Head Gasket Symptoms in a Subaru

by Tony Thorson
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A Subaru's head gasket can wear through or even crack, causing loss of power, fuel efficiency or engine failure. The head gasket must be replaced as soon as possible to minimize any damage. Early detection is vital. There are signs to look for that will point to a blown head gasket.


When a head gasket is cracked or malfunctioning, coolant can leak. Without the proper level of coolant, the engine will quickly overheat. If an engine overheats as a result of another problem, such as a radiator leak, it can warp the heads, causing the gasket to malfunction, crack or leak.

White Smoke

White smoke coming from the exhaust is a sign that the head gasket is not functioning properly. This indicates that coolant is entering the cylinder, and the heat from the piston firing is creating steam, which exits through the exhaust.

Beige-colored Oil

The head gasket creates a barrier that allows oil to move above the gasket and coolant to flow below. When the gasket is cracked or has a hole in it, the oil can mix with the coolant. The oil in the system will turn to a light brown, viscous substance. Over time this will become more pronounced and thicker, causing the engine to work harder. Eventually, the sludge will be too thick to be pumped up into the engine, and the engine will seize.

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