Help, please. $2700.00 for new head gasket '09 Subaru?

Asked by Mar 05, 2017 at 02:39 PM about the 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5 X Premium

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I am a single female (formerly a Subaru lover) this is my 3rd used Forester.  I
live in the country and work in the city and care for my mom with Alzheimer's.
I have to have a reliable vehicle and I don't have any extra money. Is it smart to
spend 2700.00 on a new head gasket for a 2009 Subaru Forester with 122,000
miles? I have no guidance in this situation.
Thank you for your help. mm

17 Answers


OMG, Half of $2700 is more than enough.

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The dealer gave me that estimate and a reputable mechanic said 2300.00 but that he would not recommend it. I really don't know what to do and feeling pretty despondent. Not many people even fix head gaskets around here. especially in Subarus.


At those prices I would look at a crate engine, or a good used engine and then get rid of it. I never did work on Subaru's they just seemed too fragile too me to make any kind of lasting repairs.

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I second the crate engine if you really like the car. Plus taking apart could reveal other issues along with head gasket issues seem to always come back again and again, after you paid big money to fix.

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Forgive my stupidity. What is a crate engine? How do I find someone who fixes these things? And should I try and find a "rebuilt" engine myself online or count on the mechanic to find it? Do they mark up what they find? I am close to having a panic attack.

Oh _ I am guessing now that it means NEW in the crate.


Yes either from the dealership or factory parts dealer/stores or from a company that sells engines built by them, Look online for those or buy a magazine with Subaru's highlighted on cover. Crate motors come in many forms long or short blocks or turn key, Short means block complete only, long means heads & block too & turn key has accessories and are tested and some have had the break in procedure. From the Dealership means new, Factory parts sellers may have new but also refurbished (stock), which means if a part was good then its not replaced (new rings, seals , & gaskets). Crated motors from Other companies selling are rebuilt or built, Rebuilt may be built stock but bore had to be increased or not 100% stock & Built means it has high performance parts are used or built for performance not stock


Those prices are crazy. Where do you live? I estimate it should cost $1300-$1800.

I live in White Bluff TN - rural area near Nashville. I had to go to the Subaru dealership in Franklin TN - an hour away because the one in Nashville is SO BAD they got 2 stars. Franklin is a pricey area. But the recommended mechanic est. came in at only 400.00 less and he is in Nashville in a normal area. Everyone else I asked said they don't do Head Gaskets.

Enginecreator -Wow! that hurts my brain to try and understand. How would I ever know what to trust? or who?


Sometimes it hurts to say too.


Easiest to do is trade it in on another car.


Without seeing the estimate it is not entirely fair to call this a rip off as they may have included other things you engine needs but with the information given the price is highway robbery.

They didn't give me an estimate on paper. They told me over the phone I needed a new head gasket and it would be 2700.00. I asked if there was anything I could do to save - like used parts or something and he said specifically the parts were only about 25.00 new but the labor was 139.00 per hr and it took 16 hrs. Then I read online if I am going to do this I should use better head gaskets that actually cost a lot more. Since I don't have much money- I'm afraid I may have to switch to something that won't feel solid to me after 3 Subarus & a Grand Cherokee) Like a Hyundai Sante Fe? or one of those Kia small SUV...What are your thoughts on these other brands considering the years of HG and oil consumption problems with Subaru?


If you going to buy a used car stay away from Kia,Hyundai,Mitsubishi as they are on the do not buy used list as well as anything European, Honda, Toyota, and certain Mazdas are ok, but as with any used car have it gone over before buying it.

That is what I was afraid of. Thank you.


Going rate for this common repair in the Northeast by reputable indies is 8-10 hrs +$150-200 outside head machine shop service and $200parts. $1300 is low/wholesale, $1600 decent retail. See other threads for more details, as I'm a bit tired of repeating this info every week....

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