Why Subaru Head Gasket Failures Are Not Getting Recalled – What You Need to Know

Subaru has been a well-known brand for its reliability and practicality. However, in recent years, many Subaru owners have been facing a major issue with their vehicles – head gasket failure. Despite the severity of this problem, there have been no formal recalls from Subaru on this matter. This raises the question – why Subaru head gasket failures are not getting recalled? In this article, we will explore the possible reasons behind this and provide information on how to prevent it.

What is a Head Gasket Failure?

Understanding head gasket failure is important to know why it’s a serious issue for Subaru owners. The head gasket is a vital component of an engine as it seals the combustion chamber, ensuring that the engine oil and coolant do not mix. When the head gasket fails, it can cause engine overheating, coolant leaks, and sometimes even engine hydro-locking. All of these issues can cause severe engine damage and potentially lead to engine failure.

Why are there no Recalls?

One of the possible reasons behind the lack of recalls on Subaru head gasket failures is the financial implications. Recalls can be very expensive for a company, especially in instances where there are millions of vehicles involved. It’s also possible that the cost of a recall for head gasket failure is not worth it for Subaru, especially if the issue isn’t happening in a significant number of vehicles.

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Another reason could be related to the technical difficulties surrounding head gasket failure. The issue is often unpredictable and can vary in its severity. It can also be challenging to identify the specific cause of the failure. This makes it difficult for Subaru to issue a recall as it’s often hard to determine which vehicles may be at risk.

Lastly, there are legal responsibilities associated with recalls that companies need to consider. A vehicle recall can be seen as an admission of guilt for manufacturing faults, which can make the company vulnerable to lawsuits and damage their reputation. Without formal recalls, Subaru can avoid this while still addressing the issue on a case-by-case basis, helping to reduce financial and legal liabilities.

How to Identify if Your Subaru is at Risk

It’s estimated that head gasket failures are more common in Subaru models produced between 1999 and 2010. However, it’s important to note that this issue can still occur in newer models. Some signs that may indicate head gasket failure include:

  • Overheating engine
  • Coolant leaks
  • Misfires or reduced engine performance
  • Milky oil or white smoke coming from the exhaust

If you notice any of these symptoms in your vehicle, it’s crucial to take it into a certified Subaru mechanic as soon as possible to determine the cause of the issue.

Preventing Head Gasket Failure

Prevention is always better than cure, and this is especially true when it comes to head gasket failure. Regular maintenance, including oil changes and coolant flushes, can help to prolong the life of your engine’s head gasket. Avoiding overheating, through proper driving techniques and adding a high-quality coolant, can also prevent damage to the head gasket.

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Q: Should I avoid buying a Subaru due to the head gasket failure issue?

A: No, Subaru remains a reliable brand with a strong reputation. While head gasket failure is a serious issue, it’s important to note that it doesn’t affect every Subaru vehicle. If you’re considering buying a Subaru, it’s essential to do your research and get a thorough inspection from a certified mechanic before making a purchase.

Q: Is it safe to continue driving a Subaru with a failing head gasket?

A: No, driving with a failing head gasket can cause severe engine damage and potentially lead to engine failure. If you notice any signs of head gasket failure, it’s crucial to take your vehicle to a certified Subaru mechanic as soon as possible.

Q: Should I consider selling my Subaru if it has a failing head gasket?

A: Selling a Subaru with a failing head gasket can be difficult as potential buyers may have concerns about the vehicle’s reliability and safety. However, repairing the head gasket issue can be costly, and it’s up to the individual owner to decide whether to fix the issue or sell the vehicle.


Subaru head gasket failure is a serious issue that Subaru owners need to be aware of. While the lack of recalls on this matter may seem concerning, the reasons behind them can be understandable. By understanding the issue and its possible causes, owners can take steps to prevent head gasket failure in their vehicles and prolong their engine’s life. If you notice any signs of head gasket failure, it’s essential to seek professional help from a certified Subaru mechanic to address the issue effectively.

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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