Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Subaru head gasket problem

Has Subaru fixed the problem that was causing

the overheating/head gasket problem? If so, in what year was the problem fixed?

It appears that the 2003 model year was the last one for this problem, but why not play safe and avoid 2004 models as well–just in case.

Incidentally, this problem was confined to the 4-cylinder engines. If you are fortunate enough to find one with the 6-cylinder engine, those are essentially bullet-proof.

I just researched this problem, as I have a 2000 Outback with a coolant leak. According to what I found (and can see with my own eyes), in 2000 they changed from a DOHC design to a SOHC (one on each side, that is), and the new design reportedly does away with the head gasket blowing in bad places, i.e. between the coolant jacket and the cylinder. The 2000-2002 design is still prone to doing what mine is doing, which is leaking between the coolant jacket and the outside world. In fact Subaru released a service bulletin on it, which I’ve attached if it works. They say it’s harmless and can be treated with their version of Stop-Leak. I’ve been driving mine as is and just top off the radiator every thousand miles or so. But it does sound like the 2003+ models are a better bet.

2005 is a safe year to go with. 2004 had a few with the problem.

The 2005-2009 Outback/Legacy is a superior car to any previous generation too. Worth trying out.

Thank you. Very kind of you to share your knowledge.