There are two reasons a blown head gasket is scary. Not only is it hard to predict (which is scary on its own), the blown head gasket repair cost for your vehicle can be very high. For starters, just finding out if you have a blown head gasket is expensive because the diagnostics needed are pretty involved. Then there’s the cost for repair and anything else that might turn up that needs fixing once you get under the hood.
Blown Head Gasket Repair Cost Additions:
- Engine Oil Change
- New Coolant
- Other New Gaskets or Belts
- Machine Work
Engine Oil Change
If you have a blown head gasket, it’s important to change your engine oil no matter how new it is. When you’ve got a blown head gasket, water will get into your oil which can lead to the break down of your oil as well as damage the bearings and other components in your engine. It’s important to get that watery oil out of your engine once you’ve got the problem fixed.
To replace your head gasket, you’ve got to drain all of the coolant from your engine. That coolant will naturally need to be replaced when you get things back together properly, but it’s still an added cost to the job.
Other New Gaskets or Belts
When you pull the motor apart to get to the head gasket (which is right in the middle of your engine), you have to remove lots of other components that have gaskets sealing in oil or coolant. Gaskets like your intake manifold gasket, valve cover gaskets, exhaust manifold gaskets, water pump seal, timing cover gaskets or camshaft seals can all be replaced. Some of these gaskets may be paper so they will tear and need to be replaced while others may be rubber and could be reused. Reusing them is risky but there is a much higher possibility of leakage with used gaskets, so even though you’ll save money now, you may end up spending more down the road. Similarly, engine belts, like serpentine belts and timing belts, have to come off during a head gasket replacement so it can be smart to install new ones during a head gasket job to save labor costs.
When your head gasket blows, it can wrap, pit or damage the metal in your cylinder head or engine block which will require machining to get straightened out. Machine work can add hundreds of dollars and a few days of time to the blown head gasket repair cost for your engine, but it’s unavoidable if your engine needs it. For a quick read on how to check your cylinder head to see if it needs to be machined once you have it removed, check out this article on checking cylinder heads for warpage.
The best thing to do if you’ve got a blown head gasket is to take your car to an experienced mechanic who can handle repairs. If the high cost of repair doesn’t make sense for your car, join me, Clark, in the garage to learn about another option you’ve got that is MUCH less expensive.
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