Having your car towed due to an engine overheating is always stressful. If the cause of that overheating problem is a blown head gasket, stress can turn to panic. So, how much is a head gasket repair? It’s enough to shock anyone unfamiliar with the problem. Depending on your vehicle, fixing a blown head gasket can cost as much as two thousand dollars! While the average cost may be between $1400-1800, some engines can run a little higher. How did this happen? Why is it so expensive? By the end of this article, you should be able to answer these questions and more.
What is a head gasket?
After your diagnosing your car and you find out how much for a head gasket repair, you might do a quick internet search of the subject. You may find an image of a head gasket or an engine, but it still might not answer your questions. The head gasket is the material between your cylinder head and engine block. It separates the engine oil and coolant from your cylinders and each other. This allows the engine to be well lubricated and cool itself while your pistons work. The head gasket is usually made out of steel and rubber but may include other materials such as silicon, Teflon, fiberglass, and even cork.
What are the symptoms of a bad head gasket?
If you hop in your 2014 Ford Fusion and a plume of white smoke emits from the tailpipe when you start it up, you may have a blown head gasket. Maybe you have been driving with that smoke for a while, hoping it is not bad news. While some vehicles can run for a few days or even months, a head gasket problem is eventually going to put the vehicle out of commission. That white smoke is caused by the coolant finding its a way into the combustion chamber.
Another symptom of a blown head gasket is coolant in your oil. Also, exhaust gases in your coolant. When the seal of the head gasket is broken or damaged, the coolant can find its way into your oil, and gases from your exhaust can enter the cooling system. Because of this, you may notice a milky residue in your oil, or bubbles in your radiator. These are all possible signs of a bad gasket.
The most effective way to diagnose a blown head gasket is by doing a compression test. This requires attaching a gauge to a spark plug or injector to measure the amount of compression in each cylinder. If it is too low, your head gasket could be “blown” which means there’s an area of it allowing pressure to escape.
Why did your head gasket go bad?
Calling a customer to tell them they have a blown head gasket is not a fun conversation. After learning how much to fix a head gasket, sometimes the customer wants to know why it happened. A head gasket fails because of the normal operation of a vehicle. Imagine bouncing around city roads and hurtling down the highway at 80 miles per hour. Heating and cooling over and over, and getting bumped by other cars in the grocery store parking lot is a lot to endure. All of this is bound to cause general wear and tear. This causes cracks, leaks, and in some cases, a damaged head gasket.
Another reason for head gasket failure is if something causes your engine to overheat. If these seals and gaskets get hotter than they can handle, they can crack or break much quicker than under normal operating conditions. If your water pump begins to leak and you lose all of your antifreeze, the engine will overheat. This malfunction is going to accelerate the wearing process of the head gasket.
How much is head gasket repair?
You looked up a head gasket on the internet and found one for a hundred bucks! Why did that mechanic shop quote you $2000? They must be taking advantage of you! The main reason the cost of head gasket repair is so high is this: labor!
While the cost of parts of the repair relatively low, it is certainly more than just the new head gasket. There are fluids and other sealants and gaskets that will have to be replaced when you take the engine apart. However, all of those costs are a small portion of the overall bill. Head gasket replacement costs run high because the labor is time-consuming and requires skill. Because of the location of the head gasket, it requires removing a good portion of the engine from the vehicle and taking it apart.
For example, in your 2014 Ford Fusion, labor time for a head gasket replacement clocks at 12.7 hours*. Any reputable mechanic is going to charge well over $100 per labor hour. If an automotive garage is going to charge $120 per hour, at 12.7 hours you will be paying at least $1524 dollars in labor alone. Other vehicles may only be a 6-8 hour job. This means you could be paying $600-960 in labor or around $1200 for the repair. Different engines, different vehicles, and different auto repair shops are all going to factor into the final bill.
What can you do about a blown head gasket?
Your car has been diagnosed and now you have a decision to make. You now know the average head gasket repair cost, and it is up to you if you want to shell out the money to have it fixed. Sometimes it is not worth the price of the car, especially on an engine that may have two hundred thousand miles. This leaves you with a couple of other options for your vehicle. You can sell it, or you can scrap it.
There are many people out there who would take the time to fix a head gasket. If you post the vehicle for a low price online there is a chance someone will want to buy it from you. If someone can fix it themselves, they wouldn’t have to pay labor and would be left to pay just a few hundred dollars of supplies and parts. Be honest and set a reasonable price and there is a good chance you can sell your vehicle, even with a blown head gasket.
The last and often the best option is to scrap your vehicle. You can some quick money by selling your car to a scrap yard and letting them take it off of your hands. A blown head gasket won’t affect the amount of money a scrap yard is willing to pay for your vehicle. This takes away the haggling and stress of selling a broken-down vehicle.
*according to http://www.alldata.com