2001 subaru outback shakes when breaks are applied, smell oil from motor

Asked by Feb 19, 2016 at 05:36 AM about the 2001 Subaru Outback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2001 Subaru outback 189,000 miles on her. When I am driving and apply the brakes the front end starts to grind and shimmy...also there is a faint smell of burning oil coming from the engine when driven after a mile or so. What could be the potential problems and approximate cost to repair?

5 Answers


Sound like you need a brake job on the front end, pads and rotors at least, the oil usually is a valve cover gasket needing to be replaced. All I can give you is the cost of these parts. Labor depends on who you take it to. Be right back.


Rotors are from $25 to $65 a piece, brake pads, from $20 to $60 for a set, calipers if needed go from $50 to $100 a piece, and valve cover gasket run from $20 to $60. Now the wide range in pricing is in what grade of parts you want to put on.


it could be valve cover gasket, spark plug seals (in the VC area), head gasket, or other areas dripping onto the exhaust manifold. Best bet is to remove your drip catcher (diaper) and wipe off the bottom of the engine and then after driving a bit, check it out. Front rotors could be warped. Check www.rockauto.com for the best deals IMO. Get rotors and pads.. also check if they're manual/auto specific.

If your rotors are warped and have been so for long, they may have damaged your calipers. (I had this happen on another car) If so, I very much recommend rebuilding rather than replacing. It's very easy, and the cost for new seals is easily within $10.


Brakes: front rotors (and pads) indeed needed. Easy. Oil smell: In order of prevalence for 2001-2009 OBs: 1. blown axle DOJ boot spews grease onto exhaust; replace half- axle 2. right side head gasket leak (ouch! $1600) 3. right side VVT oil pressure switch leaks, dripping down to exhaust too ($15...phew!) 4. valve cover gasket leaks tend to NOT get smelly, but can foul a plug if not cleaned up periodically; add oil stop-leak product to oil, and use only non-synth 10w oil!

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