Should the head gasket have failed on my mother's 2004 Subaru Impreza 2.0 GX?

My mother's 2004 Subaru Impreza 2.0 GX was serviced on 7 May 2010 this year. On 19 July 2010 we broke down on the motorway, which resulted in a bill for £1825.34. The garage found that the head gasket had failed and needed replacing. This vehicle has been serviced every year since my mother had the car. I was shocked at what had happened, not to mention appalled when I received the estimate. Do you consider this to be something that could be expected with a vehicle of this age? Whilst writing, the same garage has offered her £3000 for the vehicle which has 50,000 miles on the clock. I would be extremely grateful to receive any comments that you may have.

Asked on 3 August 2010 by Sally Edmondson

Answered by Honest John
Yes, head gasket failure could occur on a six-year-old car and its imminence would not necessarily have been picked up at a routine service unless the gaskets were actually leaking at the time. Trade price for the car in good condition is £4000, so under the circumstances the offer of £3000 is fair.
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