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Thread: Subaru Dying?

  1. #1
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    Subaru Dying?

    Wife has a 2010 Outback 2.5l. 140k miles Has overheated 2x in last month or so, latest yesterday. Brought it back to garage which replaced a radiator fan last month, the diagnosis is a leaking head gasket.

    Repair estimate is around 1600 including timing belt. Our plan had been to run the car to 200k, which would be another 3 years. Mechanic made a comment to my wife that the car is on it's way out, which has freaked her out somewhat, and she is really questioning if we should repair it, vs getting rid of it.

    We've recently had brakes, tires, battery, exhaust and clutch done - within 20k miles all of them. Most of this seems to be somewhat wear and tear items - esp given we are in a salty state - Mass.

    Never had a car where the engine needed some of this sort of work, always just been peripheral stuff.

    What sayeth the Subaru fanatics? Is the mechanic out of line, or might he be onto something?

  2. #2
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    IMO, your mechanic is overly pessimistic.

    We were in a similar boat with our old Jetta, numerous stuff started going wrong in a 2-year span. I asked my mechanic his opinion of it all and his response was, "all parts have a certain design life and your 2001 is as a point where those things just need replaced - although I'm seeing lots of other 2001s with the same problems, the cars themselves are fine and you won't have these problems again for another 10 years".

    Those older Subies are known to have head gasket problems. Every, and I mean EVERY, owner of that era of Suby in this Suby-loving town has the same story. Head gaskets went bad, fixed the problem, and continue to flog the cars to this day.

  3. #3
    pmf
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    That's a hard call to make. It's not real old yet. Sounds like you drive it a lot. On the highway? Have you replaced the timing belt? You start putting money into an old car and it gets harder and harder to stop. You've already spent thousands on it, right? So what's $1600 more? I had a Volvo wagon a few years ago that was 14 years old, but low miles. Over the last two years, I kept putting money into it, planning to drive it forever. Suddenly, something related to the throttle went and I was looking at a $1700 repair. At that point, I decided the hell with this thing and bought an Acura MDX that was coming off a lease. I really regret replacing the timing belt in that thing the year before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nodima View Post
    Wife has a 2010 Outback 2.5l. 140k miles Has overheated 2x in last month or so, latest yesterday. Brought it back to garage which replaced a radiator fan last month, the diagnosis is a leaking head gasket.

    Repair estimate is around 1600 including timing belt. Our plan had been to run the car to 200k, which would be another 3 years. Mechanic made a comment to my wife that the car is on it's way out, which has freaked her out somewhat, and she is really questioning if we should repair it, vs getting rid of it.

    We've recently had brakes, tires, battery, exhaust and clutch done - within 20k miles all of them. Most of this seems to be somewhat wear and tear items - esp given we are in a salty state - Mass.

    Never had a car where the engine needed some of this sort of work, always just been peripheral stuff.

    What sayeth the Subaru fanatics? Is the mechanic out of line, or might he be onto something?
    There is a tipping point with every car where things are going to go downhill and you have to make the call. The other issue is it will to be difficult to sell the car with this problem. If the car is otherwise in good shape I personally would take a chance on the repair and choke 3 more years out of it. Good luck

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nodima View Post
    Wife has a 2010 Outback 2.5l.
    Repair estimate is around 1600 including timing belt.

    We've recently had brakes, tires, battery, exhaust and clutch done - within 20k miles all of them. Most of this seems to be somewhat wear and tear items - esp given we are in a salty state - Mass.
    things really adding there, to about what the car is worth. Taking up your time for service appoitnments and salt starting to works its evil magic. time fix the head gasket and sell for a new/newish car i think.


    but it depends on you. personally I am too old to be living with a car falling apart around me, needing repairs over and over. when I was young it made sense as my time was cheap then
    Faith is pretending to know things you don't know

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    There is a known issue with those boxer engines and their head gaskets. I'm guessing you are still on the original one. There have been ones that failed after 20 to 30k miles. Once you get it fixed, it should be okay, but at that kind of mileage, it will not be a warranty.

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    "the diagnosis is a leaking head gasket." Subies eat head gaskets like Tic Tacs. Buy a Honda or Toyota if you want 200K with just oil, tires and battery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ljvb View Post
    There is a known issue with those boxer engines and their head gaskets. I'm guessing you are still on the original one. There have been ones that failed after 20 to 30k miles. Once you get it fixed, it should be okay, but at that kind of mileage, it will not be a warranty.
    True on both counts. Regardless we are fixing it. The decision is what to do afterwards, and how much longer to run it - wife has a 25mi commute each way, and is not exactly keen on breaking down for some reason.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notvintage View Post
    "the diagnosis is a leaking head gasket." Subies eat head gaskets like Tic Tacs. Buy a Honda or Toyota if you want 200K with just oil, tires and battery.
    Man, you guys have some bad luck. My '05 Outback has 201K with no head gasket issues. (Hope I'm not jinxing myself) Even at this point I'd drop $1200 for a head gasket in a second. Been the most reliable car I've ever had.

  10. #10
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    It was earlier Outback models that had the defective head gasket issue. A 2010 will not share that particular defect, though any boxer engine can suffer from head gasket problems - especially aluminum block ones that have been run while overheating.

    Here is a very good article about the issue, by an expert on the matter:

    https://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru...ems-explained/

    My personal '97 Outback was purchased from a local Subaru guru who bought it from a fellow who tried to replace the head gaskets himself. He failed to check the timing, and so bent the valves. My mechanic then replaced the timing belt, valves and head gasket and sold it to me as my old Loyale wagon was showing its age at 350,000 miles. The Outback now has 256,000 miles and I hope to keep it going until I reach 400,000. It helps to have a trustworthy mechanic who will do the job right and not take you to the cleaners.
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    Sounds like your wife is making too much of an off the cuff that may or may not have much meaning to it.

    As the mechanic exactly what he meant by "car is on it's way out". It could mean a lot, or it could be a comment made in passing without much thought. Either way I wouldn't base any decision based on a random comment that you don't know the meaning behind.

  12. #12
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    Since you live in MA, the big question is: How much rust do you have?
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  13. #13
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    They have excellent resale and trade in value.
    Last edited by Eretz; 05-12-2018 at 03:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradkay View Post
    It was earlier Outback models that had the defective head gasket issue. A 2010 will not share that particular defect, though any boxer engine can suffer from head gasket problems - especially aluminum block ones that have been run while overheating.
    Well yes and no. Mostly all the Subaru boxer engines, with some exceptions, had head gasket leaking issues, up to about the FB25 engine. That engine had it's own early issues with excessive oil consumption. I think the FB25 went into the '11 Forester and '12 OB.

    Thus it's pretty normal to read of HG issues like this. I had it on a '01 Forester and a '03 OB. My wifes '11 Impreza seems to not have an engine with this issue, nor does my '17 OB.

    140,000 is a tough mileage breaking point. $1600 for a HG service is pretty cheap, I was quoted much higher (metro NYC area), so given other factors, especially rust, it might be worth doing. When my '03 OB hit 140,000 it needed a radiator, AC compressor, one of it's catalytic converters as well as a HG job, totalling well over $5,000. I opted to get rid of it.

  15. #15
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    In today's world, 140,000 miles is half of its service life in many automobiles.
    Last edited by Eretz; 05-12-2018 at 03:59 AM.
    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
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  16. #16
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    If you go ahead and fix it it'll cost about what, 3 normal monthly payments for a new vehicle? Not sure of your vehicle plans financially, but if you're saving for another vehicle I'd pay the $1,200 and keep driving it, and keep saving for the next one. The downside is if there's another expensive repair that hits you in the next couple of years, but you're still saving money over time by driving it (assuming it's paid off).
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    If you go ahead and fix it it'll cost about what, 3 normal monthly payments for a new vehicle? Not sure of your vehicle plans financially, but if you're saving for another vehicle I'd pay the $1,200 and keep driving it, and keep saving for the next one. The downside is if there's another expensive repair that hits you in the next couple of years, but you're still saving money over time by driving it (assuming it's paid off).
    ^This.

    I've never understood the logic of buying a new car just because the old one needs some maintenance. A new Outback will run $500+ per month for the next five years. That's $6K per year. There's no way in h3!! your 2010 will require half that much in maintenance over the same time. You just did a bunch of work that will be good for a while. Do the HG and TB and that will be solid for another 100K. Cars parts wear out. Some more quickly than others. It's lasted 140K, so you don't have a lemon. Stay on top of the maintenance and drive the piss out of it.

    My last car was a 2005 Civic. Beside a few door dings, it was in excellent shape with almost 150K miles. A few months ago my niece needed a cheap car so I sold it to her for next to nothing. I got myself a CPO 2015 Outback. Love it. I imagine I'll have it for quite a while. My pops once said (more than once, actually), take care of your care and your car will take care of you. It's worked so far.

  18. #18
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    Fix it. SUBARUs are very reliable. Like all cars, they have issues. I had a 2011 Outback that I traded in late 2005, Drove for 5 yrs and 68K and did nothing but routine all oil changes, and tire rotation, that's it.
    I only got rid of it as it got a little scratched up and I get bored after 5 years with a car. But besides a leaky in the 3rd light due to a gasket, that thing was perfect. Sure 62K is nothing on that engine, but I has a HONDA and seen TOYOTAs that need more work in less time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notvintage View Post
    Buy a Honda or Toyota if you want 200K with just oil, tires and battery.
    That should probably be Toyota only if you don't plan to change the timing belt.

    AGCO Automotive Repair Service - Baton Rouge, LA - List Of Interference Engines

  20. #20
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    Another vote for fixing--for the reasons already mentioned.

    On certain cars (like Subies) head gaskets are a wear item.
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  21. #21
    Eddy 53:11
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    I vote to fix especially since you put some $$ into her.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrac View Post
    That should probably be Toyota only if you don't plan to change the timing belt.

    AGCO Automotive Repair Service - Baton Rouge, LA - List Of Interference Engines
    Most RECENT Toyota motors now use timing chains, so........
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrac View Post
    That should probably be Toyota only if you don't plan to change the timing belt.

    AGCO Automotive Repair Service - Baton Rouge, LA - List Of Interference Engines
    I had the timing belt of my '87 Mitsubishi Mighty Max pickup snap suddenly as I was driving down the highway. I was able to coast to the shoulder. Fortunately if was a non-interference type engine

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    If you go ahead and fix it it'll cost about what, 3 normal monthly payments for a new vehicle? Not sure of your vehicle plans financially, but if you're saving for another vehicle I'd pay the $1,200 and keep driving it, and keep saving for the next one. The downside is if there's another expensive repair that hits you in the next couple of years, but you're still saving money over time by driving it (assuming it's paid off).
    i think only the crosstrek can be had for $400 a month. Everything else will be a bit more.

    Im part of the drive it till the wheels fall off crowd, then repair and keep driving.
    If you don't follow the liberal flock, you are called a troll.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrasmak View Post
    i think only the crosstrek can be had for $400 a month. Everything else will be a bit more.

    Im part of the drive it till the wheels fall off crowd, then repair and keep driving.
    That was just a figure I threw out there...
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

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