Subaru Head Gaskets

Subaru cylinder head

Subaru cylinder head

Head gaskets are probably one of the most talked about issues with Subarus at this time. If you want to burn up hours, just Google “Subaru Head Gaskets” & be prepared to get barraged by blogs, web sites, & a bunch of stuff (some good & some not so good). Bottom line is; Subaru head gasket repair is not cheap if done right, but could cost you an engine if left ignored. NOT ALL Subarus need this repair. Even for the ones that do, not all need it done right away, some can wait. The need for this repair is due to an external leakage of either oil or coolant. Coolant loss has more potential to be an engine killer due to overheating. Overheating is the most common root cause of Subaru engine failure. Oil leaks from head gaskets happen slow enough that in most cases it’s not enough for the engine to fail due to loss of oil pressure. Neither one of these leaks usually leave big puddles under the car, but the coolant leak is the one to worry most about. The coolant loss doesn’t have to be very much to create an “air lock” within the cooling system. This “air lock” doesn’t allow what coolant that is left in the system to circulate, hence the overheating issue. The location of the temp sender is in an area that is the first to go without coolant when the system is low and it usually happens so slow, the customer never sees a puddle, and doesn’t notice the gauge rising on the dash until it’s too late.


Not every Subaru has this issue. Of the ones that do, it’s something that if monitored can be planned for & then done right. Subaru has done a couple of updates to their gasket, but some still have problems. Alternative AutoWorx has found a aftermarket gasket that was designed by a company that builds these type of parts for NASCAR. The original gasket is a single layer gasket & the replacement we use is what is know as a MLS (Multi-layer-steel) gasket. This enables the gasket to withstand the expansion & contraction of the extreme temperature variations an engine goes through. We believe this is the secret to doing this job ONCE in the engine’s lifetime.

If you’ve had this diagnosis given to your Subie, let us check it out at no charge. We’ll inspect your car, and explain how we would approach this issue, & then you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.

Joel & the crew

Why use a “Six Star” Subaru head gasket?

Six Star Head Gasket

This is a picture of the “Six Star” head gasket we use when we do Subaru head gasket repairs. It is known in the industry as a “MLS gasket” (Multi-Layer-Steel). Its multiple layers aid in the expansion & contraction characteristics that happen when a Subaru’s engine goes through the extreme temperature differences involved in its day to day life. Its coating is superior to that of the factory head gaskets, which is just one more reason to upgrade.

Factory Head Gasket

This is a factory Subaru head gasket. Notice the black coating and its deteriorating condition. This coatings job is to seal the oil and coolant from leaking and/or mixing together. This head gaskets coatings failure is the main reason for head gasket failure in the 2000 & later model Subarus.

Photos of Subaru cylinder head and resurfacing

Cylinder head undergoing resurfacing

This Subaru’s cylinder head is undergoing resurfacing. Having this surface COMPLETELY flat and clean is key to doing the repair only ONCE in an engine’s lifetime.

Mill used to resurface the cylinder

This is the mill used to resurface Subarus’ cylinder heads. We can remove as little as the thickness of a sheet of paper. We do our own machining in house to control the quality of the machining done and minimize the down time of your Subaru.

Removed cylinder head

This is what a Subaru engine block looks like after the cylinder head has been removed. This surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned & checked for warpage and/or damage before the cylinder head is reinstalled.