My 2001 Subaru Outback needs a new head gasket. It's my first car and I love it but when I took it to my mechanic, who my family and I have trusted for over 15 years, they said it was a $1200-$1500 repair. I trust them to work on it and I trust them on an honest price, but I was wondering if it would be worth it to put that type of money into the car. It has 155k miles on it and I've already put over $700 into it. Is it worth it to put the money into it or to sell it and get a new car? I'm tight on money so it would be a while to fix it or I'd buy a new one with the money I used to sell on it and the little I have saved

Asked by Apr 20, 2018 at 12:16 PM about the 2001 Subaru Outback Base Wagon

Question type: General

4 Answers


Selling your car with a bad head gasket will only net you a couple hundred bucks at best. Factor that and the condition of the rest of the car when making your decision.


2000-2004 OBs suffer from terminal unibody rot at the rear quarter panels and their rocker body terminations. But if the unibody is clean, 17 year old 4EAT tranny is also apt to have severely shrunken inner seals, too. The risk is just too high that you'd spend $1.5k on HGs and then have trouble launching from D or R because the seals are worn out, as that would be another $1-1.5k critical repair. You might ask if it's safer to just install a whole used motor and trans together from a newer specimen, but then you'd get into swapping computers and harnesses too. So first things first: Is it leaking coolant (left side) or oil (usually right side first)? How much? If just oil...and barely touching the ground but causing a smokey mess on the cat conv try swapping to 20w50 thicker oil to see how much you can slow the leak. If coolant there is NO "soft" remedy except to carry extra coolant with you and NEVER let the expansion tank go dry, as any overheating will open up that leak more. Many folks limp along on the last year of their old 2000-2009 (even!) Subies by simply attending to their HG bleeds. BUT do not think you'll make this first chariot a source of pride...there's no garage queen here without LOTS of cash spent on an aged-out unibody. If you could send me pics of the rear quarters and leaks from underneath that'd help. Good luck...and watch your young wallet!


No rust issues in Southern California...if you live in an area with no could conceivably fix the car and use it as basic transportation....less expensive than a newer car....then again, it's all about condition... If you can afford a late model ... sure, go for it... but, you're likely to spend more in sales tax for the new car than you would on the repair of the head gaskets...all the other stuff is just a question of 20 year old Honda had the original transmission when I sold it and it was fine.... good luck.


See if they’ll do both for around that price with a new timing belt kit.

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