I have a 2000 Subaru Outback with a little over 162,000 miles. About 3 years ago I had the head gaskets replaced. This past March the car started over heating while on the highway driving back to Boston from New Jersey. It has been doing this intermittently since then, and I have had two mechanics look at it.
The first mechanic, who is my beloved mechanic in Maine (where I am originally from), checked the sensors and relays. He even replaced the relays for free, and it still overheated on the way back from Maine to Boston. Needless to say I did not give him enough time to really look at my car to figure out the problem.
I then went to my back up mechanic in Boston, who kept the car for about 4 days. He said there are no leaks and the car did not actually over heat while with him. He had one of his guys drive the car home at night and back to the shop in traffic in the AM, and had it run for hours while on a lift, and on the ground. Still no overheating. However, he did say that the car was eating up coolant, which indicated to him that there might be a head gasket problem.
I was a little upset by this diagnosis because I had them replaced already, and also because I am getting married this summer so this obviously is not the right time to be buying a new car. I should mention that both mechanics looked at my car at the end of August. I have still been driving and watching the coolant.
The car is till randomly overheating but i tend to notice it happen more while in stop and go traffic and when I accelerate. The needle will go all the way up to red, stay there for a few seconds and then slowly creep down. This happened this morning, and I had checked the coolant yesterday and it was full! I checked it again at lunch time to see if it had used all the coolant during rush hour and it was still full. This chain of events seems to keep happening and I constantly check the coolant. Since August I have only had to fill it once. I have also noticed that when I open the radiator cap the coolant is not sitting level like I’ve been told it should. I’ve put a decent amount of work into the car and everything else runs perfectly.
Is it possible that this is a pumping or air bubble problem, and not a head gasket? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone says yes!
Let me know your thoughts, Thank you!