Leaky head gaskets

My Subaru Outback 2004 has 136,000 miles. Recently the check engine light came on and the mechanic diagnosed leaking head gaskets, cost to replace $2,000. Does it make sense to fix it or bite the bullet and get a new car?

To me, the cost of this replacement does not justify getting rid of the car. Our 03 Legacy had 160K miles on it and cost me very little in maintenance. If needed, I would have replaced the head gaskets.

Once you get the repair done, add the Subaru Coolant conditioner( under $4 at dealer) each time you change the coolant. That may help the issue from recurring. We used it for the full time we owned the Legacy and had no head gasket issues.

$2000 doesn’t dent in getting you a quality used car if your Outback has been decently taken care of. Your call.

What I’d want to know are details behind the diagnosis.
Overheating, now or in the past?
Loss of coolant?
Rough running?

Along with Jayhawroy, that coolant conditioner also helps ‘repair’ smaller weeping leaks. Put some in, reset the codes and see what happens before you make a decision.
ok4450 has a good point as well. Before you spend actual money, maybe get an independent second opinion.

You can probably put a low mile engine in for around 2K or so:
My daughter’s Forester had a major head gasket failure last year and we opted to replace the engine. I did the work myself and figured that if the car ran another five months, she would have paid for the cost of the replacement engine. That was almost a year and a half ago and we now have a spare engine, as I had the heads remachined and put new gaskets in.
Should it ever happen again, I can replace that engine in a couple of hours.
You may opt to have the gaskets or engine replaced but- regardless - that car will be good to go for at least another 130K with no payments.

Subarus are really very solid cars. We’ve had several and the lowest mile car that required major work was my daughter’s Forester, at 189K.Early 2000 cars were plagued with bad head gaskets but they’ve since replaced the material - Subaru screwed up and they knew it.
The new gaskets are said to have solved the problem.