Car Problem Reports

Subaru Outback Cooling System Problems Cause Head Gasket Failure

Subaru Outback Problem
52 Reports
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Model Years Affected: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012

Engines Affected: 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 3.0L 6 Cylinder

Average Mileage: 99,593 mi (22,000 mi - 235,000 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.

  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 147,000 mi

    car overheated , replaced water pump , radiator , sensors ,hoses ,head gasget

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  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 75,000 mi

    head gasket caused oil leaks and replaced, along with thermostat and coolant flush, total cost more than $2600.

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  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 65,000 mi

    Coolant level drops, sweet smell when engine stops

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  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 75,500 mi

    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.

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  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 110,000 mi

    Leaking head gasket.

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  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 65,000 mi

    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.

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  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 81,000 mi

    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.

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  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 125,000 mi

    Head gasket leak

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  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 100,670 mi

    Using oil and coolant to the max. Head gasket problem. $2400 replace. Back to work!

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  • , , 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 106,000 mi

    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!

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