Cost to Replace a Head Gasket


cost to replace a head gasketThe cost to replace a head gasket on your vehicle has to do with 2 main variables:

  1. Is your engine an inline configuration or a “V” or boxer?
  2. Is your engine transverse or longitudinally-mounted?

Either way, it’s going to be expensive but if you’ve got an inline engine light an I4 or straight 6 the cost will be significantly less because you’ve only got 1 head gasket to replace.  Similarly if you’ve got a transverse-mounted V6 engine your cost is going to be significantly more because the rear bank over the motor is tucked way up under your windshield.

As you can tell, labor cost is the majority of the cost when it comes to replacing a head gasket.  Less labor means less cost.  So if you’ve got a “V” or boxer engine in your car you may be tempted to tell your mechanic to just replace the head gasket on one bank if you can prove where the head gasket leak is.

Replacing one head gasket is a bad idea for a few reasons:

  1. You can never be 100% sure you’ve only got 1 leak 
  2. You’ve already got almost all the work done to get the 2nd head off anyway
  3. The other head gasket will likely blow soon anyway.
  4. If you only fix one bank your engine will most likely be unbalanced

If you look at the symptoms of a blown head gasket none of them can tell you for sure exactly where the head gasket leak is.  Even if you’ve got a really bad leak and you can identify which cylinder has gone bad by evidence on the spark plug or piston face it doesn’t mean you don’t have a small leak on the other bank.

If your goal is to save money then replacing both head gaskets makes sense.  To get a cylinder head off you have to remove things like the intake and exhaust manifolds.  The intake manifold is for both heads and to pull the exhaust manifold off you probably have to take part of your exhaust system off.  Similarly you may have to remove things like engine accessories and the timing belt or timing chain so once you’ve paid your mechanic the labor to do all that, you might as well spring for the extra hour or 2 it will be to get the second head off.  Anyway, the first head gasket blew for a reason the probably affects the other bank also.

Lastly, once you get the cylinder head off to replace the gasket you should have your heads checked for flatness as they usually warp when the head gasket blows.  If you mill one head flat it will slightly increase the compression ratio on that bank so if you don’t do the same to the other head your engine will never be balanced.

Understanding the reason for the high cost of head gasket replacement on an engine with 2 banks or a transversely mounted engine it’s important to consider if your vehicle is even worth that kind of investment.  The hard part repair is always the best plan, but if it doesn’t make sense consider using BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer to seal your head gasket leak and keep your car on the road.  before you decide, it’s smart to call a few local mechanics and get quotes for the job.

When you’re ready, you can pick up BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer at one of your local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • CarQuest Auto Parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Canadian Tire
  • Walmart

Photo by Garett Mizunaka on Unsplash

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