Do you have a bad head gasket on your brand-new Subaru and you consider replacement? So, you want to learn the Subaru head gasket replacement cost? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because this article will be all about this problem and we will try to deliver the answer that you deserve.
Doing research when it comes to costs is probably some of the most useful things that you can do online. It is a good thing that nowadays we have the internet and the ability to look for solutions to our problems. Like in this case with the head gasket.
Back in the day, there was no internet and people relied on the mechanic’s input when it came to the price. Now there is less of a chance that you could end up ripped off because people are sharing their experiences online and based on this input you can determine what could be the average cost of this type of job. Which is a great thing when it comes to saving money. So, that’s why we are here to help you out.
First, we are going to learn what is a head gasket and the difference between a head gasket and a valve cover gasket. Then we will cover the causes of why head gaskets fail on a car and also the bad head gasket symptoms. Then, we will discuss the diagnostics process. As well as the replacement process and the Subaru head gasket replacement cost. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is A Head Gasket
Before we dive into more complex topics like the head gasket replacement and the Subaru head gasket replacement cost, let’s take a look at what is a head gasket in general. This would be quite useful for people who might not understand the in-depth technical parts of a car and want to learn more about the component that they want to replace.
So, what is a head gasket? Well, a head gasket in simple terms is the component that allows a proper seal to be established between the head of the engine and the engine block.
This is often a metal gasket produced of multi-layer steel and copper. But in some applications like Subaru for example, it can be manufactured out of other materials that are rather easy to fail. For example, Subaru used composite graphite head gaskets that were quite easy to fail and allow problems to develop.
And when it comes to head gaskets, there should be no tolerances. Even the smallest gaps will allow problems in the engine to appear and the engine could start to produce different symptoms of blown head gaskets that we are going to further elaborate on later in the article.
But remember that the Subaru engines do not produce leaks only because of the gasket. In these engines, these problems are rather exacerbated by the design of the engine itself.
Subaru uses boxer engines. So, what does this means? Well, this means that the boxer engine has everything aligned vertically. So, the gaskets instead of laying flat, or at an angle like in V6 or V8 engines. On Subaru engines though, the gasket lays vertically. So, getting a leak is rather easy. But what about the Subaru head gasket replacement cost? More on that in a bit.
Valve Cover Gasket vs Head Gasket
Another topic that we would like to cover before we learn why the Subaru head gaskets fail and the Subaru head gasket replacement cost is the difference between valve cover gaskets and head gaskets. These two types of gaskets confuse a lot of people. So, let’s elaborate more on them and learn about how they differentiate.
As we mentioned previously, the head gasket is a metal composite gasket that is mounted between the head of the engine and the engine block.
When it comes to the valve cover gaskets, on the other hand, they are mounted on top of the engine head where the rocker arms or camshafts on DOHC engines are located.
So, the valve covers are simply there to allow the valves, camshafts, or rockers depending on the engine design to be serviced without the removal of the whole cylinder head.
For our example, in Subaru engines, there is the valve train and on top of the valvetrain there are the camshafts that are mounted on and the engine is closed with the valve cover.
So, in order for oil leaks to be prevented, there are valve cover gaskets on both of the valve covers on your Subaru engine. And consequently of the engine design, both of these valve cover gaskets fail in the same fashion as the head gaskets.
But in this case, it is far less dangerous. The only danger when you have leaky valve cover gaskets is a greasy engine. While on the other hand when the head gaskets fail, the whole engine is put in danger of failing. So, what is the Subaru head gasket replacement cost? More on that we are going to cover in a bit after we learn why these gaskets fail in the first place.
Causes For Head Gasket Problems
So, we have covered the basics when it comes to head gaskets and learned what these components are and what is their purpose on the car.
Now it is time to learn what are the Subaru engines more susceptible to blown head gaskets than any other car manufacturer out there. Let’s cover a few of the causes for this situation that troubles a lot of car owners. Then we will discuss the replacement and the Subaru head gasket replacement cost.
1. Bad Quality Head Gaskets
The first probable cause for head gasket failure that will make you look for the Subaru head gasket replacement cost is the bad quality gaskets.
Subaru throughout the years has not become the quality name that people associate with using high-quality head gaskets. They often use the cheapest graphite composite gaskets that tend to fail to a large extent.
So, whenever you purchase a Subaru, it is a good idea to replace these factory head gaskets with aftermarket head gaskets.
There are a lot of companies that make good gaskets for Subaru models and I think based on most people’s comments, these are far better than the OEM alternatives that you can buy. So, pay more and go for aftermarket ones if you don’t want to deal with blown head gaskets and looking for a Subaru head gasket replacement cost anytime soon. Now let’s move on to the next cause.
2. Engine Overheating
Another probable cause for the head gasket failure is the engine overheating. Usually, when the engine is exposed to too much stress and heat, the head gaskets tend to fail and start developing leaks.
And as we mentioned previously, the Subaru head gaskets are really problematic and can have higher failure points than the other vehicles out there.
So, if your Subaru starts overheating, then the head gaskets are probably the first components that you want to check in order to make sure that there are no leaks on the sides and also that you are not losing coolant.
If you are losing coolant and there are no leaks, it means that the engine is burning the coolant. This is often accompanied by white smoke from the exhaust. But how much is the Subaru head gasket replacement cost? More on that we are going to cover in a bit.
3. Engine Design
And the last probable cause on our list for the head gasket failures on Subaru models is the engine design as we mentioned previously.
On the Subaru engines, the heads are placed vertically since this is a boxer engine. So, gravity does its job and there are leaks that start to develop at the bottom or at the sides of the engine.
So, in most cases, if you plan to purchase a Subaru, we would advise replacing these gaskets and not allowing the engine to work and warp the heads. This way you might pay the Subaru head gasket replacement cost only and you will not pay for machining the heads or replacing them if they are too warped. But what are the symptoms of a blown head gasket? Let’s discuss more on that next.
Bad Head Gasket Symptoms
Now that we learned what is a head gasket and the causes of why head gaskets fail, let’s discuss more about the symptoms of a bad head gasket.
What are the common situations that you will experience when you have a blown head gasket? Let’s elaborate more on them in detail before we cover the diagnostics process. As well as the Subaru head gasket replacement cost.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Cost, Symptoms #1: Engine Overheating
The first and most common symptom of a blown head gasket that requires you to learn the Subaru head gasket replacement cost is the situation when the engine is overheating.
Engine overheating causes the head gasket often to fail and also this problem exacerbates once the head gasket is blown because there is air in your car’s cooling system and the coolant simply starts to disappear and evaporate.
So, if you notice how the temperature gauge on your cluster goes above the normal temperature and you get warnings from the computer, it is a good idea to stop the car and let it cool down and resume driving. Then head up to the mechanic’s shop to get this issue diagnosed quickly before the cylinder heads warp and more problems develop.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Cost, Symptoms #2: Bubbling In The Coolant Expansion Tank
The second situation when you have a blown head gasket is when there is too much pressure in the coolant expansion tank. So, what does this mean?
Well, in each engine there is a coolant expansion tank and a valve that releases the pressure. So, if the valve releases pressure often and there is a whole puddle of coolant under the hood and there are bubbles inside of the tank, there could be a chance that there is air in the system.
It is important that you not open the coolant expansion tank when the car is hot in order not to get splashed with hot coolant. This can be rather dangerous for your health. Look for the Subaru head gasket replacement cost and sort out this problem as soon as possible. Don’t wait for things to become more serious and the car to become irreparable.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Cost, Symptoms #3: Low Levels In The Expansion Tank
The next symptom closely associated with the Subaru head gasket is the situation when the coolant disappears from the coolant expansion tank.
The coolant in this tank should be between the min and max levels. And if you notice that the coolant disappear, then this means that you have a serious problem with your car.
But still, don’t open the cap of the expansion tank when the car is running and the engine is hot. Top off the coolant once the engine has cooled down. This way you will be sure that the engine does not run out of coolant and the engine destroys itself.
What is important in these situations is that you need to learn more about the Subaru head gasket replacement cost. And more on that, we are going to cover more in a bit.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Cost, Symptoms #4: Milky Oil
Another very common symptom that is associated with a blown head gasket is the situation when you have milky oil. So, why does this problem occurs?
Well, the problem occurs because the coolant is mixing with the engine oil. And when you remove the dipstick you have a milky sludge inside.
This sludge will not perform well and the engine will constantly overheat, it will eat up the bearings and the engine will stop working.
So, once you notice something like this, it is important that you don’t drive the car and make sure that you learn the Subaru head gasket replacement cost and try to look for a place where you can find this service for the best price. More on this later on in the article.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Cost, Symptoms #5: White Smoke From The Exhaust
Another quite common symptom that indicates a blown head gasket and the need to learn the Subaru head gasket replacement cost is the situation when you experience white smoke from the exhaust. So, why is this the case? Why there is white smoke?
A little bit of white smoke is normal because of condensation when the car is cold started. But if the car smokes on a daily basis and leaves clouds of smoke in the rear, then this is a clear indication of a blown head gasket and this problem needs to be diagnosed as soon as possible. Also, the Subaru head gasket replacement cost you need to learn in order to tackle the issue on the cheap.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Cost, Symptoms #6: External Leaks
The next symptom in our list of symptoms of a blown head gasket is external leaks. And on Subaru engines, these leaks can often occur and make you experience coolant loss.
The leaks often come from the side of the engine and when they come with the hot surface of the engine the coolant evaporates. Leaving white stains on the engine in the process. So, if there are some stains where the gaskets go, then this needs diagnosing. And more on how you can diagnose a blown head gasket, we are going to learn next before we cover the Subaru head gasket replacement cost.
How To Diagnose A Blown Head Gasket
Now let’s take a look at how you can diagnose a bad head gasket. What are the methods that you can try to tackle this type of job on your car?
Well, first things first, you can rely on the symptoms. If your motor oil looks like a milkshake, if you are losing coolant, then these are the clear signs that you suffer from a blown head gasket and there is basically no doubt that the gasket is bad. Unless you have coolant leaks from the radiator, water pump, or coolant hoses.
Still, on the market, there are tools that you can try to diagnose the problem. The first thing you can try is to do a compression test on the engine. If you have a blown head gasket, there will be a loss of compression on one of the cylinders as you can probably assume.
Or if you want you can try a different method. Just remove the coolant cap and leave it open. Before removing just make sure that the engine is cold.
Once the cap is removed, start the engine. If the coolant is instantly bubbling and the air is escaping from the reservoir. Then this means that you definitely have a blown head gasket.
Also, there is even a special tool for this purpose. You can see Scotty in the video how this type of device is used. In general, you use a special fluid that changes color when it senses the exhaust fumes. It is really straightforward and we definitely recommend it. But what about the Subaru head gasket replacement cost? More on this, in the following chapters.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement
When it comes to the Subaru head gasket replacement. We can say that it is rather tricky and in some cases, the engine has to come off because more time is lost by replacing the gaskets while the engine is in than completely removing the engine and replacing the gaskets.
These engines are quite compact and will require some skill in order to do this work while the engine is in the car. But, here is a video of how this work is done on an engine inside of the car.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Cost
When it comes to the Subaru head gasket replacement cost, we can say that this type of work is not cheap. It might look easy after you watch a couple of videos but actually is not as easy as it seems.
There is a lot of labor involved in the work and labor costs a lot of money. If you replace one gasket, then you might expect to pay cheaper but if you replace the two gaskets it is quite expensive work.
Also, the cylinder heads need to be resurfaced. Because they are probably warped from overheating and this adds up to the cost. So, the grand total of this work is between $2,000 and $4,000.
This includes new timing belts (make sure you’re aware of when to change the timing belt), tensioners, idler pulleys, water pumps, head gaskets, machining, and also labor. So, this is why you need to be aware of Subaru and its head gaskets. They are rather expensive to fix.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Cost: In Conclusion…
In this article, we covered quite a bit when it comes to Subaru and its head gasket issues. First, we learned what is a head gasket and how it differentiates from a valve cover gasket.
Then we covered the causes of why head gasket failures, the symptoms, and the replacement process. As well as the Subaru head gasket replacement cost. Overall, it is a rather expensive process since a lot has to be done.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is A Head Gasket
A head gasket is basically a component that bonds two metal surfaces. In this case, these are the engine block and the cylinder head. The gasket is like a big sheet of metal that is placed between these two components and seals them well.
How Much Is A Head Gasket
A head gasket is rather cheap, it will probably not going to cost you more than $50 per piece. What is expensive though is the labor. The engine head and timing belt or chain have to come off and the engine has to be resurfaced if warped. And this can cost a lot of money $1,200 minimum.
What Causes Head Gasket To Fail
There are a couple of factors in play. But the most common cause is bad quality gaskets or engine that tends to overheat. Like the Subaru engines are. They are designed in such a way as to overheat a lot more frequently than other engines.
How To Fix A Blown Head Gasket
The first thing is that the timing cover has to be removed and the timing belt or chain removed. Then the valve cover has to come off, and the cylinder head as well. Then the cylinder head needs to be refinished and everything to be put back together.
How Long Does It Take To Replace Head Gasket
Between 6 and 12 hours. Depending on the skill of the technician. Replacing these components is rather an expensive thing because a lot has to be done. And in most cases, this is not done in a single day. It might take a couple of days for the heads to be refinished and everything to be put back together.
Are Subarus Expensive To Fix
Yes, they tend to be on the more expensive side. They like to overheat, burn oil, burn coolant, and whatnot. So, they can become a real headache for the owner.