Q: Replacement cost for head gasket

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Vehicle overheated possibly due to loose radiater filling cap. Mechanic on site says the head gasket has been damaged and will need replacing. Otherwise other parts seem fine.

My car has 200000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

If the vehicle engine has overheated so severely that the head gasket was ruined, the cylinder head and block could be warped and such would have to be corrected prior to applying a new head gasket. Cylinder head gasket replacement requires strict adherence to Factory Service Manual specifications and instructions regarding block and head flatness. The latter surfaces have to be carefully measured before gasket replacement is even contemplated; these surfaces have to be flat within .002 inches, which is one-half the thickness of a human hair. Also, head bolt replacement and torque sequence, surface preparation (surfaces have to be mirror-like before gasket is applied), and so forth, are all critical. Unless the conditions are perfect, leaks are actually common. That’s why a lot of shops won’t do the work because it takes too much effort. If you have been told by a mechanic that the "solution" in your circumstance is to merely change the gasket and no mention was made of the fact that the head and block must be measured, and possibly repaired if they are out of spec, run for the exits and find a mechanic who is willing to do the repair according to the instructions. If you desire that this problem be diagnosed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request an engine overheating diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will identify the problem and estimate a repair strategy to get your car running again. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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