How Much Does a Head Gasket Repair Cost? – 2023 Complete Guide
A blown head gasket is the absolute worst-case scenario for any driver. If you are starting to see signs that your head gasket is leaking, you should get it fixed as soon as possible so you don’t have to pay for more expensive repairs in the future. But how much does it cost to repair the head gasket?
Head gasket repair will set you back an average of $3,450 to $5,460. The labor costs alone typically range between $2,700 and $4,450, while the cost of the parts ranges anywhere from $760 to $1,250. The total cost will mostly depend on your vehicle’s make and model.
In this article, we will go over the cost of repairing a head gasket in detail, as well as all other aspects of the process.
How Much Does a Head Gasket Repair Cost?
The price of repairing a blown head gasket may easily go into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Because of this, you may decide that purchasing a new car is a better option than paying for expensive repairs.
Repairing a blown head gasket usually costs a lot of money because it takes a lot of time and work. It takes a long time and a lot of work to figure out what’s wrong and fix or replace the head gasket.
Since the engine head has to be taken off and then put back on after the head gasket is changed, this is a very complicated process. And the longer the technician works on your head gasket replacement, the more expensive the cost will be.
What Are The Options To Fix Head Gasket?
The damage to a head gasket can be complex; some can be repaired with a simple sealer, while others need a complete replacement. Let’s take a look at some of the options and see what suits you best.
1. Get a Gasket Sealer
Gasket sealer is a quick-repair option when there is a minor leak in the head gasket. It is a fairly inexpensive solution, but not one that every vehicle can use. You can use it to fix the leak between the combustion chamber and the cooling system, provided that the car does not overheat. In contrast, if the leak happened because of overheating, the solution would likely not work.
2. Replace Head Gasket
If there is a lot of damage to the head gasket, it will need to be replaced. You will have to take the car to a certified mechanic, where, after the diagnostic, the head gasket will be retrieved from the engine, and a new one will be installed in its place.
3. Replace the Engine
Replacing the engine is easier than installing a head gasket, which is why it might cost even less if the right candidate is available for the engine swap.
4. Replace The Car
Repairing or replacing the engine can be quite expensive. Hence, whenever the time comes, you should always think about whether it is worth it. Sometimes the vehicle has already served its purpose by the time there is a problem with the engine. In these cases, you should get a new car instead of spending a hefty sum on a broken one.
Head Gasket Repair Costs
The prices below are examples of how much it usually costs to check the head gaskets on popular cars:
|Car Model||Gasket Repair Cost|
These prices are just for the inspection and diagnostics. On top of that, you should plan to put in at least ten hours of labor and pay for the parts and supplies you need.
Gaskets often come at relatively affordable prices. The extensive amount of labor that the mechanic puts in over several hours is typically to blame for the high cost of repairs.
For this reason, it is better to spend the money on that examination so that you can be positive that the problem is the head gasket and not another issue that may be repaired for a cheaper cost.
If you find leaks in the head gasket early on, the head gasket replacement cost will be lower. In the end, the speed with which the issue is diagnosed will determine how much it will cost to repair the head gasket.
If you put off coming to the repair shop for longer, you can anticipate paying a higher fee to have your vehicle back on the road. Where you take your car for work will also have an impact.
Even though there shouldn’t be much of a difference in the rates that are provided to you, it is still a good idea to acquire a few different estimates from different area mechanics so that you can be sure you are getting the best deal possible.
Blown Head Gasket Symptoms
The signs that a head gasket has blown are so obvious that it would be hard to miss them. The engine will get very hot, a lot of steam will come out of the car’s exhaust system, and the engine will either misfire or run poorly. In some cases, the engine won’t start.
There will also be clear evidence that the coolant and oil have mixed, creating a milky and muddy fluid within the engine compartment. Also, while the engine is running, some of the exhaust fumes may get into the cooling system. Both of these signals are indications that the coolant and oil have mixed.
The following are additional signs:
- The automobile is consistently running too hot.
- The indicators for either checking the engine or the oil temperature (or both) light up.
- The smoke coming out of the tailpipe has a sweet or pleasant aroma and/or is white in color.
If you have one or more of these problems, it’s clear that your head gasket is broken, and it’s also clear that you need to fix or replace it. If you put off getting this done, you might end up with damage or possibly a broken engine.
What happens during a Head Gasket Replacement?
When thinking about the costs and work that come with replacing a head gasket, keep in mind that the replacements themselves are easy. Because the job requires so much disassembly and reassembly, it is often one that takes a significant amount of time to complete.
The following steps make up the standard method:
- Verification that the head gasket is blown or otherwise defective
- By removing all of the engine’s coolant and oil from the transmission
- Take out the cylinder head along with all the accompanying parts and pieces
- Examining and cleaning the individual parts. You may have to send the parts to a professional.
- Taking off the engine head gasket
- Conducting a thorough inspection of the whole engine block for any indications of damage
- After installing the new head gasket and using the proper sealant, you may start the engine.
- After reinstalling the cylinder head and the other parts, it is checked to make sure that everything was put back together according to the original plans.
- The process of topping up the engine with new oil and coolant
- Putting the engine through its paces to check for any leaks or other potential problems
- Conducting road tests on the vehicle
It is important to keep in mind that a preliminary analysis of the problem is an integral component of any work that involves replacing the head gasket since it is possible that the head gasket is not the source of the issue. There could be a problem with the rocker covers, the exhaust, the cooling system, or something else.
Also Read: Cummins ISX Head Gasket Replacement Cost
What Causes a Blown Head Gasket?
A blown head gasket is a common problem that occurs in internal combustion engines. It occurs when the head gasket, which is a seal between the engine block and cylinder head, fails and allows engine coolant to leak into the combustion chamber or the oil passages.
While you are driving, the internal combustion engine in your vehicle generates a great deal of heat. The head gasket is put through a lot of heat and mechanical stress when there is a difference in the rates of thermal expansion between the cylinder head and the engine block. This causes it to gradually wear out, which may result in fractures and leaks.
Over time, your head gasket may be affected by both the vibrations your engine makes on its own and the vibrations that happen when you drive. If you stretch the bolts that hold the head gasket between the engine block and the cylinder head, you may cause more friction and wear on the engine than necessary.
Damage to your head gasket may be caused by overheating if you let the coolant level in your engine drop too low. The head gasket frequently breaks when the engine gets too hot if coolant isn’t providing cooling for the engine block and cylinder head.
How Can You Determine If Your Head Gasket Has Blown?
Doing a test to see if the head gasket is still good or not can help you get a better and more accurate idea of how good your car is. After the engine has cooled down, take off the lid that covers the oil filler and look inside and around the cap for a liquid with a coffee-like tint. If you see this, it indicates that the coolant and the oil have been mixed, indicating that the head gasket has failed to separate the two liquids.
After removing the spark plugs and pressurizing the cooling system, start your vehicle’s engine so that you may check it. A bad head gasket is indicated by the engine coolant pouring out of one or more of the spark plug holes.
If your head gasket doesn’t seal well, it’s easy for flammable gases to get into your cooling system. This would be shown by the presence of air bubbles in your radiator. Take off the cap of your radiator and let the engine of your vehicle warm up before looking for bubbles. The presence of bubbles in the tank is one of the first things you will notice if your head gasket has failed.
You shouldn’t put an end to your testing just yet. The gasket might catch fire anywhere between the two cylinders in the majority of situations. To do a compression test, you must remove the spark plugs from the engine and manually thread the cylinders.
Start your vehicle’s engine, and while it’s running, check the readings on your compression tester to see how each cylinder is doing. When two cylinders that are next to one another provide the result “0 psi,” this is a sign that something is wrong.
Also Read: Duramax Head Gasket Replacement Cost
Is It Really Necessary to Replace the Head Gasket?
Repairing a vehicle’s head gasket is an essential automotive service. Head gasket replacement costs so much because it takes so long to fix.
In some instances, the total cost of the repair might reach more than $5,000. The make and model have a big effect on price because that will determine how difficult it is to reach the head gasket and do the work.
Sometimes, you may not want to spend the money on such costly repairs. For example, if it’s an older car and you were thinking of getting a new one anyway, you might be better off trading it in than fixing it.
Since a car can’t work without a head gasket, we strongly suggest that you get it fixed as soon as possible.
FAQs On Head Gasket Repair Cost
How much does it cost to replace a head gasket?
The head gasket replacement can cost between $4,500 and $5,500, depending on the damage and the type of vehicle.
Is it worth fixing a blown head gasket?
It depends on the health of the vehicle. If the vehicle has lasted its life, it is better to get a new car altogether instead of spending a hefty amount on fixing the head gasket. But if the vehicle is new, it is always a good idea to fix it.
Can a head gasket be repaired?
The head gasket can be repaired if there is a small leak with the sealants. But it can be used only in some cases; most times, you will need to replace the entire unit. Plus, even if you get the sealant, you will have to check on it every once in a while and get the unit replaced eventually.
What are the first signs of a blown head gasket?
Vehicles with blown head gaskets often experience overheating of engines, white smoke from the tailpipe, low level of coolant, and rough engine knock.
What causes head gasket failure?
Typically, overheating results in the failure of the head gasket. Vehicles that run low on coolant experience this problem more frequently.
Head Gasket Repair Cost: The Bottom Line
Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the parts cost of a replacement head gasket will range anywhere from $750 to $1,200. However, the labor cost is the most important portion of the total expenditure.
This labor cost will change drastically based on the type of vehicle, in addition to a number of other considerations. You should prepare yourself to spend between $2700 and $4500 on labor.
You shouldn’t forget to consider the fact that if the head gasket blows, it might cause other parts of the engine to get damaged. Because of this, the head gasket cost might wind up being much greater. So don’t wait if you suspect a problem with your head gasket.