Boy, doesn’t Subaru make the best performing all-wheel drive cars?! We think they do!
We also know they require specific maintenance in order to serve drivers over the long haul.
Subaru external head gasket leaks One of the most frustrating issues for Subaru owners is the leaking head gasket. Luckily on the 2.5 SOHC (Single OverHead Cam), this problem generally appears as an external leak. This means oil and coolant do not seep into the combustion chamber ruining the engine. Of the head-gasket failure types out there, this is a good one to have.
The head gasket leak explained Vehicle engines heat and cool every time they are used—so two or ten times a day depending on your driving habits—the engine is expanding and contracting. These Subaru motors are made of aluminum, which grows and shrinks a lot compared to other metals commonly used in engine manufacture. In addition to being aluminum, these motors are wide, which means the distance covered by expansion and contraction is exaggerated.
What is a “head gasket” The term “gasket” refers to a material sandwiched between two or more metal sections of the motor, which seals fluids inside. The expansion and contraction process works at this seal causing it to fail, allowing fluids to leak between the two cast sections, escaping the motor’s envelope.
The extreme temperatures of Interior Alaska accentuate problems associated with engine heating and cooling. When the vehicle sits outside during the winter, the engine metal can reach temperatures of -40F. When an engine this cold is heated, it can undergo such extreme shrinking and growing that this movement actually cracks or fractures the gasket material.
Cylinder head flaws As part of resealing the motor following a head gasket failure, we thoroughly inspect the heads for damage. We have discovered that Subaru cylinder heads have some design flaws. About 30% of these heads fail prematurely due to poor engineering. Over time, some of the valve guides drift and eventually cause a misfire.
When we reseal the motor we are able to successfully address inherent design flaws. This results in a confident and successful repair.
Mess and risk As a result of head gasket failure, oil and coolant leak onto the the vehicle’s exhaust system, producing unpleasant odors and smoke. They also drip on the ground polluting roads and parking lots as well as leave a mess on the garage floor. This is annoying, but what many people discover too late is that these external leaks lead to running out of oil and coolant which does ruin the engine! In other words, you can usually live with the problem but there are risks.
Our customers deal with head gasket leaks in a variety of ways, depending on their habits and capabilities. It is possible to carefully monitor and maintain fluid levels in vehicles with head gasket leaks. This depends entirely on the severity of the leak, the driver’s commuting habits and vigilance at maintaining healthy fluid levels for the engine.
The gasket solved For most Subaru owners, it is not practical to live with a head gasket leak. We are so happy to have found a sure and economical solution to the head gasket failure. You CAN have your Subaru and drive it too!
The solution is a midlife renewal of the motor. Between 90,000-120,000 miles, Subarus enter a standard maintenance interval: The timing belt, water pump, tune up, and other wear parts on the motor (clutch, if equipped) are scheduled for replacement. When combined with the head gasket repair, the maintenance interval service essentially captures the labor on the head gasket repair. The bill is reasonable and your car is good for another 100,000 miles!
We have a great record We have done more of these repairs than any shop in Fairbanks and the results are in—they are uniformly lasting repairs! We are approaching 2000 Subaru head gasket repairs.
We have found a systematic approach to solving an array of challenges that face the dynamism of Subaru’s boxer motors. Through refinement of this process, (and re-engineered aftermarket gaskets) we provide the most thorough and affordable Subaru head gasket repair in Alaska.
If your Subaru is approaching 90K or your oil and coolant levels are consistently low, come see us for a quick inspection to determine whether or not it’s time to reseal the motor. It’s a nearly inevitable part of owning a Subaru, but well worth it! They are so nice to drive.