I have a 2009 Outback (191,000 miles) and just got word that my head gasket(s) is leaking. :frown2: A local automotive repair shop is telling me it is better to replace with rebuilt engine. Any suggestions?
Well, it depends on their labor rates, availability of a better engine, etc. Most shops pull the engine out to change the headgaskets, and many would just rather put in a better low mileage engine while it’s out, instead of messing with the heads/gaskets. If they pull the heads, they should send heads to a machine shop to have them checked out, clean the surfaces properly, carefully torque all the bolts, put new timing belt on it, etc. it’s a lot more work and potential mistakes for them, to still end up with an engine that has 191k miles on the bottom end of it (crank/bearings/piston rings). A much lower mileage replacement engine may come out to be a safer option.
Another factor you should consider: What is your experience with this engine? Have you had it since new, or at least for a long time? With some reasonable history, you should have at least a sense of how dependable in may be, based upon past experiences.
And FWIW if this is the first time for the head gaskets leaking, I'd say you're doing pretty well with it. Most of us - me included - had head gaskets replaced about 100k miles ago compared to your miles.
And finally - should you decide to repair it, price out a timing belt service with the shop. If the engine is out, it's silly at 191k not to do it a bit early. When I had mine repaired, the shop doing the work charged only for parts, given the labor to remove and reinstall the TB system was already included in the head gasket replacements.