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Honda with a blown head gasket

My 1997 Honda Accord has 160k miles and has been diagnosed to have a blown head gasket…blowing smoke, high temp…my mechanic is concerned that simply replacing the head gasket for about $1300 will just lead to a problem at a bottom seals since that will now be a weak point. Is the a valid concern? He suggests replacing the motor with a used or remanufactured motor or rebuilding mine. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

I don’t see a connection to “bottom seals” and I’m not sure what your mechanic is referring to. At 160K miles the piston rings could be getting worn. Was the car using oil, any blue smoke out the tailpipe before the head gasket let go?

I think he is telling you the $1,300 for a new head gasket isn’t a motor rebuild and no guarantee you’ll get a lot more years and miles from the current motor after spending money for the repair.

I’m not sure I agree with his assessment, but he is looking at the motor and has more history about the car than I do.

I’m not sure what your mechanic meant by “bottom seals”. Perhaps he said “bottom end”? If your engine has been severely overheated, or overheated repeatedly, you may have damaged your rod and crank bearings or sludged up some of your oil galleys. This can lead to bottom end failure, which is doomsday for your engine. If you did not continue to drive the car with an overheating problem, but rather got it to the shop right away, and never overheated it to the point where there was steam/smoke billowing from under the hood or caused the car to shut itself down, you probably have nothing to worry about. By the way, $1,300 is a good price for this job. If you have it done, make sure a new timing belt, tensioner, and water pump are installed as well, so you don’t have to worry about those for another 5-6 years.

I’, inclined to agree with the others that there was a misunderstandong of exactly what he said.

I wanted to add that a remanufactured motor is better than a used motor but iwll cost more. Whether it’s worth the extra expense on a car this age depends on the condition of the rest of the vehicle. If it’s in excellent shape and you want to keep it a lot longer, remanufactured is the way to go. If the rest of the car is also tired and you’re just trying to get a few more uears out of it, a used motor may be the best option.

It sounds like the mechanic is being forthright with you. You may want to ask his opinion on this. He’s “hands-on” with the car and can give you a better assessment of whether a remanufactured motor is worth the added cost.