Car Problem Reports

Subaru Legacy Cooling System Problems Cause Head Gasket Failure

Subaru Legacy Problem
24 Reports
Me Too

Model Years Affected: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2011

Engines Affected: 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 3.6L 6 Cylinder

Average Mileage: 114,269 mi (36,000 mi - 171,000 mi)


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.

  • Visitor, , 2.5L 4 Cylinder

    First time, it was a slow oil leak. The second time, the A/C went out while driving and, 10 min later, the check engine light went on. The tow truck guy found a large puddle of liquid under the car when he picked it up. The mechanic that did the work the first time couldn't believe it happened again since he thought Subaru fixed the issue. It is mind blowing to me that, regardless of who does the repair or how many miles are on the, that they won't stand behind their product on a known issue. They are happy to help me buy a new car (of course). I have been a loyal Subaru owner since 1984. My solution will probably be to not buy another Subaru, not because they aren't good cars (most of the time) but because they aren't the company they used to be. Customer service, to me, can right any wrong.

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  • Visitor, , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 99,995 mi

    I saw small amounts of oil on driveway. Took it to the dealership, got an estimate of 2000 oe so to fix. Called Subaru Customer Service , a week later I got a call that it was covered. Subaru covered the entire cost of replacing both head gaskets. Made me happy.

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  • Visitor, , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 85,000 mi

    The local Subaru dealer- Spurr in Brockport NY- the head gasket was leaking and my repair costs would by $1000 plus so I took it to a local mechanic who researched the issue and told me Subaru had issued a large number of repair bulletins on this issue and although they did not do a recall often fixed it at no cost. He suggested I call the Subaru regional rep and I did. Twenty minutes later I got a call from Spurr offering to fix it and no cost, which they did.

    I will buy my next car from Van Bortel Subarun in Victor.

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  • Visitor, , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 142,000 mi

    I have not been able to fix the problem, as the repairs and labor for the head gasket situation are out of my budget.

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  • Visitor, , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 125,000 mi

    overheat, $2500 fix, new timing chain, tune up, oil change etc.

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  • Visitor, , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 94,000 mi

    Head Gasket failure, contacted Subaru dealer would not cover cost of repair. AAA repair facility out of pocket cost $1600.

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  • asismail, , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 163,000 mi

    I had bad radiator (small leaking) and I just realize when the engined overheated, it happen several times. I change the radiator but then antifreeze leaks and go into my engine which I can smell "burning stuff" after I turn off the engine. I check it to auto repair and it definitely caused by head gasket failure.

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  • Visitor, , 128,000 mi

    Second blown head gasket.

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  • Visitor, , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 105,000 mi

    Seems 2003's aren't covered by Subaru for this problem so had to fork over the $2100 to repair both head gaskets myself. As it is a known problem, I would have thought they would help in the cost.

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  • rkochinsky, , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 139,835 mi

    Head gaskets began to leak at 139,835 miles...have had issues with the cooling systemsince the head gasket recall.

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