Urgency of mechanic recommendations for 2001 Subaru Forester S?

arih33arih33 Member Posts: 2
edited May 2014 in Subaru
I recently visited a mechanic for a visual safety check and numerous recommendations were noted:

1. Passenger side front fog light is dirty
2. Driver side head gaskets leaking
3. Passenger side CV axle boot leaking
4. Steering rack leaking
5. Heat shield rattle
6. Transmission oil pan gasket leaking

Not to mention my rear brakes are a 4/10 and my check engine light turned on last night.

I'm the original owner of a Subaru with ~154K miles. Other than the engine light I'll have looked at this week, and the brakes which likely need replacement soon, what of the above are truly necessary?

Within the last 2 months, I've replaced the timing belt (with tensioners, thermostat, water pump, rollers/seals, etc) and the harmonic balancer with bolt.

Should I expect more big-ticket items in the coming months?



  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,298
    1. Of little to no importance. This likely means that you have a cracked lens or a seal has gone bad, allowing moisture in there that has discolored/fogged the interior.

    2. That can be a pretty big deal - did they mention whether it was an internal or external leak? I am surprised, if you just had the timing belt replaced, that such a condition was not addressed at that time.

    3. This happens and you can plan the replacement of the half-shaft. As it gets worse (the CV joint itself begins to degrade), you will notice a grinding noise when you turn toward the right (passenger side). When it is really bad, the noise will be present all the time and sound awful when you turn to the right! I replaced both of my front half-shafts before 150,000 miles, so you are doing well there. The shafts are not bad, but the boots are rubber and rubber wears out. If the boot breaks, the grease gets flung out and the joint then wears abnormally due to insufficient lubrication.

    4. Leaking.... how badly? You can try to address this with a power steering "stop leak" fluid, or just make a point of checking it periodically to keep the fluid topped off. Again, if you choose to address this, you can pretty much pick the timing.

    5. Haha, welcome to old-car-dom! This is like the fog light... if you want to fix it, do, but it is not necessary. Other than hunting down the source of the rattle, fixing this is so simple it is hardly even worth the time to prepare for doing it! ;)

    6. Like the power steering, you can choose the time to do this if you keep the fluid topped off. I am not sure when you last changed out the transmission fluid, but the next time you do this you will need to put a new gasket on the pan anyway.

    Overall, your car is doing just fine and there is no reason to expect any "big ticket items" unless your transmission is acting up or you have issues with binding in your differentials.... The only potentially major issue is the head gasket leakage, which can disable the vehicle depending on the nature and severity of the leak. Whatever you do, do not let the car overheat, as you could end up with a warped or cracked engine block/head.

    Happy trails!
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I agree, the biggie is the head gasket. If that blows up, at 154k miles it would be time to go new car shopping. Or at least engine replacement.

    Given all the other issues, though, you may want to trade it in while it's still in one piece.
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