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The complete head gasket repair guide

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 11 months ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Repair
Head Gasket

Discover how you could potentially save yourself a huge repair bill with the WhoCanFixMyCar guide to head gaskets

Guide Contents

What is a head gasket?

Why is damage to a head gasket a major problem

Head gasket repair cost by region

Head gasket repair cost by brand

Signs of a faulty head gasket

How to fix a head gasket


What is a head gasket?

The head gasket is responsible for sealing pressure within a car’s engine as well as the distribution of oil and engine coolant.

Every time you turn on your engine the head gasket has to operate within very high temperatures and pressures, which is exactly what it is designed to do. The engine of your car needs to be cooled constantly as it relies on combustion for power, and the head gasket is the core component in performing this job.


Why is damage to a head gasket a major problem?

If the head gasket is damaged, the engine will quickly overheat and serious damage will be caused. Overheating in the engine of your car will lead to a loss of compression, the mixing of oil, water and coolant as well as a reduction in lubrication.

The head gasket is a very complex piece of equipment so a variety of materials are needed to build it. It has to be able to function normally at extreme temperatures and pressure. It also needs to be resistant to all of the chemicals and oils which rush around your car engine.

As a result, gaskets differ from one car to the next as the demands of each engine are unique. Car manufacturers like Ford, Vauxhall and BMW spend millions of pounds every year in the research and development of head gaskets to help manage the pressure and cooling of engines.


Head gasket repair cost by region*

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Head gasket repair cost by brand*

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* These tables use data from quotes provided on WhoCanFixMyCar between 02/07/2021 and 30/09/2021


Signs of a faulty head gasket

Fortunately, there are a few signs that the head gasket in your car is struggling, meaning you can have the problem seen to before it develops into a serious issue.

  • The temperature gauge is higher than normal.

  • You can see bubbles rising once the cap has been removed from the car radiator.

  • Your car is chugging or suffers from a loss of power.

  • There is engine coolant or oil on your spark plugs.

  • Your engine oil is thicker than usual – You can check by using a dipstick.

  • A lot of white smoke is coming from the exhaust or liquid is dripping from the same place.

Head Gasket Diagnostic Services


How to fix a head gasket

Once more, if you notice any of these issues, find a local mechanic as quickly as possible using WhoCanFixMyCar. You can get a range of bespoke quotes from the best garages near you in no time and it is completely free.

All you have to do is enter your car registration and a few contact details for mechanics to send estimates directly to you.


Head gasket repair costs

Finding a mechanic that you can trust to do a good job and charge a fair price is not always easy. Our website simplifies the process by offering a comparison page that displays prices as well as reviews from local garages and mobile mechanics.