Repair or not

I have a 2005 Subaru Outback with about 118,000 miles. It’s been a good car, but I’ve just been informed that it has a leaky head gasket. I was told it would probably cost about $2000 to repair although they wouldn’t know for sure until they checked it out. Is it worth repairing? I fear that other things might start going wrong adding up to big bills. I was hoping the car was good until 200,000 miles, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Can you afford a new car?
Will the new car cost more than $2k?

Just because one thing goes wrong with a car, doesn’t mean that its about to become a rolling death trap.

Since you didn’t describe any actual symptoms of what your car is doing, we can’t really say that yes or know, it might be a head gasket issue, and that it will cost $2k to fix.


You can’t replace the car for $2,000. It’s almost always less expensive to maintain and repair a car than to replace a car.

Fix the head gaskets (there are two) and drive it another 100,000 miles.

While it’s true that I hate head gasket problems and that they often repeat on Subarus, they drive a lot better than some cars and it’s handy to have their all-wheel drive system when there is snow on the road.

It will be a lot cheaper to fix it than to buy anything new. The prices are set at unrealistic ripoff levels. I was looking at new Chevy pickups this week just for a laugh and it was not funny. I want GM to make money for the government but I’m not paying $37,000 so that the debt will be collected from me. Call me thrifty but remember that I wish I didn’t have to be that way. I’m perfectly willing to buy a truck or car NEW for around $8,000. That’s what they are worth to me.

Use that sentiment/resentment and be happy that you are cheating the rich by fixing the Subaru. Also, open and close the rear door so you can hear what a good door sounds like. I was impressed with that when I tried it. Be happy.

I would say that $2,000 for another 118,000 miles is a good deal.

While no one car tell you how long your car will last, I would put mu money on the repair now is going to be cheaper than replacing it.

If the head gasket(s) are only seeping oil or coolant a little and are not actually blown due to overheating, etc. you might consider having the cylinder head bolts retorqued. There is a decent chance anyway that this could stop any seepage and the process is not that hard to do.

This is also a process that is seldom done or even thought of. Over time and with countless engine heating and cooling cycles the head gaskets and head bolts to relax so to speak. This lead to the head bolts not retaining their original torque.

This is by no means a guaranteed fix but it’s worth a shot anyway and could possibly be something for consideration if a timing belt/tensioner/water pump job is performed and which is past due if this has not been done.