Head Gasket

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Kassee | 07:31 Tue 22nd Nov 2016 | Motoring
8 Answers
My son has a Ford Focus (cost him £4000 about 2 years ago and the head gasket has gone. He has left it in a garage who says they will repair it at a cost of £700 which he has agreed to. But now they are delaying the repair. The car has been waiting in the garage for two weeks. My son has difficulty getting too and from work each day and is restricted at weekends from coming home (he lives in digs some distant away).

My question is (1) can the head gasket always be mended successfully (my daughter had a car years ago where the head gasket was mended and then blew again very quickly and the car was a right off.

(2) if the garage keeps delaying, what can my son do? He cant drive the car somewhere else to be seen ? What can he do - is there anything ?


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Replacing a head gasket is not difficult and shouldn't take more than about an hour or so. However. The cylinder head may need to be reground to maske sure it is perfectly flat. If it isn't the gasket will blow again quite quickly. Two weeks is too long. I would advise your son to ask what the delay is. £700 seems rather a lot. Parts and labour about £200.
A head gasket blowing can cause the head to warp sometimes the head can be skimmed back to being correct (a head is milled on a machine taking off metal until correct) but sometimes it cannot be repaired.Difficult to tell without taking the head off .
The cylinder head is usually only damaged if the car has been abused ie, driven for a time after the symptoms appeared. In nearly all cases simply replacing the gasket is sufficient - in your daughter's case incompetence on the part of the garage comes to mind and she should have taken it further.
What can your son do? He can tell the garage to do the job within the next 7 days or he will have the car collected by another garage who will repair it. Any garage can collect the car with a breakdown truck, just as they would if the car were broken down at the roadside. The current garage has no right to hang onto the car.
>>> £700 seems rather a lot

Not particularly, Waterboatman. The head gasket went on my Ford Escort six years ago. At the time I was working as a relief delivery driver for a Ford main dealer, taking car parts out to lots of local garages. So, as I went around them, I asked each of them what they'd charge if I'd taken my car to them. The lowest figure I was quoted was £600 + VAT (= £720), with most places quoting at least £800 + VAT (= £960). I eventually got my wonderful local guy to do it for a total figure of just £487 but £700 is definitely very much at the lower end of the figures that independent garages around Suffolk and Essex were quoting six years ago.

Like Kassee's son, I was hoping that the job could be done fairly quickly but the head grinding part of the work had to be outsourced to a specialist firm, meaning that my car was off the road for the better part of a fortnight.

It could well be that the garage Kassee's son is using also outsources head grinding work, with that being the cause of the delay.
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The reason the work is taking so long - is because the garage is busy - they havent started work on it yet.
Kassee, it could work out cheaper putting in a replacement Unit, once a H.Gasket has gone at times the Engine is never right, what has caused this gasket to blow?
He can request the car to be removed BUT the garage could charge him storage.
When the head gasket went in my beloved car, I bought a newish engine and replace the whole lot - the engine cost £300 and came with 6 month guarantee, far less than the skimming etc for the head gasket.

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