Head Gasket Repair Cost

Head gasket repair cost usually ranges between $1,200 and $3,000 depending on the car model and the labor cost at your local repair shop. It is one of the most expensive jobs you can do to your car. Replacement on the older car models costs less than on the modern cars.

You are probably wondering why is it so expensive? The main reason is the location of the head gasket. It is positioned between the cylinder head and engine block that are well within the engine of the car. To get to it, you will need to remove a lot of different parts. Of course intense labor raises the cost of the repair.

Work Involved In Replacing Head Gasket

To give you a rough idea, you will need to disconnect/remove battery, air intake, timing belt, rockers, fuel hookups, spark plugs, ignition system and so on. After all of these parts are removed, you will replace the head gasket and then put it all back together. I think that putting it all back is much harder task. You need to have some kind of labeling system to know what goes where and in what order. Overall, it can take about 10-15 hours to complete the project. So, at about $150 per hour, that is what a mechanic usually charges, you are looking at about $2,000.

Another thing to think about is that head gasket problems usually don’t start on the new vehicle. An older car often has many other problems that you might not be aware of until you start taking everything apart. It is like opening a can of worms.

Inexpensive Solution

First step, figure out if it is a blown head gasket that is the problem. If it is, there are  some inexpensive products on the market that can fix a blown head gasket problem without taking it out. Before paying all this money for the expensive replacement, try to fix the leak with a head gasket sealant. The sealant costs only between $10 – $40, which is a fraction of the cost of the replacement. After you pour a sealant into the radiator, it gets distributed through the engine sealing the crack in the head gasket with a thermo-chemical bonding process. Many times sealer installation is enough to repair the damage.

There are six main head gasket sealers on today’s market. Some of them work better than others, but they are all designed to seal the leaks and cracks in the head gasket. Since my uncle is a mechanic who buys used cars that are in need of repair, fixes them and sells them, there was a lot of opportunities for me to test all of the most popular head gasket sealers.

Because most car owners are absolutely terrified when they see a white smoke coming out of their car, very often a few hundred dollars is all it takes to get them to sell their car. A lot of times the car is in a good condition and a $25 dollar sealer can fix the problem. But many people think that the car might explode when they see smoke. Of course there are times when the sealant is not enough and you do have to replace the head gasket, but in 90% of a time sealer is all you need. But what sealers really work?

Top 6 Head Gasket Sealants

With so much marketing hype sometimes it is hard to tell what if it is a good quality product. Main questions buyers want to know are: Is it easy to use? Is it fast in fixing the problem? Will the repair last? Is the product worth the money? How does this product compares to others? These are the questions I try to answer when I test the top sealants.

Product Name Features Price Rating
(out of 5 stars)
Bar’s Head Gasket Fix
  • Stops block leaks
  • Seals cracked cylinder heads
    and blocks
  • Repairs blown head gaskets
$25 4.8 stars
Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket
& Cooling Sealant
  • Repairs blown head and intake
    gasket leaks
  • Seals cracked cylinder heads
    and blocks
  • Stops heater core and radiator leaks
  • Fixes leaking freeze and core plugs
$37 4.7 stars
Blue Devil Head Gasket
  • Do-It-Yourself Formula
  • Easy to Use Pour-n-go
  • Used for 4 cylinder and v-6 engines
  • Permanently Seals Blown, Cracked
    or Leaking Head Gaskets
$35 4.1 stars
K-Seal Head Gasket Sealant
  • Permanently seals leaks and cracks
  • Mixes with all types of antifreeze
  • There is no draining and no flushing
  • Seals head gaskets, heater cores,
    cylinder heads and more
  • Treats cooling systems of up to
    20 quarts capacity
$14 4.2 stars
SteelSeal Head Gasket
  • Easy To Use Formula
  • Fixes blown gasket by
    sealing leaks
$45 4.1 stars
Bar’s Head Gasket
Repair Sealant

  • Seals cracked cylinder heads
    and blocks
  • Repairs blown head gaskets
  • Stops block leaks
$15 3.9 stars

Head Gasket Replacement Cost

If that doesn’t work, the replacement is your only option. Start by considering current price of the car and its condition. Is the cost of the repair more than the car is worth? It might be better to junk this car and get a new one. You can take that $2,000 and use as a down payment for a new car instead of investing more money into the old car that will last only for a few more years at best.

If you still want to proceed with the repair, you might be wondering if a new engine is the way to go instead of replacing the head gasket. From my experience it is always better to repair an existing engine than getting a new one since you might start having other problems with it.

~Mike Davis

One thought on “Head Gasket Repair Cost

  1. 97 explorer v6. i dont know how to determine which hose to attach the tee on, please instruct me like a 3rd grader with a college degree. start with which side of engine and so forth. appears to me there are many hoses going from engine to firewall. already have the sealer, just not wanting to make a mistake. thank you.

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