Q: Whining noise after head gasket replacement on Subaru Impreza 2007

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I recently got the head gasket replaced on my Subaru Impreza 2007 Sedan. As soon as I picked to the car from the mechanic, I started hearing a whining noise from the front of the car. I took it back to him, and he now tells me that the power steering hose needs to be replaced.

Description of the whining noise 1. Happens when the car is cold (in the morning) or when I'm driving in the city or traffic. Basically, at low speeds and when I'm accelerating. 2. On the highways, when cruising, I barely hear it. Seems like once the car reaches a smooth drive, the nose disappears. 3. To rule out any transmission issues, I put the car in neutral, and Rev the engine. I can hear the whine even then, leading me to believe that it's not transmission related 4. I hear the whine when making turns as well, though I haven't experienced any steering issues

My questions are 1. Is it possible that the mechanic messed up when assembling my engine? 2. How common of a problem is this?

Thanks Al

My car has 110000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi Al. Let me try to answer your questions in order. First, it is always possible that a mechanic made a mistake when reassembling your engine. However, what is more probable is that whatever caused the head gasket to fail (most likely an overheating problem) probably damaged other internal engine components, typically cylinder head hardware like valve guides, valve springs and rocker arms. The problem with having most mechanics complete a head gasket repair is that they’ll simply replace the head gasket and call it good. They don’t realize that what causes the head gasket to fail is excessive heat and a build up of pressure inside the motor. Unfortunately, this type of problem happens frequently when overheating issues occur. It is possible that the power steering hose is the problem, especially since you hear it while turning. But, it could also be a serpentine belt that is not properly tightened as well.

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