You’re driving down the road, and everything seems fine. Next thing you know, there’s smoke – a lot of smoke – coming out from underneath your hood. You pull over, have your car towed to a local mechanic, and what’s the news? You’ve got a blown head gasket.
It’s always frustrating dealing with car repairs, but a blown head gasket is easily one of the most expensive fixes you’ll ever come across on a vehicle. In some cases, fixing a head gasket can cost you thousands of dollars. Once you’ve recovered from the initial shock of the price the mechanic quotes you, it’s time to ask yourself: should I go through with it? Is it even worth it?
Instead of fixing your head gasket, it may make more sense to simply sell your junk car to a local scrap yard. Before you make that decision, though, let’s take a look at what exactly a head gasket is, how much they cost to repair, and what your options are.
In order for your engine to generate the amount of combustion necessary to turn the wheels of your car, a lot of pressure has to build up inside of it. Over time, the sheer force of the pressure inside your engine begins to wear on certain components. One of the most susceptible parts in terms of eventual wear and tear is the head gasket, which seals the bottom half of the engine to the “head.”
Eventually, this gasket deteriorates. At some point, it “blows,” meaning that pressure in your engine is reduced. When this happens, your engine will generally begin to leak oil where the seal is no longer holding. As a result, your engine can no longer maintain the proper amount of compression and ceases to function.
Cost of Head Gasket Replacement
Here’s the surprising thing about head gaskets: they’re not that expensive. At least when it comes to the part itself, head gaskets are cheap. The gasket might only run you $40 or $50, in fact.
The reason that replacing a head gasket can cost upwards of $2,000 is because of the amount of time involved in the repair. Every vehicle is different, and every engine requires a different amount of work in order to disassemble it, replace the gasket, and reassemble it. Generally speaking, though, this is one of the most time-consuming repairs that can be made on a car, and it, therefore, tends to cost quite a bit.
Should You Fix Your Head Gasket?
The question of whether or not to fix your head gasket ultimately comes down to the value of your vehicle. If your car is worth many thousands of dollars, fixing the head gasket probably makes sense. However, if you have an old vehicle that’s more rust than anything else, replacing the head gasket is probably a waste of money.
Disclosure: We might earn commission from qualifying purchases. The commission help keep the rest of my content free, so thank you!
Jenny Brown says
I have a Peugeot 208 which I bought from new in April 2013”. The head gasket has broken and water is seeping into the oil. I have done 57000miles and had it seviced and MOT carried out yearly. Is it worth repairing my car?
I’m not familiar with that model but it is only a few years old and not many miles. As long as the coolant wasn’t going in to the oil for long then you might be ok to do the repair. If the valve cover or oil pan shows milky or frothy buildup then it is hard to say whether it is too late.
Wendy Thomas says
Question: is a 2009 subaru outback with
150000 miles, yet good condition worth replacing both headgaskets?
I have a 2003 Subaru outback 18000 is it worth fixing head gasket
My 2008 Subaru Outback with 145,000 miles just blew a head gasket. Seems to be a theme here.
Sharon Dinkins says
I have a 2019 Chevy Malibu 81,000 miles with was just told by Chevrolet that I have a cylinder head gasket leak. I still owe 10,000 on the car should I trade or fix it
Sharon Dinkins says
Ment 2016 Malibu my bad
Joseph Smith says
I am replacing the head gasket in my 2002 Honda Civic. if I weren’t doing it myself, I wouldn’t fix it. It’s about $300 for top end gasket set, timing belt component kit, drive belts, and spark plugs.
I have a 2006 Subaru Legacy but it was purchased new by my grandfather and only has 50K miles and is in good shape for it’s age. The head gaskets are leaking, but the check engine light and oil light are not popping up yet. I don’t wan’t to spend the money but am willing to attempt dyi if it’s realistic.
i had a 2001 Chevy S-10, drove it off the lot brand new. at 85k mileage i had to replace the headgaskets. Again at 160k i had to replace the gaskets. but this time the mechanic did not do a good job. so at 165k i did all gaskets and seals. at 180k i did all gaskets and seals again. then when it started leaking again at 186k… i got rid of it.
i always hear cost vs value. here is the value for me. I like to take care of my cars. and i enjoy tinkering on them. so i would rather maintain a vehicle that looks good and runs good than to just create more vehicle trash to go out into the world.
for those of you asking should I and following it with, it still looks good and runs good… my answer is fix it.
if you have a problematic vehicle sell it! but let it be known that it is a mechanics special and list what is wrong with it.
thats my two cents.
I have a 2009 Vauxhall corsa do I bother fixing it as the head gaskets blown but the car is probably worth about 500-600£ now
James Gullekson says
2007 GMC Envoy SLT, new tires with extra set of new tires. I already replaced ball joints myself, alternator, and water pump. Body and interior in excellent condition. 200k miles on transmission. I put a 2005 Envoy engine in it, with roughly 150k miles on it. Now blown head gasket, but doesn’t seem to be leaking into oil yet. Just overheats, boils over into reservoir, and of course evaporates coolant. Worth fixing head gasket? I bought the 2007 body for 500 and paid 2000 to have engine swap. Estimate for this repair at one shop is 1750. I can shop around to see if anywhere is cheaper. Thanks in advance for opinion.
Demarcus Jones says
I have a 2007 infiniti g35x with blown head gasket is it worth fixing it? It have a little over 200,000 miles on it.