Cooling System Problems Cause Head Gasket Failure on Subaru Outback

The head gasket has a high failure rate due to cooling system problems. Subaru is aware of the problem and has extended the warranty to 8 years/100k miles on many vehicles.

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Average mileage: 100,065 (22,000–235,000)
Engines affected: 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 3.0L 6 Cylinder
11 model years affected: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, more2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012
71 people reported this problem
41 people shared problem details
2001 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder147,000
car overheated , replaced water pump , radiator , sensors ,hoses ,head gasget
2010 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder80,100
Overheating out of the blue, went to dealer they changed out thermostat, 2 weeks later same over heating problem, now its a head gasket. $2000 bucks ouch!!!!! Mind you only 80K miles on car. Its a nice car, but COME ON MAN!!!!
2010 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder106,000
This month I just pad off my Subaru. Yay, no more expenses or so I thought. Engine overheat light coming on. Took it to local dealer who said the radiator cap had sprung and was on wrong, did pressure test. Headed out on 2000 road trip, 500 miles in the middle of nowhere and engine overheat light comes on, replaced fluids, pressure test on radiator. 600 more miles down the road, engine overheat light. This time I was near Tucson Subaru. They said I needed a system flush, and to replace thermostat to the tune of $600. Headed back home, 500 miles into the trip home (you get the picture, engine overheat light...) Finally got a Subaru repairman who knew what he was doing. They said the radiator ($500) needed replacing because it was improperly cooling. Next day they call and say my head gaskets needed to be replaced (another $1000) while they are in there might as well do the timing belt. SO I am looking at around ($4000) for my 2010 Outback which I bought based on it's longevity. Not sure any 2010 Outbacks will get to be featured in the high mileage club! Soon to contact Subaru to address the issue!
2006 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder75,000
head gasket caused oil leaks and replaced, along with thermostat and coolant flush, total cost more than $2600.
2003 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder65,000
Coolant level drops, sweet smell when engine stops
2006 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder75,500
Noticed oily smell when getting out of car. Went to dealer for repair of wheel hubs and while there they told me the head gasket had blown - $2500 repair (including new plugs, and wires.
2007 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder110,000
seriously reconsidering purchasing another subaru at this point.
2010 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder65,000
The coolant idiot light came on and we pulled over to read the manual. It said when the engine cools and the light goes out, keep driving. If the light stays on, DO NOT DRIVE. The light went out and it never came back on again. When checking under the hood, the reservoir cap was blown and there was coolant all over the engine and the underside of the hood. I took it to the Subaru dealer and they said 'blown head gasket'. Fortunately, it was still under warranty. It had been serviced less than 2 weeks before so I know it was a problem with radiator hose or something. I saw the recall on the 2010s but the Service Dept said not for my VIN. I am skeptical.
2010 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder81,000
Car began overheating. Mechanic replaced thermostat and radiator cap. Problem continued. Mechanic then diagnosed blown head gasket and used chemical treatment to seal the gaps and correct the problem. However, car is continuing to overheat under stress (highway, a/c running, high outside temp). Considering next step.
2003 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder85,000
Head gasket started leaking one month after the 90,000 mile maintenance, which I did early. Frustrating, but I still love my Subi! Replaced head gasket.
2001 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder125,000
Head gasket leak
2006 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder110,000
Leaking head gasket.
2009 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder95,400
Both side head gaskets. Replaced them, both side valve cover gaskets, spark plugs, intake gasket, exhaust gasket, timing belt, front crank seal, water pump and gaskets, thermostat and gaskets, flush coolant, drive belts, idler pulley. $2,934.21
2007 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder66,500
I have a 2007 Outback with 66,500 miles on it. Dealer says both headgaskets leaking onto exhaust parts.
2010 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder64,300
Approximately 3 weeks after being serviced, my 2010 Outback blew head gaskets. The heat indicator light started blinking red while driving. We pulled over and read the owner's manual for counsel. It said if it is blinking red, pull over. If it stops blinking, no worries. If it stays red, do not continue driving. The indicator light went out altogether so we continued home. It turns out, the reservoir had blown it's lid spewing all over the engine and the radiator was nearly empty. We put enough H20 in it to make it to the Subaru dealer. Today they informed me "I blew head gaskets". They made me feel like we were idiots for driving it. At no time did we notice any fluid on the ground, see smoke or smell coolant. It is baffling, especially since the fluids had recently been topped off. Routine oil changes, and scheduled maintenance all in order. We noticed that there is a recall (#83732)for a radiator hose problem but the dealer said it does't pertain to my car (per VIN). Fortunately, we bought the extended service warranty and this repair will only cost the $100 deductible. I can't help but wonder how thorough a job will be performed. I may sell and buy something else. (My 1998 Outback had HG issues afer 120 k miles - - that is more understandable!)
2007 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder97,000
Oil leaking from Head Gasket (Both sides). Told by Mechanic to monitor fluid levels. Car Serviced twice a year as we don't put enough miles on it to follow that schedule.
2000 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder111,000
complete loss of all coolant within 3 weeks of topping up. Pressure test revealed a leaking left head gasket, which was replaced with new head gaskets (for the turbo charged engine, even though we don't have that kind). We were told that these other gaskets were more "robust". Also changed the water pump and timing belt. Total cost was $1900.
Car was overheating, right after purchased ,replaced thermastat, then flushed radiator, still over heated, now they say a cracked head
2000 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder
Our 2000 legacy overheats all the time. We have spent a small fortune trying to get the problem fixed. It overheats in traffic , and driving short distances. It also uses up a lot of anti freeze.Very undependable car.
2003 Subaru Outback- 2.5L 4 Cylinder175,000
Car started to overheat today, coolant was low, smelled gas in the reservoir.
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