Head Gasket Repair Cost Subaru: How Much Does It Cost?

The question “How much does a head gasket repair cost Subaru” has crossed the minds of Subaru owners all over the world. Many people prefer a Subaru vehicle for its safety, reliability, robustness and its exceptional performance in all weather conditions. Thus, it becomes a headache when the engine oil begins to leak or intermittent heating begins to signal that something could be wrong with the head gasket.

Head Gasket Repair Cost Subaru

In this article, we break down the detailed cost of repairing/replacing a head gasket in your Subaru’s engine and also discuss some symptoms of a broken head gasket.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair the Head Gasket of a Subaru?

The cost to repair the head gasket of a Subaru depends on the type of Subaru, but average prices range from $1,560 to $2,700. Take note that repairing the gasket of a Forester might be more expensive than that of an Outback.

Thus, we will look at the various models of Subaru and determine the Subaru head gasket replacement cost 2022. Also, other factors such as the type of engine could determine how much you’ll pay for a gasket cylinder replacement. For instance, a Subaru 2.5 head gasket replacement might be more expensive than a 2.0L engine.

Subaru Outback

The average cost of replacing a Subaru Outback head gasket is about $2,600. Also, note that the year the Outback was manufactured and the type of engine affects the cost. For example, a 2003, 2006 and 2007 Outback, which uses a 2.5L H4 engine, would cost between $2,400 and $4,900 to replace the head gasket. Meanwhile, a 2007 Outback which runs on a 2.5L Turbo XT engine would cost between $2,100 and $2,700 to replace.

The 2003 Outback which uses a 3.0L engine would cost about $2500 to fix the gasket and you’ll need to shell about $2600 to fix the head gasket of a 2018 Outback. The Outback first hit the market in 1994 and was built on the platform of the preceding Subaru vehicles like the Legacy. The vehicle has more room for cargo and a better suspension which makes it a joy to drive on bumpy roads. No wonder it is one of the best-selling vehicles in the history of outbacks in the United States and Asia.

Subaru Forester

Fixing a Forester cylinder head gasket is less expensive compared to the models above but it depends on the type. The 2018 Forester appears to be the least expensive to repair coming in at an average of $1,560 though it runs on a turbo engine. The 2010 Forester head gasket replacement cost is between a whopping $2,120 to $2,600. However, if you’re using the 2014 and 2017 versions which use a turbo engine, then be prepared to shell out between $1,410 to $1,940. 

From the above figures, you should prepare a budget of about $2,700 to replace the gasket of a Subaru Forester. The Forester originated in Japan in 1997 and it quickly became the vehicle of choice for fun-loving adventurers and families. The vehicle was one of the first crossover cars to combine the all-wheel drive and space of an SUV with drivability. In 2022, the news was rife that Subaru had stopped making the Forester due to supply chain issues.

– Impreza

Our checks reveal that the average head gasket replacement cost Subaru Impreza is $2,210. This is indicative of the expensive nature of repairing Impreza’s gasket. The 2003 turbo engine Impreza’s head gasket will cost between $2,410 to $2,950, which is the most expensive in this series. The repair of the gasket for 2007 and 2018 Imprezas should cost between $2,100 and $2,599 while that of the 2009 and 2014 versions should be between $2,230 and $2,899.

The cheapest repair in the Impreza series is the 1999 version, which costs around $1,410 and $1,724. Though Impreza was introduced in 1992, it took the introduction of its WRX STi Turbo engines in 1994 for it to get noticed. Once the word of its high performance coupled with its cool price got around, people latched on to it. The Impreza is a reliable car with impressive safety features and a high resale value, hence its popularity.

Subaru Legacy

Repairing the cylinder head gasket of the Legacy is quite high, though it is not surprising given the prices we’ve seen so far. On average, you’ll shell out between $2,000 and $2,600 to have a Legacy head gasket replaced, depending on the engine type. The 2.5L Premium engine used by the 2010 and 2018 models would cost between $2,100 to $2560 to replace their head gaskets. However, the 2016 version requires about $2,500 to fix the head gasket.

Legacy is the flagship car of the company and it was first introduced to the market in 1989. It is an all-wheel drive which is one of a kind in its class and it runs on a boxer engine. Unfortunately, the company ceased production of the Legacy in 2020 owing to slow sales and supply chain issues. The last model of the Legacy was the sixth generation, which was introduced to the market in 2015.

– Subaru Ascent

Repairing the head gasket of the Ascent doesn’t come cheap as our checks reveal, therefore, you should budget about $1,500 depending on the damage caused. This includes labor costs and the replacement of other parts that are broken as a result of the leakage of the coolant. Thus, the cost could rise to $2,200 factoring in the model of Ascent you are driving. 

Ascent is a crossover SUV introduced in 2018 and marketed in other countries as the Evoltis. It features seven or eight seats and is one of the few Subaru vehicles that are not sold in Japan. It runs on the new turbocharged FA24 engine with a peak power of 260 hp at 5,600 rpm. The car features the EyeSight driver assist technology and has WiFi capabilities as well as Starlink infotainment systems.

– Subaru BRZ

The gasket for the Subaru BRZ is quite cheap to replace compared to some of the models listed here. The gasket itself is said to cost around $160, however, it is the labor involved that could spike the expenses.

The total cost could go up to $3,000, depending on the generation of the sports car and the engine. Replacing the head gasket of the second generation BRZ could be more expensive as it also uses the FA24 naturally aspirated engine.

– Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

This is one of the latest cars in the Subaru lineup and is a hybrid SUV that runs on electrical power as well as an engine. The head gasket for the engine would cost about between $1,700 and $1,900 to replace if it ever gets broken.

Of course, this includes the cost of the gasket and labor but doesn’t include the repair or replacement of other parts of the engine. The Hybrid made its debut on the car market in 2013 at the New York International Auto Show and featured a keyless starter.

– Subaru WRX STI

The Subaru WRX is a compact sedan that was produced in 1992 and was initially built on the Impreza platform. The Subaru WRX head gasket replacement costs an average of $1,200. It is quite cheap to replace the head gasket cylinder of the 2018 WRX as the cost ranges from $990 to $1,210. The 2016 and 2020 versions cost a bit more to replace the head gasket as the price is between $1,070 and $1,310.

Due to its turbocharged engine, the WRX was nick-named “pocket rocket” when it was first introduced to the Japanese auto market in 1992. The WRX has, since then, gone on to become a worldwide spectacle as it can reach amazing speeds in a few seconds. The company introduced the WRX to take compete in the World Rallying Championships, hence the letters WRX, which stands for World Rallying Experimental. The vehicle is the first to win 3 consecutive manufacturer’s championships and dominated the Australian World Rally Championships until it withdrew in 2005.

– Reasoning for the Price

The reason it’s quite expensive to replace the head gasket is because of the work involved. In most cases, the entire engine would have to be removed and disassembled to get to the gasket. This can take from 7 hours to several days depending on the type of engine and where the gasket is located inside the engine. Thus, you pay more for the labor than for the replacement itself as the head gaskets are cheaper.

However, if you’re lucky enough to have Subaru head gasket replacement without removing engine, then you’ll pay less. Take note that this also depends on the model of the Subaru and the design of the engine.

– The Importance of Subaru Head Gasket

Given the issues raised above, you may be wondering what is the exact job of Subaru head gaskets. Well, the main work of the gasket is to help tightly seal the combustion chamber of the engine so that the vehicle can build maximum compression to keep the engine’s power at optimum levels.

Thus, without the head gasket, the engine’s power would reduce drastically and the vehicle would run at slow speeds. The consequences of refusing to repair the head gaskets will be explained in detail in the following paragraphs.

Fixing a Subaru head gasket can be a daunting task that should only be attempted by qualified and certified mechanics. 

– Head Gasket Warranty

A Subaru usually comes with a 3-year (36,000 miles) and a 5-year (60,000 miles) warranty which covers the head gasket. Thus, if your gasket blows before that time, you’ll get a replacement.

The camshaft and the crankshaft may also need replacement as they could have been fouled by a leaking gasket. Other things may be included such as small sensors and hoses, but your mechanic will let you know about them.

– Other Components That Will Need Replacement

Apart from replacing the head gasket, other components which were damaged as a result of the leakages may need to be replaced. The cost of these components should be factored into the overall budget to give you a fair idea of the total amount of money you’ll need to have a complete job done.

Most mechanics recommend that the timing belt should be replaced to keep your engine running smoothly. A timing belt is a reinforced rubber band with “teeth” that connects the camshaft to the crankshaft in the engine and controls the piston and valves as well. The belt may wear out when the head gasket is damaged and it causes overheating that is why you may need to replace it.

Another item that will need replacement is the spark plugs that are responsible for igniting the air and fuel mixture inside the cylinders. A leaking gasket may cause the coolant to flood the spark plugs, which will result in the engine misfiring. The price of a Subaru spark plug is between $8.3 to $12.

What Are the Signs Of a Broken Head Gasket?

The signs of a broken head gasket include a frequently overheating engine, a leaking coolant, white smoke from the exhaust, a misfiring engine, a damaged spark plug, milky engine oil, or air bubbles in the reservoir of the coolant or the radiator.

All things being equal, you’ll need to do between 100,000 to 150,000 miles before your first gasket replacement. However, it could be sooner or later depending on other factors. Driving with a bad head gasket can spell bad news for your engine and the vehicle, which is why it is necessary to know the signs of a damaged gasket.

These may not be all the signs but we’ll cover the omst common head gasket problems to give you a fair idea of what to expect. One sign to look out for is the check engine light on your dashboard. Here are other signs of a blown head gasket so you’ll know when to replace head gasket Subaru:

– Frequently Overheating Engine

When your Subaru engine constantly overheats, chances are that the head gasket of your vehicle is blown and it’ll need immediate fixing if you want to preserve the engine’s integrity. Engines need to get hot due to power vehicles, therefore they need coolants to keep them operating at the right temperature. The coolant is sealed by the gasket, therefore, if the coolant leaks it means that the gasket is not sealing properly and thus needs replacement.

– A Leaking Coolant

As already mentioned, a leaking coolant could be the result of a head gasket failure. The coolant works by going through the engine and absorbing heat. If the coolant leaks, it means there will not be enough of it to absorb the heat and keep the engine running at the right temperature. This can cause overheating and damage the engine, so replace the gasket as soon as possible.

– White Smoke From the Exhaust

When excessive pale smoke is emanating from the exhaust pipe, then it could be a symptom of a head gasket leak. This happens when the coolant is leaking into the combustion chamber and mixing with the high temperatures of the combustion process. This is either caused by a break in the engine or the seal of the head gasket is broken. 

– Misfiring Engine

When the head gasket between two or more cylinders in an engine is blown, one of the most common results is a compression leakage between cylinders. This would lead to low compression, which means compression from one cylinder is leaking to another. Low compression can cause misfiring, which leads to a rough idling engine.

– Damaged Spark Plug

A broken head gasket can cause the coolant to flood the spark plug in a cylinder and damage it. This can cause engine misfiring and lower the performance of your engine and eventually damage it if repairs are not immediately carried out. 

– Milky Engine Oil

The coolant can also get into contact with the engine oil when the head gasket is broken. This could change the color of the engine oil to either milk or tan and affect the engine’s performance. Some people wonder if it’s ok to drive with milky engine oil. The answer is “no” because you may end up damaging your Subaru’s engine.

– Air Bubbles in the Reservoir of the Coolant or the Radiator

A broken head gasket can cause the combustion gasses to pass through the coolant, resulting in air bubbles in the radiator. When there is also a leak in the coolant, air pockets can enter causing blockages and resulting in air bubbles or overheating of the engine. 

If you notice any of the signs above, then it is Subaru head gasket replacement time.

Conclusion

We’ve covered all the costs involved in replacing the head gasket of several models of Subaru. Here is a summary of all that we’ve read so far:

  • The cost of replacing a head gasket depends on several factors including the model of the Subaru, the year of manufacture, and the type of engine.
  • Naturally aspirated engines of Subaru tend to cost less to replace their head gasket than turbocharged ones, however, this is may not be true of all models.
  • The company provides a 3 to 5 year warranty for their vehicles, which includes gasket replacement when it is damaged.

The average price of replacing a head gasket of a Subaru is $1,932, however, it’ll be wise to budget more than the given value to make up for the changes in cost. 

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