Should I stay away from a car that had a head gasket replaced?

When considering a used car, does a previous head gasket replacement scare you away?

Did you not read the replies on your other thread about this same vehicle?


No, that wouldn’t bother me if it had been done, say, a year ago or 5000 miles ago. Just to shake out any shoddy work. Now if it had been done a week before and now the car is for sale? No, No Way.

This thread is specifically about a head gasket replacement not a slew of other repairs. Keep it moving

Actually it is not. The vehicle should be considered for all of it’s repair problems. That means the other stuff you mentioned in your other thread. And you say you will need to have a timing belt that will make you having a lot more money in this thing then it is worth. I can almost guarantee you will be looking at some serious drive line repair because I doubt if the previous owner rotated tire on a regular basis.

It depends on how the head gasket failed.

If it failed where coolant leaked into the crankcase, the engine was probably damaged.

I had a customer where their truck had a head gasket failure where coolant leaked into the crankcase. Even though they didn’t know how long the gasket was leaking, they insisted that I replace the head gasket.

I warned them that the engine could fail at anytime after the head gasket replacement.

And sure enough, six weeks later the engine seized when the bearings failed from being damaged by the coolant.

And here’s the best part. The customer had a warranty that covered the engine when the head gasket failed. So they could of had it fixed for FREE!


Volvo thank you for the response. The previous thread was for the same year and model but different vehicle. Both had head gasket issues. Thank you.

Nope. I’d walk away without fear, but I’d definitely walk away.

You don’t know why the headgasket failed or how many times the engine has been overheated… but it’s a good bet that it has been. And you don’t know if the job was done properly. Was the head checked for flatness? Was it milled? Was any evaluation and/or work done on the valvetrain?

A headgasket replacement is major surgery. And it’s only done when an engine has experienced a major illness. I’d let some other victim take the risk.

Me thinks you should be looking elsewhere for a vehicle. A question is do you really need All Wheel Drive ?

yep, living in Colorado not far from the mountains

So you have looked at two old Subaru’s that the sellers admit have had head gaskets replaced. Google Subaru head gaskets, maybe you will start to see a pattern.

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If I were buying a used Subie I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a prior head gasket problem :wink: The fact that the seller had told you this means they are probably an honest broker, a good sign. As long as there’s sufficient time and miles post head gasket repair to indicate the fix took, I wouldn’t let it stop me from making the purchase. Reports here seem to be that Subie head gasket repairs seem to be robust, and second failures not very likely.

Regardless of the issues, I would not buy a used Subaru without knowing and trusting the seller. Here’s why.