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CostHelper > Cars  > Head Gasket Replacement

Head Gasket Replacement Cost


How Much Does Head Gasket Replacement Cost?

 
average costGasket: $5-$500high costLabor: $375-$960
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A head gasket -- also know as a cylinder-head gasket -- is placed between an engine's cylinder head and engine block to prevent fluids such as oil and coolant from leaking out or unwanted fluids from seeping in. Replacing a head gasket typically requires removal of the valve cover and any associated bolts. In many cases, the thermostat and its gasket are also repaired, and the cylinder head itself may need to be machined or replaced to repair any damage.

Typical costs:

  • Hiring a mechanic to replace a cylinder-head gasket typically costs about $1,000, depending on the labor rate at the shop that performs the work, and if the cylinder head itself needs to be machined or replaced. The cylinder head must be removed, and the thermostat and its gasket are often replaced as part of the repair. In addition, the cylinder head may need to be machined or replaced to repair any cracking or warping. Many shops will also flush the coolant and replace it as well, which can cost about $50-$150. Many shops will include this in the repair cost.
  • Purchased separately, a cylinder-head gasket[1] can cost $5-$500. Higher-priced units are full gasket sets including additional parts, such as seals, and the lower-cost units include only the gasket. Thermostats[2] can cost $30-$75, while thermostat gaskets run from $1 or less to about $15.
  • Expect to pay $75 -$120 per hour for labor, depending on whether the work is performed at a dealership or an independent shop. It depends on the model, but the job can take 5-8 hours. If the cylinder head needs to be machined, that will add extra time.
  • Dealerships typically charge more for repairs not covered by a factory warranty, but their technicians are intimately familiar with the brand of cars and use factory parts. Independent repair shops may charge less, but they may use aftermarket parts, which are manufactured to factory specifications, but are not made by the automaker.
Related articles: Radiator Flush, Flushing a Transmission, Oil Change, Radiator, Towing a Car, Replacing a Transmission

What should be included:
  • The price for a head gasket replacement should include the cost of the gasket or gasket set, coolant, and a thermostat and thermostat gasket if the thermostat is replaced as part of the repair.
  • If possible, it is best to get an estimate before approving any work. However, if the head gasket has "blown" and is leaking coolant, that may not be possible.
Additional costs:
  • In many cases, the thermostat and gasket may be replaced and the coolant may be flushed, although many shops would include this in the price of the job. A coolant flush, if not included, typically costs $50-$145.
Discounts:
  • Some repair shops might off a discount on repairs for regular customers, usually about 10%. For example, some shops offer discounts for AAA members[3] .
  • Replacing a cylinder-head gasket is a difficult job best left to professional mechanics or those with advanced auto-repair experience. Part of the reason for this is that there is always a chance that the head must be machined, which needs to be done by a professional. For those who are skilled enough to attempt the repair at home, a series of videos explains
Shopping for head gasket replacement:
  • The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a non-profit trade group for technicians and other automotive service professionals, has a searchable directory[4] of certified shops.
  • Several online retailers, including Auto Parts Warehouse[5] and J.C. Whitney[6] sell gaskets, gasket sets, and thermostats and gaskets.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.autopartswarehouse.com/search/?N=0&Ntt=cylinder+head+gasket&Nr=AND%28universal:0%29...
  2.  www.autopartswarehouse.com/vehicle/2000/bmw/528i/base/6_cyl_2-dot-8l.html?M=dGhlcm1vc3R...
  3.  www.aaa.com/scripts/WebObjects.dll/ZipCode.woa/wa/route?rclub=065&stop=yes&rurl=www.our...
  4.  www.ase.com/Landing-Pages/Car-Owners/Find-a-Repair-Shop/Shop-Locator.aspx
  5.  www.autopartswarehouse.com/vehicle/2000/bmw/528i/base/6_cyl_2-dot-8l.html?M=dGhlcm1vc3R...
  6.  www.jcwhitney.com/jcwhitney/textsearch_result.jcw?sku=cylinder+head+gasket&shopid=10000...
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