Looking for advice….P0301, rough idle at start, head gasket leak



Sorry for the strange title. I’m looking for advice on what to do next.

2009 2.5i with 165k (I’ve owned it since 2014 at ~70k)

I know I’ve had an oil leak for about a year. I can smell burning oil if I idle too long. Local mechanic said it’s the head gasket. I believe this is common in this gen engine. I notice it’s down about a quart around 2k miles. I also suspect I have a small coolant leak (or possibly burning?).

Last week P0301 popped up. I replaced the ignition coil. Didn’t resolve the issue. I thought it did, but then as it warmed up (I drove it about 15 min), it ran rougher and rougher and then stalled at a traffic light. Wouldn’t start (would start then stall right away). 1.5 hours later, after towing it to the mechanic, it started but still ran rough at idle. No engine code. Mechanic checked a few things and threw on a used ignition coil. Said the new coil was faulty. I drove it home yesterday afternoon with no problems. Last night it started rough but then settled down after reving it. After driving it about 20 minutes, it gave me P0301 again. I drove it home without incident.

I’m suspecting coolant in the cylinder, but that’s a guess not based on any inspections I’ve done. I don’t have the time right now to look into this myself unless it’s quick things that aren’t invasive. I know this isn’t a whole lot of information to make a decision off of, but what should I do next? I suspect the local mechanic is done dealing with it. Should I bring it to a different mechanic/dealer and have them look it over? Check for coolant in the cylinder, cylinder compression, etc.?

Next question is if it’s the head gasket, is it worth replacing/rebuilding? I love the car, but don’t want this to become a money pit.

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