Ann Arbor Head Gasket Repair
Do you have a car that constantly overheats, constantly spews dark or white exhaust smoke, or just runs poorly? If so, your problem may be a blown head gasket. A head gasket is a part (made of copper, steel, graphite or asbestos in older vehicles) that is placed between a cylinder head and engine block to form a secure seal between those components to seal and maintain the pressures that build up in the combustion chambers and the cooling system. As you may or may not know, a car’s engine has several gasses and fluids that move within it: anti-freeze or coolant, the engine’s oil, and a combination of air and fuel. Since these liquids serve specific and distinct purposes, they should never be allowed to mix. A properly functioning head gasket keeps the oil, coolant, air and fuel effectively isolated. If these fluids ever combine, you are in for trouble. To repair this problem, the engine must be disassembled. The cost of the head gasket alone may be minimal, but since many mechanical man hours are required to repair it, costs for repair or engine rebuild is high.
Often times this problem presents when the engine gets too hot. The temperature gauge on your dashboard will alert you to the problem. The overheating may be caused by owners regularly monitoring proper coolant levels in your radiator or you may have a leak. In addition to an overheating issue, you may be able to see blue smoke (from oil leaking into the cylinders) or white smoke (from coolant seeping into the cylinders) coming from the exhaust pipe, smelling a burning oil smell, detecting gasses coming from the radiator when the engine is cold, having to constantly add engine coolant to your radiator, or noting that a cold engine stutters, jolts, or stalls, or you just have reduced fuel economy.
You need to take any of these warning signs seriously. If you don’t, a major expense is in your future. The longer that you ignore these symptoms, the potentially more significant the repair costs can be. As these fluids seep into areas that they shouldn’t be, they can cause more extensive damage. If your oil is compromised (coolant mixing with oil), it’s effectiveness in lubricating the engine’s parts is reduced. If coolant or engine oil gets mixed in the engine’s cylinder, performance suffers. Relying on the training of a highly experienced professional is critical to getting the problem properly identified and repaired in the most cost-effective manner.
Mike Allen of “Popular Mechanics” outlined the recommended schedule for maintaining your cooling system. By following these recommendations, you can hope to avoid being stranded and extend the life of your vehicle. Start by taking the cap off of your radiator. Look at the color of the coolant. If the color something other than green, red, or orange, your coolant needs changing. A complete flush of the system is recommended very two years or 30,000 miles. The Ph balance of coolant should be 9.5. Left unattended, a blown head gasket can lead to having to replace the entire engine or having your car towed to the junk yard.
As many of our customers know, we work on Subaru vehicles every day. These cars, in particular seem prone to head gasket issues in vehicles that have between 125,000 and 150,000 miles. We’ve literally done hundreds of these repairs for customers and know exactly what to do to get you back on the road for a long time, and at a price that is fair. When pricing a head gasket replacement, the actual repair can vary by as much as $750, depending on what ancillary parts are included as part of the repair. On a typical Subaru, we also recommend doing the timing belt, water pump, and all rotating parts on the front of the engine. We also machine the heads themselves as well as other preventative tasks. This might add a slight amount to the total bill, but in our experience, provides the best value for our customers. If you are planning to keep your car for a long time, it just makes sense to do these extra tasks. Be warry of someone that gives you a price that seems too good to be true!
If you suspect something wrong with your vehicle’s cooling system, call Convenience Auto Service. We offer an honest no-charge assessment. We have qualified personnel to quickly, and cost-effectively remedy your problem. You will know what the repair will cost before we start any repair. And, best of all we stand behind our work. We have the best warranty in town; 3 years or 36,000 miles. Call us today at either of our convenient Ann Arbor locations: South Campus, 1225 Jewett, (734) 769-0380 or our Liberty Street shop, 2280 W. Liberty, (734) 769-0170.