Head Gasket repair & replacement made easy

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Want to learn more about Head Gasket repairs?

Read our short guide with information on costs, symptoms and more.

What does a head gasket do?

The head gasket on an engine provides the seal between the engine block and the cylinder head to maintain compression and prevent the engine oil mixing with the coolant.

What does a cylinder head gasket replacement involve?

There are differences between engines on the exact process and components, but the typical engine will require most of the following basics to be done

  • Mechanic will check that the head gasket is faulty.
  • The engine will be drained of oil and coolant.
  • Components will be removed to allow access to the rocker cover and ultimately, the cylinder head bolts.
  • The engine timing will be locked in place using specifically designed pins and locking tools.
  • The timing belt will be removed, or the timing chain loosened off and moved off the camshaft sprockets.
  • The cylinder head will then be undone in a specific sequence.
  • Once all the bolts are out, the cylinder head will be removed and the surface of the engine block and cylinder head will be cleaned of all residue of the old gasket.
  • In the case of the majority of cylinder heads, it will need to be pressure tested to ensure it’s structure is sound and then go through a process called skimming. This process ensures that the surface that the new gasket will come into contact with is perfectly flat and clean.
  • Once the mechanic has completed the work on the components, the engine is reassembled with a new cylinder head gasket.
  • If the engine’s camshaft(s) are driven by a timing belt, this belt will be renewed along with a new water pump if it is on the timing belt circuit.
  • Once the engine is back together, the cooling system will be refilled and the oil replenished along with a new filter.
  • If the oil has become contaminated with the coolant, an additional oil flush may be required and likewise, if the cooling system has become contaminated, the cooling system will be flushed.
  • Once everything is back together, the mechanic will run the engine.
  • Finally a road test will ensure that everything works as it should when the engine comes up to temperature and finally any error codes present will be cleared down and re-checked.

As we mentioned previously, this is not a full exhaustive list of what will be done as each engine has its own requirements.

Can I do a head gasket replacement myself?

Unless you are a qualified mechanic with the required skills, training and equipment to do the job, we strongly recommend a head gasket replacement is only carried out by a professional mechanic. ClickMechanic can help get you a vetted and local mechanic to carry out the work. Just enter your postcode and your car's registration number at the top of this page and select the work needed to get an instant fixed price up front.

What are the symptoms of a blown head gasket?

In most cases the symptoms of a cylinder head gasket are pretty apparent, some however take a little know how and some tools to confirm. Typical symptoms though are;

  • A cream-like colour and consistency in the oil (usually seen on the engine oil dipstick) or in the cooling system header tank.
  • Coolant overflowing out of the cooling system header tank.
  • An unexplained loss of coolant.
  • Difficulty in starting the engine.
  • Evidence of exhaust gasses in the cooling system.
  • Poor engine compression.

How long does it take to change a head gasket?

The time it takes to carry out a head gasket replacement can range from 5 hours to more than a day. Ultimately, the time that the job will take will depend on a number of factors, like your vehicle's make and model, year, type of engine, as well as other factors. Select your car at the top of this page for information on job time and cost for your vehicle through ClickMechanic.

How often should you replace a head gasket?

As soon as the efficiency of the cylinder head gasket is compromised, the gasket needs to be replaced prior to the engine being used again.

If the oil and coolant has mixed, the lubricating quality of the oil is non existent and its ability to preserve the internal parts of the engine is lost. Continuing to run the engine will ultimately end in severed damage to it. The same goes for the cooling system, with the water channels and radiators becoming blocked. If the coolant is being lost, the engine will overheat. This is not good for the metal components of the engine and the aluminium cylinder head could be damaged beyond repair.

How common is a cylinder head gasket replacement?

Whilst cylinder head gasket replacement is not as common as it was 20 or so years ago, it still occurs. Certain engines are prone to it happening and the use of smaller engines with turbochargers puts increased pressure on the gaskets.

Can I still drive with bad head gasket?

If you suspect there is any issue with the head gasket or there are concerns about its age or condition, book an inspection with a professional mechanic as soon as possible, driving the vehicle may lead to further complications or damage.

How do I prevent head gasket problems?

To help prevent head gasket issues:
* Regularly check and top up the coolant level as required
* Follow the manufacturere recommended service schedule
* Inspect the engine regularly for leaks, to spot any issues early. If you see any, have them repaired as soon as possible.

What does a "blown" head gasket mean?

A blown head gasket is one that has been damaged and is no longer sealing properly. This can cause a variety of engine problems, including overheating, leaks, loss of power and even severe engine damage.

 Will a head gasket 'sealer' fix a blown head gasket?

If you notice a leak with the head gasket, there are certain sealants on the market that can help resolve it temporarily but it is generally not recommended to use this. Improper use of this sealant can lead to further damage, the best thing to do is consult a professional mechanic and get any head gasket issues diagnosed and fixed.

Is a faulty head gasket an MOT failure?

Since the head gasket is not checked during an MOT test, it is likely that a faulty head gasket will pass an MOT. However, keep in mind that a faulty head gasket can cause problems with emissions - which is a critical point on the MOT checklist!

What are the symptoms of a bad cylinder?

Common signs of a bad cylinder include:
* Loss of power
* Poor engine performance
* Coolant leaking
* Overheating of the engine
* Smoke (from tailpipe or from cylinder head itself)

Is it worth fixing a blown head gasket?

While the cost of the head gasket might not be much, the work involved to fix or replace it requires a lot of time and effort which is why the cost can be quite expensive. Whether it is worth replacing or not depends on the value of the vehicle. If the vehicle is old and the cost of the replacing the head gasket is more than the value of the car then it's best to sell or scrap the car.

How much does it cost to repair a blown gasket?

Repairing a head gasket can cost anywhere from £500 to over £2000 depending on the make and model of the car. Most of the cost is attributed to labour as the process can take 8-10 hours as it requires the mechanic to disassemble the top of the engine, and in some cases may have to remove the engine from the car.

Can you still drive a car with a blown head gasket?

it is highly recommended not to do drive the car with a blown head gasket, even if technically it may still be possible to drive the vehicle. The head gasket is responsible for sealing the cylinder head to the engine block and ensuring that the combustion chambers in the engine are sealed. Continuing to drive will cause the engine to run very roughly and will eventually cause it to stall along with causing extensive damage to other parts of the engine unit.

What are the first signs of a blown head gasket?

The first signs of a blown head gasket are usually:

  • Steam and/or water coming from the tailpipe
  • Overheating
  • White smoke coming from the tailpipe
  • Loss of power

What happens if you don't fix head gasket?

If you do not fix a head gasket, it will eventually cause the engine to overheat and fail. It will also cause further engine damage.

How much does it cost to replace a head gasket?

On average, a typical head gasket repair costs £400, with prices ranging from £280 to over £1000. Ultimately, the cost of a cylinder head gasket replacement depends on your car and what parts your car's manufacturer recommends using for the replacement. Find out what you could save by having your cylinder head gasket replaced by ClickMechanic by selecting your car at the top of this page!

One final note, if you are comparing quotations, please ensure that the quotes you have included the cylinder head pressure test and skimming. Not all companies will include this up front, they will add it to the bill after advising you that it needs to be done once they have commenced the work.

Check out the ClickMechanic price for a head gasket repair, and find out what you would pay at a franchise dealer. We use industry standard data & millions of data points so you know what you should be paying. We have head gasket repair prices for 51 different manufacturers.

Name ClickMechanic Click Mechanic average Franchise dealer estimate

Alfa Romeo

£785 £906 - £1,446 Get exact price

Audi

£755 £881 - £1,513 Get exact price

Austin

£424 £693 - £736 Get exact price

Bentley

£1471 £2,360 - £2,601 Get exact price

BMW

£881 £1,090 - £1,873 Get exact price

Cadillac

£802 £1,265 - £1,265 Get exact price

Chevrolet

£572 £680 - £1,046 Get exact price

Chrysler

£803 £941 - £1,580 Get exact price

Citroen

£809 £1,054 - £1,809 Get exact price

Dacia

£606 £739 - £1,345 Get exact price

Daewoo

£391 £531 - £725 Get exact price

Daihatsu

£513 £692 - £1,348 Get exact price

Daimler

£530 £1,018 - £1,018 Get exact price

Dodge

£652 £845 - £1,341 Get exact price

Fiat

£541 £616 - £1,044 Get exact price

Ford

£673 £888 - £1,375 Get exact price

Honda

£769 £890 - £1,382 Get exact price

Hyundai

£709 £869 - £1,437 Get exact price

Isuzu

£717 £1,017 - £1,266 Get exact price

Iveco

£930 £1,422 - £1,720 Get exact price

Jaguar

£946 £1,182 - £1,820 Get exact price

Jeep

£678 £613 - £1,445 Get exact price

Kia

£671 £820 - £1,471 Get exact price

Land Rover

£785 £950 - £1,792 Get exact price

LDV

£639 £956 - £1,156 Get exact price

Lexus

£1291 £1,496 - £2,373 Get exact price

Lotus

£512 £808 - £924 Get exact price

Maserati

£980 £1,314 - £1,805 Get exact price

Mazda

£731 £973 - £1,476 Get exact price

Mercedes-Benz

£854 £1,105 - £1,795 Get exact price

MG

£609 £905 - £1,130 Get exact price

MINI

£745 £927 - £1,429 Get exact price

Mitsubishi

£732 £858 - £1,336 Get exact price

Nissan

£783 £989 - £1,529 Get exact price

Peugeot

£671 £783 - £1,414 Get exact price

Peugeot Talbot

£492 £817 - £822 Get exact price

Porsche

£897 £1,433 - £1,877 Get exact price

Proton

£460 £641 - £789 Get exact price

Renault

£729 £1,000 - £1,476 Get exact price

Rover

£577 £844 - £1,091 Get exact price

Saab

£674 £865 - £1,240 Get exact price

SEAT

£615 £815 - £1,263 Get exact price

Skoda

£546 £528 - £1,169 Get exact price

Smart

£561 £649 - £1,145 Get exact price

Ssangyong

£361 £754 - £754 Get exact price

Subaru

£946 £1,237 - £1,647 Get exact price

Suzuki

£651 £750 - £1,420 Get exact price

Toyota

£913 £1,078 - £1,987 Get exact price

Vauxhall

£573 £725 - £1,022 Get exact price

Volkswagen

£641 £837 - £1,369 Get exact price

Volvo

£804 £1,148 - £1,584 Get exact price

Prices could not be created for 30 models. Show ∨

  • Microcar
  • Metrocab
  • Hummer
  • Reva
  • Asia
  • TVR
  • Ferrari
  • Morgan
  • Buick
  • Lamborghini
  • Pontiac
  • Carbodies
  • DS
  • Mitsubishi Fuso
  • Moskvich
  • Ford US
  • Aixam
  • FSO
  • Maybach
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Santana
  • Tata
  • Great Wall
  • Piaggio
  • Perodua
  • Infiniti
  • Aston Martin
  • Lada
  • Lancia
  • London Taxi's International

Estimates on repair costs, such as the above results for a head gasket repair, are created by combining data from multiple third-party sources. The actual cost of using your local repair providers may be outside of the estimated range. We provide estimates on repair costs for information only and accept no liability for any inaccuracies or errors. If you think an estimate is incorrect, please contact us to let us know.

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Recent Head Gasket repair quotes

These recent quotes were taken from our quote engine which uses third-party industry standard data on repair times, along with a live parts retailer, and a regional labour rate to build an accurate free quote. We are constantly improving our quote engine, so please let us know if a price seems incorrect.

£680.84

Cylinder head gasket replacement

Jeep Renegade
Halifax
£1,480.88

Cylinder head gasket replacement

Vauxhall Vivaro
Hemel Hempstead
£640.66

Cylinder head gasket replacement

Saab 9-3
Halifax
£388.04

Cylinder head gasket replacement

Vauxhall Corsa
Liverpool