Ann Arbor Auto Repair Shop

Subaru Head Gasket Replacement

Subaru Head Gasket Replacement in Ann Arbor

Hoover Street Auto Repair is a Subaru service specialist in Ann Arbor MI, experienced with Subaru head gasket replacement. We repair Subaru head gasket problems so they last longer than Subaru dealer head gasket repair or independent shops who are not experienced with Subaru head gasket repair. This is a problem that needs to be fixed correctly to get maximum head gasket life, and maximum repair value.

Why Us?

This customer reviews says it all...

Brandie S. - June 1, 2021

Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Punctuality

A few weeks ago I got the dreaded news that my 2009 Subaru Forester was experiencing head gasket issues. As many Subaru owners know, this is both a pricey and frustrating diagnosis. Do I repair the parts? Or do I trade it in? After weighing my options and deciding to repair I called several mechanics in the area. Some never returned my calls, some quoted but never really worked on a Subaru's before, and all of them gave a vague explanation of the issue and possible fixes. Until I found Hoover Street Auto Repairs website. They provided in detail description of the issue, possible fixes, and within a day of submitting for a quote had a detailed response for me. Ed, answered all my questions, no matter how small. He made sure I understood everything that was going to be done and followed up with me everyday they had my car letting me know where they were at and if we were on track. The best part, I never once had to go in person. I spoke to Ed via the phone and email. I was able to drop off my car after business hours using their secure key drop box/lock box. Will definitely be coming back for future repairs.

PS. The only thing Brandie forgot to mention was that we send photos or videos of what we find wrong and progress updates so you know what needs fixing and the status of your repair work. That's just another example of the transparent and honest way we do business!


Subaru 2.5-liter engines have head gasket problems caused by poor design of the cylinder head and head gasket.

The factory Subaru head gaskets have a sealant coating that deteriorates over time and typically lasts between 80k and 120k miles. The life of the coating depends on cooling system maintenance and use of SUBARU brand cooling system conditioner. The conditioner is intended to extend the life of the head gaskets and plug small leaks as they develop.

The first symptom of leaking head gaskets is oil weeping out between the cylinder head and engine block surfaces. Over time this oil weep becomes a significant oil leak.

The second sign of head gasket failure is a coolant leak between the cylinder head and engine block surfaces. If the coolant level is not closely watched the engine can overheat and cause serious damage to the engine. If left long enough coolant can leak into the engine oil, mixing into a thick, milky gray colored milkshake consistency. This sludge quickly destroys the engine bearings and rapidly resulting in catastrophic engine failure.

With some Subaru models engine oil will get into the cooling system. This can be head gasket problem, or an internal leak in the oil cooler. First sign of this problem is milky colored coolant/oil mixture in the coolant overflow tank. A skilled Subaru mechanic will be able to diagnose the source of the problem.


Depending on how far the head gasket failure has progressed the job can be straight forward, or in worst case, require the engine be replaced.

If the head gasket replacement is done before causing serious engine damage we recommend resurfacing the cylinder head surface and using non-factory, aftermarket Fel-Pro head gaskets. They have a superior design and sealant coating and should get you another 120k miles from your Subaru.

If the coolant has contaminated the engine oil the engine bearings should be inspected to make sure they have not been damaged. Once the bearings are confirmed serviceable the cylinder block oil sump and passages will need to be cleaned of the coolant/oil sludge.


Since this is a major repair job requiring the engine to be removed from the vehicle there are a number of additional parts that should be replaced at the same time. Doing this is good value since most of these parts are worn out if your vehicle has reached +100k miles. If not replaced at this time it would require removing the engine once again to replace them.

Also, if coolant has contaminated the engine oil, or engine oil leaked into the cooling system, there are additional parts that will be damaged and need replacement or cleaning. It depends on how serious and how long the vehicle was driven after the leak started. Your repair technician will be able to advise you once they get the engine apart and do a visual inspection. Additional parts replacement recommendations are explained in more detail on the Subaru Head Gasket replacement Frequently Asked Questions page.


Here are a few tips to make your Subaru head gasket replacement less painful:

  1. Do regular coolant replacement using Subaru specified coolant and use Subaru cooling system conditioner.
  2. Monitor coolant and oil levels regularly. Once the head gaskets start leaking coolant check the fluids daily!
  3. If coolant starts to leak constantly you should get the repair done as soon as possible.
  4. If the oil color starts to change to a milky color DO NOT run the engine!
  5. Have your head gaskets replaced by an auto repair shop that is experienced with Subaru. A knowledgible shop can advise you how long you can postpone the repair job, or if it must be done immediately to prevent an even larger repair bill!

Our Subaru technicians at Hoover Street Auto Repair have put together a list of Subaru head gasket replacement frequently asked questions to help you make informed decisions about Subaru head gasket repair.

Ask us about our Subaru head gasket service. Call us at (734) 913-6272, online appointment, or request an estimate.

NOTE: The Hoover Street Auto Repair company, or its website, is in no way associated with Subaru of America, Inc..