material choice. Note this problem is exclusive to the 2.5L engine(non turbo). For the 1990-present engines 1.8L, 2.2L, 2.0L(WRX), 2.5L turbo they do not have the issue. Current 2005+ 2.5L owners have not incurred the issue but most engines are under 80k so hard to to tell if the problem has resolved.

Subaru is more time since it has two head gaskets not one. However this case it may only be one that has failed.

Here is a post on how to fix one: