BMWs are one of the most popular consumer brands of luxury cars thanks to their sleek appearance and powerful performance.
However, BMWs have some weird quirks that can make them expensive to own. One problem is the head gasket. Your BMW’s head gasket is a crucial engine component, so it needs to be replaced quickly if damaged.
On average, you can expect to pay approximately $3,200 to replace a BMW head gasket. The typical price range is between $2,900 on the low end and $3,600 on the high end. The exact price will differ depending on the specific BMW model you have, the age of your car, and your mechanic’s location.
There are several things that go into the cost of replacing a BMW head gasket. So today, we put together this comprehensive article on the costs to replace a BMW head gasket. We will discuss average costs for various BMW models and talk about the cost of replacement head gaskets.
- Cost To Replace By Model
- BMW Head Gasket Parts
- Factors that Affect BMW Head Gasket Replacement Costs
- What Does a Head Gasket Do?
- Signs of a Bad Head Gasket
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
Cost To Replace By Model
On average, you can expect to pay about X to replace a BMW head gasket. This figure is calculated based on the average cost to replace a head gasket on BMW’s most popular vehicles. This overall cost is split between $1,000 for parts and $2,200 for labor.
Below is a table showing average head gasket repair costs for various popular models of BMW. Keep in mind that these figures are just averages and may differ from your actual prices.
|BMW 3 Series||$3,200|
|BMW 4 Series||$3,600|
|BMW 5 Series||$3,500|
Generally speaking, BMW is more expensive to repair than several other brands, because it is foreign-made and has unique components and computer systems.
Most of the time, you will need to take your BMW to a specially certified mechanic who has the proper tools to diagnose and fix BMW issues.
BMW Head Gasket Parts
One option is to buy head gaskets online and install them yourself. Most of the time, buying online and performing a DIY installation will cost less than a professional installation.
On average, you can expect to pay about $150 for a BMW head gasket replacement set. Most modern engines have at least 2 head gaskets but some may have a gasket for each cylinder.
Below is a table showing average costs for various popular BMW head gasket parts.
|ECCPP Engine Cylinder Head Gasket Set||$60|
|ITM Engine Cylinder Head Gasket Set||$150|
|Evergreen FSHB9325 Full Gasket Set||$160|
|DNJ HG860 Head Gasket Set for BMW||$70|
|N46 Old Cylinder Head Gasket Set for BMW||$170|
|Cosmetic Head Gasket for BMW||$300|
|N20 B20 Cylinder Head Gasket Set for BMW||$158|
Factors that Affect BMW Head Gasket Replacement Costs
Severity of damage
The main factor affecting the cost of replacing a blown head gasket is the severity of the damage. Gaskets can slightly crack around the seal or they can completely explode and damage the cylinder.
If your gasket has actually blown, then it likely has damaged your cylinders, pistons, cooling system, or thermostat.
There are four major types of head gaskets
Copper head gaskets are a bit older and feature a solid copper construction which provides excellent corrosion and leak protection. Copper is not as strong as steel and typically requires a special installation tool called an o-ring machine to place the gasket between the engine block and cylinder.
Composite gaskets are made from a kind of graphite material and were common in older vehicles throughout the 80s and 90s.
Composite gaskets are not as common anymore because modern designs are much more durable and cost-effective. However, if you have an older car, it may still use composite gaskets.
Elastomeric gaskets combine some kind of metal such as steel with an elastomeric sealing component, most often a series of small beads. These kinds of gaskets are tough and are designed to absorb any leaking fluids or oil
Lastly, multi-layer gaskets are the most common types currently used and consist of several layers of steel plating. Most gaskets have between two to three layers but some have five or more. These layers are connected with a durable elastomer and coated with a special layer to prevent rusting.
As always, your car’s age will affect the costs of replacing a head gasket. The older your car, the more likely it is to have other problems related to a blown head gasket.
Also, if you have an old car with discontinued parts, it may be difficult to find a compatible replacement gasket. Many times, it may not be worth replacing a blown head gasket if it has damaged the rest of the engine.
What Does a Head Gasket Do?
The head gasket is an important component of your engine’s cylinder system that maintains pressure and provides a seal so gasses do not escape into your engine compartment.
Head gaskets are located between the cylinder head and the main engine block. Had gaskets are typically made from steel and feature a waterproof graphite coating and silicone beads to seal and protect waterways.
Signs of a Bad Head Gasket
Here are some of the most common signs of a blown head gasket.
The most obvious sign of a blown head gasket is contaminated oil. The gaskets form a seal that keeps engine coolant liquid out of oil ways and cylinder compartments. If this seal cracks or pops, coolant can leak into your oil reservoir, creating a frothy mixture of water and oil.
So, if you suspect that a head gasket on your BMW is blown first check the engine’s oil filler cap to see if there is a foamy build-up of sludge. If there is, then coolant has likely made its way into your oil reservoir.
A blown head gasket can cause your engine to lose compression and expel more gas than normal. When this happens, your engine can start to rock back and forth, creating noticeable vibrations.
If you are experiencing engine knock, take your car to a mechanic. They can run a compression test to see if the root cause is a blown head gasket. Another sign of a blown head gasket is if your engine keeps stalling.
Head gaskets keep engine fluid separate from the rest of your engine’s system, so a blown head gasket can cause engine coolant to leak.
If you notice your coolant is low and refilling the reservoir doesn’t work, then it could be a head gasket problem. Leaking coolant typically pools under your car near the engine compartment and has a slightly sweet smell.
White Smoke from Exhaust
If your seal breaks and coolant fluid makes its way into your engine, then the heat will boil the water off the substance. The vapor will appear as a thick white smoke coming from your exhaust pipe.
White smoke is mostly water vapor but it has some pollutants in it, so be careful about inhaling the smoke.
The single most common sign of a blown head gasket is if your engine overheats. When the gasket seal breaks, your engine will lose coolant liquid and your engine will have to work harder to keep up with power demands.
The result is that your engine is much more likely to overheat. Overheating your engine can cause stalling and permanent damage, so make sure you get a mechanic to tend to the problem quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to replace a blown BMW head gasket?
It will cost about $3,200 to have a BMW head gasket replaced by a professional. Alternatively, you can buy the parts on your own for about $150 and replace the gaskets yourself.
Note that it is difficult to change a head gasket on a BMW due to its unique construction.
How often should I change head gaskets?
Head gaskets are one of the more durable car components and so only need to be changed once every 100,000 miles.
However, head gaskets can blow well before the 100,000-mile mark depending on your oil composition and whether you stick to the maintenance schedule.
Can I drive with a bad head gasket?
Yes, your car will still start and you can drive with a blown head gasket. However, driving with a broken head gasket can make your engine less efficient and cause damage if your engine overheats.
Driving with a broken head gasket can also flood your coolant system with oil, causing further component problems.
Can I replace a head gasket on my own?
Yes, generally speaking, you can replace a head gasket on your own without a mechanic. However, we would highly recommend having a professional do the job unless you have experience working on cars.
It is relatively easy to mess up pressure settings on your engine when replacing a head gasket.
Head gaskets are a crucial part of your car’s engine system and are one of the more expensive parts to replace. If you have a BMW, then you may need to take your car to a specialized mechanic to replace your head gaskets. As always, make sure to visit several mechanics so you can get the best possible price.