2006 PT Cruiser Head Gasket

I know I have a blown head gasket on my 2006 PT Cruiser. How can I determine the amount of engine damage caused? I’d like to determine if this is going to be a head gasket repair or a complete engine rebuild–if it is the latter, the value of the car really doesn’t warrant doing the work. Suggestions/tips/opinions?

Thanks in advance!

Was this blown head gasket associated with overheating? If so, you may be looking at a warped or cracked head. If not, it could just be a simple head gasket replacement with no actual damage.

It depends if the head gasket leak is internal or external, and how long the vehicle was driven with the head gasket leak.


If you tell us the mileage, history , symptoms , and how long did you drive around with a blown head gasket, is the engine oil milky ? Why do you think you will need other repairs ? Was the engine overheated ?

A friend of my wife had this happen on that engine, and caught it right away. She spent $900 to get it fixed and had no problems afterwards. If you keep driving with an overheated engine it will likely be toast and not worth fixing.

169K miles. The initial indication was that my SO stopped for gas ~1 mile from home and heard a gurgling sound. He checked under the hood and saw some bubbling in the coolant reservoir, but nothing else. He then left and about 1/4-mile later the temp gauge kicked over to H, so he stopped and checked again, noticed the coolant reservoir was empty, and added a gallon of water that was stored in the car. This let him get the car home, but he started having engine knocking.

The next day, unsure what was going on, he checked the oil (history of the oil light going off and on), which was milky, so we immediately figured head gasket. He drove the car to a shop for them to check it out, they said there was no coolant, he had a leaky head gasket, and he’d probably need a whole new engine because he probably warped the head. They topped off the coolant again and he drove it back home, with the continued knocking but no other issues. (So total driving with the knocking–but no other temp gauge alerts–was approx. 10-12 miles).

He has since gotten a new auto, but we’re trying to determine whether there’s any sense to looking at repairing this one (I have a nephew about to begin driving and thought if it was worth the repair, this could be a decent starter car).

Again, thanks!

If it has started knocking, I’d start looking for another car.

I’d have to hear the knocking for myself to be 100% sure, but overheating, milky coolant, and knocking generally mean it’s the end of the line for that engine.

I would scrap the car or get a price for installation of a good used engine.

@Cardd “engine knocking” means the bearings are quite possibly damaged

If the engine oil was milky the engine is probably done.

When coolant mixes with oil, it disperses the oil from around the rod, main, and cam bearings. And water is a lousy lubricant for engine bearings.


The engine was toast when he drove it until it started knocking. Average trade in for the base model with this mileage is below $1000, clean retail from a dealer is $3300. If someone tell you they can replace the engine for $2500 it will cost $3000 before it is done. I liked my PT but this one is done.