Chrysler 300 Head Gasket Replacement Cost [DIY Vs. Pro]
Since it was first put on the market in 2005, the Chrysler 300 has been touted as one of the most popular cars ever in the United States. For two generations, this vehicle has received multiple awards and celebrity endorsements.
Because the Chrysler 300 has been around so long, and because there are multiple versions available for each model year, prices to replace your head gasket can vary drastically depending on which vehicle you have.
In general, if you are using a head gasket sealer, you may pay anywhere from $10 to over $100. If, on the other hand, you are just buying a head gasket replacement kit, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to around $350.
However, if you are employing a mechanic to do the job, it will likely take him or her around 6 or 7 hours to complete the job. Depending on the labor rates in your area, this can cost you from around $450 to upwards of $950.
Looking at the average, you can reasonably expect to pay around $890 to have the head gasket in your Chrysler 300 replaced by a professional. Note that you will likely pay around $15 more per hour if you go to a dealership for the replacement.
What Is a Head Gasket?
A head gasket is a critical component in your vehicle’s engine. Originally made of materials like asbestos and graphite, modern head gaskets are generally made of a form of steel and elastomer.
The head gasket is the seal between the engine block and the cylinder heads, and it helps keep the oil and coolant from mixing in the engine.
It keeps the combustion chambers pressurized, thus allowing the engine to produce power while also directing harmful fumes to the exhaust system.
Causes Of Damage
Head gaskets have a hard job to do. They are dealing with constant pressure and temperature changes. Because of this, they are prone to becoming damaged.
If, for example, you run out of coolant, your engine will overheat. If the engine overheats, the head gasket will as well. Since the engine and gasket are made from metal, excessive heat will cause them to warp and expand.
If these parts are not the proper shape, they will not be able to seal properly, and the integrity of the gasket will be compromised.
How Dangerous is a Cracked Head Gasket?
If you have a leak in your head gasket, it is probable that engine fluids and gases are not where they are supposed to be. Coolant or oil could be in the combustion chamber, combustion gasses could be in the coolant or released into the air, etc.
Any of these problems can lead to numerous other problems, and eventually, it can even become difficult to trace the original issue.
Can I Drive with a Damaged Head Gasket?
Considering the types of damage mentioned above, here are some of the repercussions of driving with said damage:
Coolant In Combustion Chamber
If coolant gets in your combustion chamber, it can render your spark plugs ineffective. Coolant will leave deposits that will cause blockages. All of this will also damage sensors by altering the airflow ratio.
Coolant is corrosive and can cause internal parts of your engine to rust. Eventually, you will lose essential pressure in the engine. If this gets bad enough, your engine may be destroyed.
Coolant In Engine Oil
If you get coolant in your engine oil, the oil will lose its viscosity and be unable to do its job of lubricating essential engine parts. When moving parts are not properly lubricated, all kinds of problems can ensue.
Sometimes this just causes them to work less efficiently, but sometimes parts can fuse and seize. At this extreme, again, your engine could be destroyed.
Gasses leaking out of your combustion chamber can be harmful to humans. Further, the longer the leak continues, the worse it will get. Gasses pushing through a crack at high pressure worsen the crack.
For all the above reasons, you should not drive your Chrysler 300 with a blown head gasket. The fact is that often you can’t tell how bad the damage is, and the damage builds over time.
Dealing with the problem as soon as you are made aware of it will likely save you quite a bit of money and heartache in the end.
How Do I Know If I Need to Replace the Head Gasket in My Chrysler 300?
Below are some of the common signs of a blown head gasket. Most of them can have other causes as well, but the more of them you see, the more likely it is that the problem is the head gasket specifically.
Engine Warning Light
Most obviously, if your check engine light comes on, you should heed its call. This indicator may come on for many reasons, and one of those reasons is a damaged head gasket.
You may notice your low coolant or low oil indicator come on, or you may notice the physical leak under your Chrysler 300, but either way, if you see fluids, other than water from climate control, leaking under your vehicle, you should go in for service. You may need a new head gasket.
As fluids leak into the combustion chamber, they leave residues. Further, coolant can corrode spark plugs. Therefore, if you have a cracked head gasket you may notice your vehicle misfiring.
If your engine is overheating, you may be low on oil or coolant. One lubricates and one actively cools, and therefore both fluids help to keep the car from overheating. If your engine is overheating, then you should have the head gasket on your 300 Chrysler checked for leaks.
White or Blue Smoke
If you are seeing billows of white or blue smoke coming out of your exhaust, you may have a blown head gasket. There are other potential causes, but a head gasket is one of the usual suspects.
This smoke can occur when oil leaks into the combustion chambers.
What Is the Real Cost to Replace the Head Gasket in My Chrysler 300?
There are multiple options for fixing or replacing a head gasket in a Chrysler 300. The cost specifically to you will depend on your location, the method of repair you choose, and which version of Chrysler 300 you own.
Head Gasket Sealant Fluid
The first thing you can do to try and fix your head gasket is to apply a head gasket sealant. This is a liquid sealant that gets into small cracks and blocks them up.
You must be careful with this option however because since the sealant is traveling through your whole system, it can inadvertently seal up or hinder other passages. Further, these sealants do not work forever.
Eventually, you will need to reapply or go ahead and replace the gasket. If you are going to try this method, you can expect to pay between $10 and $100 for the sealant product.
Be aware that not all gasket sealants are of sufficient quality. This fluid is going into an internal combustion engine. Do your homework.
DIY Gasket Replacement Kit
If you have the mechanical chops to do the job in your own garage, you can purchase a gasket replacement kit. If you choose this method, it is important to pay close attention to which kit you are purchasing.
There are many years and models of Chrysler 300 so make sure you are purchasing the correct product. A gasket replacement kit for a Chrysler 300 can cost anywhere from $30 to $350.
Some products come with all the necessary parts; some may only come with the gasket. Make sure you read the descriptions.
Professional Gasket Replacement for A Chrysler 300
Finally, if you choose to use a professional to replace your Chrysler 300 head gasket, you will pay the most out of the potential repair options. Beyond the cost of the parts, as discussed above, you will also have to pay for labor.
On average, it can take around 7 hours for a professional mechanic to do the job. Mechanic rates vary around the country. In some areas you may pay $75 an hour; in other areas, it may be as much as $135.
Considering the cost of parts, and thinking about the average labor rate, you might expect to pay around $850-$900 to have a professional mechanic replace your Chrysler 300 head gasket. Tack on an extra $10 to $15 an hour if you go to the dealership.
The head gasket in your Chrysler 300 engine is an essential component. When it cracks it can cause damage to countless other areas of your vehicle.
It is therefore essential that you should get it fixed before the problem has time to spread. Regardless of whether you intend to merely try a liquid sealant or hire a professional for a replacement, it is important to act as soon as possible. It may cost you a bit of money now, but the problems that can occur by not acting will cost you way more.