By October 24, 2007 5 Comments Read More →

How Much Should Head Gaskets Cost?

Hello again Mr. Davis,

In your opinion, how long should an experienced mechanic take to replace & install a new head gasket set, and what would a fair price be?

Warm Regards,



Hey there Denise,

That is a super tricky question and really depends on the make and model of the vehicle, how much regular maintenance has been done, what is the labor rate of the shop performing the repair etc. etc.

I would say that $1,000 would be a fair MINIMUM charge for replacing a fairly typical head gasket on an American or Japanese 4 cylinder engine and $1500 minimum for a 6 or 8 cylinder gas engine.

The price escalates rather quickly because so many other parts and pieces of the engine have to be removed to get access to the head gaskets. Since the mechanic has already removed all these extra parts (and you have already paid the labor to remove it) now is a great time to replace them….at an additional cost of course.

Some of the parts I am talking about are:

  • Spark plugs and spark plug wires
  • Water pump
  • Belts and hoses
  • Radiator (might be a good time to replace or have professionally cleaned)
  • Thermostat
  • Tensioners and pulleys

The main cause of head gasket failure is due to engine overheating. You have to find the culprit of the overheating…or you will just damage the new head gasket.

I always send the radiator out for cleaning or just replace it altogether when I do a head gasket replacement. I also send the cylinder heads to a machine shop and have a valve job done. This gives my customer a much better job and usually only costs $200 or so more to do this at this time.


Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Austin Davis

    Can you see inside the radiator? is it low on coolant, did you have to add a lot of coolant? if so, get a cooling system pressure test to see if you can locate the leak. if there is a leak it will not allow the system to hold pressure…and run hot.

    I would also check the electric cooling fan at the radiator and make sure it cycles on and off when the engine is warm and sitting at idle. if there is a restriction in the radiator the coolant can not circulate inside the engine, thus overheat.

    a 13 year old radiator would be a little suspect for a restriction at the bottom.

    Check out my youtube video about overheating and see if it will help narrow things down for us.

  • Davie

    I have a 2000 Monte Carlo 6 cylinder and it is saying hot coolant i jus recently put in new coolant and there shouldnt be a problem with the head gasket so why would my car have the hot coolant signal on

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