Head gasket replacement reasonable price/worth it?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by lydia9790, Jan 10, 2021.

  1. lydia9790

    lydia9790 New Member

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    Hello I purchased a 2010 Toyota Prius 11 months ago. Current mileage is 206,885. I got a full diagnosis done at the mechanic (after taking it for a second opinion) and it was confirmed that a head gasket replacement is needed. They found they can visually see cylinder #1 spark plug is washed and fluid is in cylinder #1. And after performing a leak down test, verified head gasket failure.

    Now I am able to make a claim with my warranty and they will cover up to $3,000 of the repair costs. The mechanic I went to quoted me $4K-$5k. According to what I have read on this seems steep. I went to another mechanic who refused to do head gasket replacements on priuses as he had claimed that a lot of times other things go wrong afterwards and it isn't worth it. I am going to reach out to two other shops that I know do head gasket replacements for Toyota Prius to get quotes. Another thing to consider with the price is I live in the San Francisco area where everything is extra expensive for no reason, so I think this may also possibly be the reason for the higher quote.

    I don't know much about cars, but I know that I can't afford to buy another used car this year, it could be something I could handle in the next year or two, but not anytime soon and I need my car for work. Also considering $3K will be covered by warranty, I can handle the $1K-$2K out of pocket costs. I just wanted advice from those more familiar with head gasket replacements and who have done it, how long did the car last after and is the quote reasonable for the Bay Area? Thanks.
     
  2. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Welcome to Prius Chat(y).

    Have you tried @Gasket masters :whistle:?

    They actually perform the work on your Prius as a mobile mechanic service:).

    They are probably on Craigslist too;).

    I'd look to have your egr circuit cleaned to ensure you don't have additional issues with that going forward(y).
     
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  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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  4. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    I consider that part of the egr circuit ;).

    But good to ensure understanding(y).
     
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  5. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    If you have $3k worth of insurance Gasketmasters is a good option for you.

    However, most quality mechanics, dealerships and I all agree just changing a head gasket on a Prius is a gamble, especially on a 2010-14 model. The head can be warped, a connecting rod can be bent, the rings on these years were bad from the factory, etc. The engine is worn even before the gasket failed. So the higher priced quotes usually mean a different, lower mile engine, rebuilt with new rings, machined head, all new gaskets, cleaned egr, intake manifold, etc etc. A rebuilt lower mile engine that you can count on for 100k-200k more miles. They don't want a disappointed customer. They want to do work they can warranty.

    Some will say jump in and do it yourself or find the neighborhood guy. Might work, might end up blowing a head gasket again. We have a current thread with a guy who is on his third head gasket in 20k miles.

    In your case, I might trust the experience and warranty of Gasketmasters (San Jose area) to fix the head gasket and install a replacement head. I understand their pricing should stay within your $3k coverage. Gasketmasters will let you know if it needs more and can change the engine if they find a bent rod.

    By the way, you need to make five posts before we can see your responses in a timely manner.
     
    #5 rjparker, Jan 10, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    One thing: his Exhaust Gas Recirculation circuit had never been dealt with and (not surprisingly) was near-totally clogged. This time around (assuming he does take the plunge again), he is cleaning the Exhaust Gas Recirculation with the head gasket replacement.
     
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  7. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    I sold my mechanic my 2012 Prius for $400 because it had front end damage and a seized motor.

    I had read in the past about people putting gen 4 (2017+) Prius engines in and told my mechanic about it. At first it didn't click for him.

    Then I reiterated: The price is hundreds cheaper, it's a 3 year old motor, it's upgraded with no oil burning issues, and they come with like 40-50k miles on them vs. 140-160k on the gen 3 motors.

    Anyways, he got one on car-part.com for $800 with 40k miles on it and said it's a very easy swap (he's not done yet tho).

    If your mechanic charges any more than $1000 (well, I'll say $1500) then he'd be ripping you off. It's a very easy swap.

    So for about $2000 you could have a 2017 Prius Engine inside your 2010. Just something to think about.

    (I sent my mechanic this PDF: https://attachments.priuschat.com/attachment-files/2020/02/182535_Gen_4_Engine_into_Gen_3_Prius_Partial_Guide_-_by_PriusChat_member_Alexander_D.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2y86ZiQSHG833VptlT89MQ2e1Ar8BkKxXvCxVQDOoFpRAKxVM4-81uiXg )

    He's not done yet cause he has about 10k other jobs going on....Just constantly doing motor/trans swaps and mechanical work. He'd probably charge me $400 or maybe $500 to do a prius motor...Said very easy. Now that 5.3L engine rebuild on the suburban is a much more difficult job.

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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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  9. lydia9790

    lydia9790 New Member

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    Thanks! I am looking into them and a few other repair shops

    Yeah a rebuilt lower mile engine seems like the way to go. If all goes smoothly with repairs I would keep the car another year before selling it and it seems that just changing the head gasket may not be enough to last that long. My warranty also ends in a month so I'd rather do the most work/cost on the car now and have more covered, rather than having to come work on this issue again in a few months if something comes up with the head gasket again. I'm not a DIY person and with mechanics a lot of it for me is trust and I do trust the place/people from the place I got the second opinion from. I also know someone they did head gasket replacement for before.

    I'm a bit concerned with Gasketmasters because although a few of you have mentioned they are good, everything I've read online in terms of their reviews seem to be the opposite. Their videos on youtube are really informative though.
     
    #9 lydia9790, Jan 10, 2021
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2021
  10. lydia9790

    lydia9790 New Member

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    Okay I'll look more into this thank you! That does seem like a better option.
     
  11. Mr. F

    Mr. F New Member

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    My personal experience with Gasket Masters has been exactly the same as most of the other reviews online.
    They replaced the head gasket on my vehicle last month, and in about two weeks I started having issues way worse than before. Misfires became more frequent, and the car started going through coolant so quickly that I have to now keep a can of it in the trunk all the time. Walt, the guy from most of the YouTube videos, was initially very communicative, but stopped responding the minute I mentioned there was a problem. I have not heard back from him or his business since.
     
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  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Gasket Masters in northern California worked on a Texas car?
     
  13. lydia9790

    lydia9790 New Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience yes I have decided not to go with Gasket Masters. I found a mechanic that I trust/has good quality and was lower priced and works with my warranty. I will only be paying a couple hundred bucks in the end out of pocket! Plan to definitely sell this car later this year as it is towards the end of its life. But want to get at least a few more months out of it, especially as my warranty still covers the majority of the repairs and I would be able to get more money out of it selling it with a replaced head gasket rather than a blown one
     
  14. Mr. F

    Mr. F New Member

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    They have evidently expanded operations. They will work on your car at your residence.
     
  15. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    If you paid by credit card you can call the bank from the card and explain the problem.
    They will put a hold of the funds until the problem is resolved.

     
  16. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Sounds like they are franchising their business model. There is no way they are driving that far for a one off head gasket repair. I know Texas is rather lax on consumer protection and the contractors know it.
     
  17. Mr. F

    Mr. F New Member

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    I wish I'd paid by card, but I didn't. I'm going to replace the HG myself once it gets a little warmer outside and get the head inspected for cracks this time.
    If I were to believe what they said, they are currently operating out of locations in CA, KS and one other state.
     
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