2002 Head gasket problem

Our repairman just told me my head gaskets are leaking. Said it would cost $2500 to fix and if the engine had problems, over $5000 for an engine. This car has 220,000 miles on it. Any suggestions?

There isn’t really any good way to respond to that without knowing a lot more.

Start with what kind of vehicle it is. Suggestions will vary a lot if you have, say, a Mercedes as opposed to, say, a Kia.

One also needs to know what kind of shape the rest of car is in. How is the suspension? Brakes? Tires? Transmission? Etc. What kinds of work have been done lately? Any? Is there a lot of money in it recently? Have you looked around the used car market to find out what the car’s worth would be if it had a functional engine?

In short, figuring out what to do involves a lot of considerations.

Either way, unless you trust your repairman completely - and maybe even if you do - it woulddn’t hurt to get a second opinion and some other prices.

It is a 2002 Toyota Camry in fairly good shape. It does have 220,000 miles on it and have had recommended oil changes throughout the life of the car. Suspension, brakes and transmission are fine. Just put new tires on it.
It’s not worth $5,000 but I really don’t want to buy another car right now.

What are the symptoms? What did the repairman do to diagnose the cause?

This sound strangely suspicious to me. Provide wll the detail you can; what happened, what was done.

Another thing that sounds suspicious is $2,500 to do the head gaskets and $5,000 for…? To replace the engine? With a rebuilt? Those numbers are both high.

I’m guessing that if you ask around you could get a used motor dropped into it for less than the $2,500.

$2500 is steep for a head gasket that is a V6. Its very steep for a 4 cylinder Camry.

Get another opinion and estimate if warranted.

Also compare warranties on both jobs and think of how much longer you’ll own the car. Here at my ford dealer we sell more reman engines ( 3yr 36,000mi warranty ) than engine repairs ( 12m 12,000mi warr. ) often because of the logic concerning all the other engine parts ; if these parts are worn out now, just how much longer are all the other 220,000 mile parts going to last ?

  • Not keeping the car long ? go with a used engine with much less mileage.( get some kind of warranty or guarantee. you could be buying more of the same problems you just got rid of. )
  • Keeping the car because it’s good otherwise ? at 220,000 miles I’d choose the reman engine.