Is head gasket repair on '98 Neon a bad investment?

dodge
neon
gaskets

#1

Hello,



I have a 1998 Dodge Neon with a bad oil leak. I was told by my mechanic … whom I trust as he has always been honest with me and has thoroughly explained any work that needed to be done … that I need to replace my Head Gasket. The job would cost me between $700 and $800 dollars … which is a steal compared to the $1,200 that an authorized dealer was ready to charge me. On that note … it was my mechanic that told me to first check with an authorized dealer as he has seen this problem with many neons and has stated that it is a design defect, thus, he thought that they may have had a recall or at the least … provided a substantial discount in the costs of repair … however, they have done neither!



Though the car has two other problems … I see them as minor - 1)the gauges fail periodically, thus, I have to give a good “Fronzie” type bang on the dashboard to get them “online” again (my mechanic told me that it had to do with the computer chips … thus, they couldn’t fix it but, the dealer’s mechanic would know how … yeah right … for how much???)and 2) when it rains, the floor of the backseat behind the driver gets flooded (I believe that this is due to a shoddy job regarding the installation of a new windshield a few years ago - though I have a lifetime warranty … I am now residing in Florida and the job was done in Boston!!! I’ve tried to seal it with a silicon based car window sealer I purchased at Auto Zone, however, that doesn’t seem to have worked … and when it’s really raining, the inside of the trunk sometimes gets wet on the same side as well … though, not flooded).



The thing is, I am moving to the DC Metro area soon (thus, less rainfall), the car only has 60,000 miles on it (before I moved to FL., I solely drove it to get to the commuter rail 5 minutes away and on weekends), and … most importantly … it will cost much more to replace the car than replace the head gasket.



Thus, my question is this … aside from the other problems with the car which I see as minor as the car will again only be used as a “station car” and on weekends, save for the occasional day trip … would it be wise to invest in the repair of the head gasket as I’ve been told (not by my mechanic but by friends and relatives) that after such a repair in any car, “it’s all down hill from there”. Is there any truth to this statement? Will the repair of this sort solely be money wasted as the car will begin to fail rapidly after such an “operation”?



Thanks so much for your help and advice :o) Sorry my message was so long! :o(



Sincerely,



Paz


#2

Hello,

I have a 1998 Dodge Neon with a bad oil leak. I was told by my mechanic … whom I trust as he has always been honest with me and has thoroughly explained any work that needed to be done … that I need to replace my Head Gasket. The job would cost me between $700 and $800 dollars … which is a steal compared to the $1,200 that an authorized dealer was ready to charge me. On that note … it was my mechanic that told me to first check with an authorized dealer as he has seen this problem with many neons and has stated that it is a design defect, thus, he thought that they may have had a recall or at the least … provided a substantial discount in the costs of repair … however, they have done neither!

Though the car has two other problems … I see them as minor - 1)the gauges fail periodically, thus, I have to give a good “Fronzie” type bang on the dashboard to get them “online” again (my mechanic told me that it had to do with the computer chips … thus, they couldn’t fix it but, the dealer’s mechanic would know how … yeah right … for how much???)and 2) when it rains, the floor of the backseat behind the driver gets flooded (I believe that this is due to a shoddy job regarding the installation of a new windshield a few years ago - though I have a lifetime warranty … I am now residing in Florida and the job was done in Boston!!! I’ve tried to seal it with a silicon based car window sealer I purchased at Auto Zone, however, that doesn’t seem to have worked … and when it’s really raining, the inside of the trunk sometimes gets wet on the same side as well … though, not flooded).

The thing is, I am moving to the DC Metro area soon (thus, less rainfall), the car only has 60,000 miles on it (before I moved to FL., I solely drove it to get to the commuter rail 5 minutes away and on weekends), and … most importantly … it will cost much more to replace the car than replace the head gasket.

Thus, my question is this … aside from the other problems with the car which I see as minor as the car will again only be used as a “station car” and on weekends, save for the occasional day trip … would it be wise to invest in the repair of the head gasket as I’ve been told (not by my mechanic but by friends and relatives) that after such a repair in any car, “it’s all down hill from there”. Is there any truth to this statement? Will the repair of this sort solely be money wasted as the car will begin to fail rapidly after such an “operation”?

Thanks so much for your help and advice :o) Sorry my message was so long! :o(

Sincerely,

Paz


#3

Ignore your friends on this. If the head gasket job is done properly there is no “downhill from there.” Yes, there may be other failures, but those will just be typical 10 year old car type things. Hoses and belts may be getting dried out and need replacing soon, for example. The gauge thing is likely a loose ground or connector in the dash somewhere. Those can be difficult to find, but not really hard to fix once you do find it. No computer chips involved really, just basic wiring.

The water things sounds to me like a problem with the door gasket either the drivers or drivers side rear door and/or the trunk lid. Those gaskets can also get old and crack with age, just like hoses and belts.

Short answer, yes, I’d fix it if you still like the car and don’t want to spend the money for a new(er) car.


#4

Ten years old also means timing belt/water pump idler bearing all should be done as well under normal maintenance. So if all that work can be incorporated with the head gasket, and the mechanic can keep the total cost under a thousand dollars, then the head gasket will only cost you about $300.00 because all the other work would be needed anyway. My 95 Stratus with the 2.0 sohc engine has 150K on it, the head gasket was replaced under warranty at 36K. So you should still have many miles left.


#5

Of course do it. Doing a head gasket means that is one thing that is good. It does not mean anything good or bad about the rest of the car. Consider what the car is worth on the market and to you with and without the work. Then go ahead and do it.