Head Gasket Replacement Basics

Head gasket replacement is one of the most difficult automobile jobs that a person can take on. That's why head gasket replacement is so expensive when you take it to the shop; it is in an area of your car that is extremely difficult to get to, meaning you have to dismantle and reassemble portions of your car. If you feel comfortable doing this, or you're a do-it-yourselfer who feels like you can manage anything, you can give it a shot and save yourself some cash.

Here's the breakdown on exactly where you're going to find your head gasket. It will be in between the engine block and the cylinder head. Unfortunately, there are pistons in the engine block that are connected to rods. The cylinder head is attached to your engine and consists of valves, which regulate air and fuel. In other words, you have to be very, very careful.

Every car will be slightly different, so you'll want to consult a service manual. You may be able to get directions specific to your vehicle online, as well as tips on how other people replaced a head gasket in your type of car or truck.

The first thing you'll have to do is access the head gasket. To do this you'll have to remove things - like the exhaust manifold and the intake. Make sure that you mark everything that you take out so that you know not only where it goes, but what position it should be in once it's replaced.

Once you've accessed the head, check it for any problems that may require work you can't do. Consider sending it out to be fixed if you can't handle a problem, such as cracks.

Now you want to prepare the area where you'll be replacing the head gasket. Make sure it's clean of debris. Use a piece of wire to ensure there are no loose pieces stuck inside of bolt holes. You can put the head gasket in. Take care to make sure that it is in the right position and tighten the bolts.

Keep in mind that this may sound much simpler than it is, depending on your knowledge of cars and your ability to do things yourself. Good luck!

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