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blown head gasket

cocopuff2cocopuff2 Posts: 6
edited May 9 in Subaru
I had my timing belt and water pump and thermostat replaced last July. Months later, I started to hear fluid sloshing. It sounded as if it was just in front of the steering wheel. It was most pronounced in the morning. I finally took my car back to the mechanic who replaced my water pump on the suspicion that it was part of the cooling system which they had worked on last. My coolant level was fine when I got the oil change six weeks prior to bringing it back to the mechanic. They looked at my car as part of the warranty, and claimed that they bled the system to remove the suspected air bubble. Ten days later, my car overheated and blew the head gasket. Now the mechanic said that the head gasket failed on it's own, that it is a common Subaru issue, and that they are not at fault. They want me to pay for a head gasket repair. But I think there was something that they either did or didn't do to the cooling system.

Does it make sense that a head gasket failed catastrophically 10 days after the car was in the shop for a cooling system concern?

If it was failing should it have been noticed at anytime that they had the car either for the timing belt or when I returned it because of the noise?

I had 2 oil changes and a serpentine belt replaced by other shops. No one mentioned any issue with the head gasket.

Best Answers


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yes Subarus do have head gasket problems--at least the older ones with the 2.5L engine.

    This is a tricky situation because even though it seems like they had a hand in the cooling system, they can claim that you allowed the car to overheat and assisted in causing the damage. Also the actual repairs (not the bleeding) were done some time ago.

    It would be great if you two could work out a mutually beneficial "share" in the repair and resolve the issue that way. A lot of how you go with this depends on how much you have trusted them in the past.
  • cocopuff2cocopuff2 Posts: 6
    Thank you, Mr_Shiftright. I appreciate your insight and ideas.

    Their claim is that the cooling system had no part in the overheating, and that the head gasket failed on it's own. And that caused the overheating.

    I understand that head gaskets can fail, but I wonder if there is any warning sign before that happens.

    Also, how likely is that the blown head gasket causes the overheating vs. the overheating causing the blown head gasket.

    There is no temperature gauge in my Subaru, just an idiot light. It sucks.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    This is one of those chicken vs. egg dilemmas. Which came first, and how do you prove it?

    What's the year, model and mileage on this Subaru?
  • cocopuff2cocopuff2 Posts: 6
    2011 Outback 2.5i ... 130k miles... What do you think?
  • cocopuff2cocopuff2 Posts: 6
    Thank you Mr_Shiftright and thecardoc3. I am getting the head gasket replaced now. 
    I wonder if it’s a good idea to have a car that needs a head gasket replacement every 100k miles...this will be my last Subaru! 😡
    Thanks again for your comments and insights
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think Subaru has fixed that problem, finally.
  • cocopuff2cocopuff2 Posts: 6
    What year do you think they finally fixed it? I have to admit except for that catastrophe, I like my car...just not enough to risk an engine blowing up on me!
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