Subaru cylinder gasket replacement

I have a 2004 Subaru Outback wagon which has served me quite well. I recently found out the cylinder head gasket is leaking and must be replaced. Will Subaru cover the cost for me? What is the history on this?

You need only Google “Subaru head gasket” to find everything you ever wanted to know about this problem…

Subaru of America (SOA) has been giving “goodwill” assistance with this type of repair, with certain restrictions. In most cases, the car owner has to be able to prove that the car was serviced by the dealership, at least as often as the mfr’s maintenance schedule specifies. And, there is a specified limit on odometer mileage and elapsed time–but I don’t recall the exact details of that limitation.

To some extent, it may also depend on the dealership. When my '97 Outback needed this type of repair–when it was 6 years old and had ~130k miles on the odometer–I paid something like $600 for the replacement of both head gaskets (be sure that you have both replaced!), but whether this price reduction came from SOA or the dealership, I can’t say for sure. In any event, neither SOA or the dealership will cover the entire cost, even under a “goodwill” policy.

I suggest that you give the SOA folks in Cherry Hill, NJ a call in order to discuss the issue with them. Just remember that a calm, rational customer is likely to get more satisfaction than a raving lunatic who screams at the customer service person.

Thanks for the advice. My car has 130k miles but I have kept up with the maintenance. It’s been a great car overall. I’ll call the folks in Cherry Hill and see what they can do for me. I have researched the matter online and learned that this has been kind of an ongoing problem.

This is an area in which I disagree with the a Good Will warranty is which the customer pays half. In VDCdriver’s case it was 600 dollars and this more than likely paid for the entire job.

Warranty reimbursement is figured on a discounted shop hourly labor rate, a discounted total number of hours warranty time, and the real murky area which is the actual cost of the parts such as head gaskets, etc. SOA provides the parts to the dealers and Fuji as the parent company provides the parts to SOA. The real world cost of those parts is cheap and there’s a big markup between Fuji and the time the parts hit the dealer shelves.
IF the dealer will tell you the hourly warranty rate and the warranty time allotted for a head gasket repair you can easily figure out the total labor charge that SOA would pay the dealer. The parts issue is hazier although I did become privy once to info about a part that cost the dealer 65 dollars having a real cost of about 6-7 dollars. The wonders of mass production!

You could also try having the head bolts retorqued and this may stop the leak, all depending on how long it’s been leaking, if any cylinder head or gasket erosion is present, etc.

Thanks for your response. Agreed about the outrageous mark up.

I haven’t yet called SOA but intend to do so. Thanks also for the tip about having the head bolts retorqued. It’s quite a long and involved story, but I don’t really know how long it’s been leaking, nor do I know the condition of the cylinder head or gasket. I’ll bring the matter up with my mechanic.