How to Test Subaru Legacy Head Gasket: The Ultimate Guide

Are you a Subaru Legacy owner? If yes, then you know how important it is to keep your car’s engine in excellent condition. One of the most critical components of your car’s engine is the head gasket. The head gasket plays an essential role in ensuring that the engine runs smoothly and efficiently. However, over time, the head gasket may start to deteriorate, leading to various engine problems. In this article, we will discuss how to test Subaru Legacy head gasket to ensure that your car’s engine is always in top condition.

Key Takeaways

  • A head gasket is a vital component of your car’s engine, and keeping it in good shape is crucial.
  • A leaking head gasket can cause several engine problems, including overheating and loss of power.
  • There are several ways to test a Subaru Legacy head gasket, including using a coolant system pressure tester, a block tester, and a compression tester.
  • Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent head gasket failure and ensure that your car’s engine runs smoothly.

Signs of a Bad Head Gasket

Before we dive into how to test Subaru Legacy head gasket, it’s essential to know the common signs of a bad head gasket. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Overheating engine: A leaking head gasket can cause the engine to overheat, leading to significant engine damage.
  • Loss of power: A bad head gasket can also cause a loss of power in the engine.
  • White smoke from the tailpipe: If you notice white smoke coming from the tailpipe, it could be a sign of a leaking head gasket.
  • Oil in the coolant reservoir: Oil in the coolant reservoir indicates a leak in the head gasket that allows oil to mix with coolant.
  • Coolant in the oil: Coolant in the oil is another sign of a leaking head gasket.
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If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to take your car to a mechanic for inspection immediately.

How to Test Subaru Legacy Head Gasket

Testing the head gasket of your Subaru Legacy can be done using various methods. Here are three common methods:

1. Coolant System Pressure Test

A coolant system pressure test is one of the most common ways to test a Subaru Legacy head gasket. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by ensuring that the engine is cold before proceeding.

  2. Remove the radiator cap and install a coolant system pressure tester in its place.

  3. Pump the pressure tester to the recommended pressure level, which is usually indicated on the tester.

  4. Wait for about 15-20 minutes and observe the pressure gauge. If the pressure drops, it could indicate a leaking head gasket.

  5. Check for coolant leaks under the car, and inspect the oil for coolant contamination.

2. Block Tester

A block tester is a device that checks for the presence of combustion gases in the coolant system. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Start by ensuring that the engine is cold before proceeding.

  2. Remove the radiator cap and install the block tester in its place.

  3. Start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes.

  4. Observe the block tester for signs of combustion gases. If the tester changes color or bubbles, it could indicate a leaking head gasket.

  5. Check for coolant leaks under the car, and inspect the oil for coolant contamination.

3. Compression Test

A compression test checks for leaks in the engine’s cylinders that could indicate a bad head gasket. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by ensuring that the engine is cold before proceeding.

  2. Remove all the spark plugs and disconnect the fuel pump fuse.

  3. Attach a compression tester to the first cylinder and crank the engine for about five seconds.

  4. Record the compression reading and repeat the process for all other cylinders.

  5. Compare the compression readings. If there’s a significant difference between two cylinders, it could indicate a leaking head gasket.

  6. Check for coolant leaks under the car, and inspect the oil for coolant contamination.

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How to Prevent Head Gasket Failure

Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent head gasket failure. Here are some tips to keep your Subaru Legacy’s head gasket in good condition:

  • Change the engine oil and coolant according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Check the coolant level regularly and top up as needed.
  • Avoid overheating the engine by not driving in hot weather for long periods.
  • Have the car’s cooling system inspected regularly by a professional mechanic.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long does a Subaru Legacy head gasket last?

A head gasket can last up to 200,000 miles or more with regular maintenance and care. However, various factors, such as driving conditions and engine overheating, can affect its lifespan.

  1. How much does it cost to replace a Subaru Legacy head gasket?

The cost of replacing a head gasket can vary depending on the severity of the damage and the mechanic’s labor charges. Generally, it can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more.

  1. Can I drive my Subaru Legacy with a bad head gasket?

It’s not recommended to drive your car with a bad head gasket as it can cause significant engine damage and lead to expensive repairs.

Conclusion

As a Subaru Legacy owner, keeping your car’s engine in top condition is essential to ensure its longevity and performance. Testing the head gasket regularly can help prevent engine problems and costly repairs. By following the methods discussed in this article, you can test your Subaru Legacy head gasket and ensure that it’s always in good shape. Remember to also practice regular maintenance and inspections to keep your car running smoothly for years to come.

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Joseph Weaver

With a background in engineering and a passion for cars, Joseph brings a unique perspective to our blog. He's particularly interested in the technology and innovation behind Subaru's advanced safety features, and his articles on this topic are always insightful and informative. When he's not writing, he enjoys playing video games and spending time with his family.

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