Head Gasket Repair Cost – How Much & Why

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When it comes to vehicle repairs, you brace yourself and prepare for the worst. As far as head gasket repair costs are concerned, it can cost $1,000 to $3,000.

Why Does a Head Gasket Repair or Replacement Cost So Much?

The head gasket itself is around $100, but the skill and labor required to repair the head gasket correctly can take hours. Here is more information about head gasket repairs and the average cost of such maintenance.

What is a Head Gasket?

A vehicle’s head gasket is an essential component of the engine. This gasket seals the combustion elements of the engine. The head gasket prevents your car’s engine from overheating and keeps your vehicle operational by sealing the part of your car’s engine where fuel and oxygen combine.

What Are the Different Types of Head Gaskets?

Although the general design of head gaskets hasn’t changed much, the production methods and materials used have been enhanced, improving the way head gaskets function. There are three types of gaskets, one of which is no longer used in today’s cars.

Multi-Layer Steel Gaskets

Most head gaskets that are used today are made from multi-layer steel. These gaskets are ideal for diesel motors and other vehicles that feature a high compression engine. Multi-layer steel (MLS) gaskets are durable because of the elastic compounds and minimum of two layers of steel that make up the gasket.

Copper Gaskets

You’ll find copper gaskets in a lot of vehicles, especially older models. Like MLS gaskets, copper gaskets are durable, but copper is softer than traditional aluminum and steel. This type of gasket is often used in high-performance vehicles because copper gaskets wedge perfectly between the engine block and cylinder head, providing high-performance engines with a superior, dependable gasket, reducing malfunctions and repairs.

Composite Gaskets

Composite gaskets are no longer used today because they are made mostly from graphite and asbestos. These gaskets were not as reliable as the ones used today.

What Causes Head Gaskets to Fail?

Head gaskets fail when they can no longer effectively create a seal between the engine block and cylinder head. In most instances, the gasket can’t maintain a sufficient seal because it’s damaged.

What Happens When Head Gaskets Fail?

When gaskets are damaged, they allow air and fuel to escape from the cylinder head. As a result, the engine’s performance decreases because of a lack of torque and power. When a head gasket experiences physical damage, the gasket can’t prevent coolant and oil from mixing into the cylinders. This mixture causes the engine to fail if the damaged gasket isn’t repaired promptly.

Is it Worth Fixing a Blown Head Gasket?

Head gaskets aren’t the least expensive car repair, making you ask yourself, is it worth fixing a blown head gasket. If you have a newer model vehicle, and the head gasket is the only problem, it may be worth the repair because your car still has a lot of life left.

However, an older model vehicle or a car with other mechanical issues may not be worth the repair. If this turns out to be your situation, it may be time to consider selling your car.

Other factors revolve around your current situation. If you can’t be without transportation until you get the gasket repaired or you’re considering getting a new set of wheels, you should wait before you spend money on head gasket repair and evaluate your options.

Getting a new vehicle can be one solution that works in your favor because you’ll have a more reliable vehicle. Still, there are downsides to this solution, such as monthly payments and possibly higher insurance rates.

Can You Operate a Car with a Blown Head Gasket?

Driving a vehicle that has a blown head gasket is not recommended. When the head gasket blows, your car’s engine will immediately lose pressure. In addition to this malfunction, coolant and oil will leak into different areas of the engine. Coolant can mix with motor oil and prevent the engine from properly lubricating its essential parts. The longer you drive your car with a blown head gasket, the more damage you cause, resulting in an engine rebuild.

Do Head Gasket Sealers Work?

In most situations, head gasket sealers don’t work. These sealers may get you out of a sticky situation, but this is a temporary solution. Whether or not a gasket sealer can be a temporary fix depends on the specific reason the head gasket failed.

How Do I Know if My Head Gasket is Blown?

When your vehicle has a blown head gasket, the coolant will mix with engine oil, your engine will begin to misfire, and you will experience oil leaks. Failure to address a blown head gasket can result in a damaged catalytic converter, erosion of lubrication, and an overheating engine.

When your vehicle malfunctions, it’s not the end of the world necessarily. Before you jump to any conclusions, take your vehicle to a professional mechanic to help you decide what your next steps should be.