A blown head gasket is definitely one of the more serious car problems and should be dealt with quickly. We will show you which symptoms indicate a blown head gasket. Plus: What is the cost of a head gasket repair in the UK?
How much does head gasket repair cost in the UK?
AVERAGE PRICE SPAN » £400 – £1,000
Head gasket replacement • Vauxhall Corsa D
New head gasket
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Costs for head gasket replacement varies between car models
Depending on the car model and engine type, garage prices can vary considerably. On the one hand this is due to the varying difficulty of access to the head gasket due to the engine design, but also to the material costs for the head gasket itself.
The replacement cost for a blown head gasket will therefore be different for a Mini Cooper, Ford Transit, Peugeot 210 or Audi A3. All prices listed here are inclusive of VAT and are intended only as guidelines, which may vary.
Below is an overview with estimated head gasket replacement costs for different car models:
Overview car models
Alfa Romeo Giulietta • Alfa Romeo Mito • Chevrolet Spark • Chevrolet Matiz • Fiat 500 • Fiat Panda • Fiat Punto • Ford Fiesta • Ford Ka • Ford Escort • Hyundai i10 • Hyundai i20 • Kia Ceed • Kia Picanto • Kia Rio • Nissan Micra • Vauxhall Corsa • Vauxhall Meriva • Peugeot 206, 207, 208 • Renault Clio • Renault Twingo • Seat Altea • Seat Ibiza • Smart Fortwo • Toyota Corolla • Toyota Auris • Toyota Yaris • VW Fox • VW Lupo • VW Polo
Audi A1, S1 • Audi A3, S3, RS3 • Citroen Berlingo • Citroen C3 • Citroen C4 • Citroen Jumper • Dacia Duster • Dacia Logan • Dacia Sandero • Ford Kuga • Ford Mondeo • Ford Transit • Honda Civic • Honda Jazz • Hyundai Tucson • Kia Sportage • Mazda CX 5 • Mercedes A Klasse • Mazda CX 3 • Mini • Nissan Qashqai • Vauxhall Astra • Vauxhall Mokka • Vauxhall Vectra • Vauxhall Zafira • Peugeot 308, 3008 • Renault Kangoo • Renault Megane • Seat Alhambra • Seat Leon • Skoda Fabia • Skoda Octavia • Skoda Roomster • Skoda Superb • Skoda Yeti • Toyota Avensis • Toyota Prius • Volvo V60 • VW Passat • VW Tiguan • VW Golf 4, 5, 6, 7
Audi A4, S4, RS4 • Audi A5, S5, RS5 • Audi A6, S6, RS6 • Audi Q2 • Audi Q5 • BMW X1 • BMW 1er • BMW 2er • BMW 3er • BMW 5er • Fiat Ducato • Ford Focus • Ford Galaxy • Jaguar XF • Land Rover Freelander • Mercedes B Klasse • Mercedes C Klasse • Mercedes E Klasse • Mercedes GLK, GLC • Vauxhall Insignia • Porsche 911 • Porsche Boxter • Rover 75 • Seat Alhambra • VW Caddy • VW Sharan • VW Touran • VW T5
What is a head gasket and what does it do?
The head gasket (or cylinder head gasket) is an important component of the combustion motor in vehicles. The head gasket is installed between the cylinder head and the crankcase. Without the head gasket, the circuits of lubricant and coolant would no longer work. It seals the paths of gas, oil and water and prevents these important substances from mixing.
In the process, the head gasket is exposed to heavy wear due to friction and extremely high temperatures.
It must therefore be able to withstand high thermal and mechanical strain. This makes the production of this component costly and complicated.
However, if the car and especially the engine are handled well, the head gasket can withstand quite a bit. However, there are differences in the type of vehicle. In diesel engines, the gaskets are subjected to much greater stress than in gasoline engines.
Head gasket blown: What does it mean?
» Time to take action!
5 possible causes of a blown head gasket
Signs and symptoms of a blown head gasket
Get your car checked if you see oil or coolant in uncommon places!
» Cooling water and engine oil on the engine block
If you notice damp or oily residues on the engine block, this can also indicate a defective gasket on the cylinder head. Look for yellowish slime around the oil filler neck.
» Black colouring on gasket
If gas is escaping from the head gasket due to a leak, you will see black residue on the gasket.
→ Noticeably poor engine performance
→ Coolant temperature display in red area shortly after starting to drive
→ When starting the engine darker / black smoke comes out of the exhaust
Is it worth fixing a blown head gasket?
» In the majority of cases it does.
Can I still drive with a blown head gasket?
» Drive to the garage immediately!
How is a head gasket replaced?
Replacing a head gasket requires an enormous amount of work
Then the leaking head gasket will be removed and the contact surfaces thoroughly cleaned. Sometimes the cylinder head must also be sanded flat. At the same time it is also checked for fissures or other damage. After the head gasket has been replaced, a sealing agent is usually applied in order to be able to seal the cylinder head securely.
Then the head is reassembled and the valves are adjusted. This work must be carried out carefully and requires some expertise. After the head gasket replacement, all engine components that were previously removed must be reinstalled. After that, a change of the coolant is also necessary.
Before this, the entire cooling system should be cleaned so that there are no more oil residues in it. But it is also necessary to change the engine oil. There may still be coolant in the oil due to the previously defective head gasket. After repairing the engine, it is also recommended to reseal the intake and exhaust manifolds.
How long does a head gasket replacement take?
Can I replace a head gasket myself?
» Only if you are an expert!
How often does a head gasket need to be replaced?
3 Savings tips: How can I save money with the head gasket?
1. Change other parts at the same time
If the engine is already disassembled as far as it is necessary for a head gasket replacement, it is sometimes worthwhile to replace the cambelt or timing chain. The majority of the cost of these two repairs consists of the labour costs for installation and removal. The parts themselves are relatively cheap. It may therefore be worthwhile to have them replaced as well.
2. Let a specialist do the repair!
One reason why the head gaskets become blown is because of assembly errors. Often the contact surfaces are not sanded flat enough and attempts are made to correct leaks by tightening the screws more. This often leads to a burning of the valve. The list of possible errors is long. It is therefore worth investing money in a qualified professional.
3. Compare garage prices beforehand
Replacement of a blown head gasket is among the more expensive car repairs. The price differences in the garages can be correspondingly high. In a few cases, the repair costs may even exceed the value of the vehicle and then a head gasket replacement may no longer be worthwhile. In any case it is advisable to compare prices.