Average repair cost on head gasket leak

Asked by Jul 13, 2014 at 03:14 PM about the 2001 Subaru Forester L

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

'01 Subaru Forester, 200K orig. miles, AWD.........body in exc. shape.  Is it worth fixing?

15 Answers


Upwards of $1500. That's about what my supervisor paid, at the dealer to have his done, two years ago. Personally, on a 13 year old vehicle with 200,000 miles on it, I wouldn't fix it. HTH. -Jim

5 people found this helpful.

If you go through the dealer it's going to be more expensive than a private shop. Depending on your location it could be $1200-$2000. If the work is done right there's no reason not to have it done, you can expect many more years and miles out of that Subaru if you take care of it.

15 people found this helpful.

Both of my 03 & 04 are at 170 and 180 and I plan to keep them as long as possible. On top of what Nick just said, You should go ahead and have the oil pump resealed or replaced, water pump replaced, timing belt and gears (complete) replaced (probably replace the tensioner as well) - the interval is 105k miles for the timing belt. And replace as many of those oil seals as possible, cam (if present?) and spark plug seals, crank seal on the front. I've read to leave the rear seal alone if it is okay but that you'd have to verify. Good luck and I hope you repair it and enjoy your forester for a while longer

14 people found this helpful.

Just had my head gasket replaced on my '00 which only has 80K miles on it due to my mother-in-law hardly driving it at all before she couldn't drive it at all due to dementia. The whole job cost $2400 at Meineke, where my BF knows the manager. IMHO, they replaced LOTS of other things at the same time, but my knowledge of the car is minimal and BF didn't seem to think it was outrageous. Radiator was losing fluid and almost went dry on us, so it was def time. When the engine gets hot it still stinks like burning oil, possibly due to all the stuff they had to drain out of it getting all over. Considered using engine cleaner on the advice of a friend (who said she'd do it for me!), but other friends said it it's not worth it as Forresters are notorious leakers of fluids. Anyone have experience with this?

8 people found this helpful.

98-02 had a weak head gasket design for the forester. 03 they changed the design. I'm not sure how long til that oil will burn off or if it ever will. I would just search on the SF forum or NASIOC for cleaning it, etc. Meineke has decent overhead to pay for and depending on what all was done, I'd say that's probably a decent price. How long of a warranty do they give for the job they did?

4 people found this helpful.

Do it yourself for about $500.00 for parts. Get the six star or other MLS gasket or risk doing the same job a couple of years down the road. Yes, it is worth it! The symmetrical AWD system the Subaru is second to none. I did this with engine in car - a little cramped on the sides but doable.

10 people found this helpful.

I've figured out (or at least 95% positive) that my oil leak on my 04 is not from the cylinder heads but from that plastic seal / separator plate that's on the back of the engine and hidden from view. http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-seperator-plate- explained/ And www.rockauto.com has that plate in steel for like 16.50 under "oil cooler line" part # 917034

3 people found this helpful.

From 1999-2000 Subaru had problems with the head gaskets. Was told by the dealer that Japan had to make a certain percentage of the car BIO-DEGRADABLE! So they made the gaskets biodegradable. When they replace them they obviously use steel now so that will last. Would definitely get the gasket replaced as soon as they require it. Our dealer is going to try to replace the gasket with the timing belt so we can save $600. If you do the gasket separate it is about $1700....the timing belt alone is $1300....so done together you save $600. If you have that option would recommend it.

5 people found this helpful.

My 2009 Subaru Forester has a weeping head gasket. The service people at the dealer said it will be $2600 to repair it. This seem to be too high of a charge by a Grand. Live in Puyallup, WA.

6 people found this helpful.

well, yeah.. "DEALER" explains some of that. There are also price differences per region. Do you know of any quality mechanics around your area that work on subarus or imports in general? You might also wipe it clean and watch it and definitely keep an eye on your oil level.

2 people found this helpful.

my 2010 forester is being quoted at $1750.00 USD. I called Subaru Corporate and explained I bought the car used from a Subaru Dealership, have put 20k miles on it and now this is needed. They are covering 750.00 of the repair and I am responsible for the rest. Can't beat that kind of customer service.

2 people found this helpful.

only 20k on the car? Hope you aren't thinking it's an investment. Honestly that might be part of the problem with your HG's going. Glad they helped you out. I'd go ahead and grab a gates timing belt kit and have that changed while you're in there. Maybe even iridium plugs.


I don’t know what you mean by “hope you aren’t thinking it’s an investment “ Timing belt and plugs were done at 100,000 miles and car now has 110,000 on it.


My fault.. missed the "used" part. I thought you had a 2010 with only 20k miles. Seemed extreme and my point was that you wouldn't get much more later down the road compared to higher miles, yata yata. Glad they helped you out.

1 people found this helpful.

Definitely helpful

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