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Dealing with a Blown Head Gasket: Choosing the Right Head Gasket Fix

When talking about a blown head gasket, the first question we get asked about our head gasket solutions is, “How do I know which one to choose?”

Good question. We have three main products to address blown head gasket issues: our Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Repair (p/n 1100), Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Fix (p/n 1111) and Bar’s Leaks Professional Carbon Fiber Block Seal Head Gasket & Cooling Sealant (p/n HG-1).

HG-1 PNG old     1100 PNG     1111 PNG

All three are meant to deal with head gasket leaks, but there are differences. I’m going to discuss each product here, starting with our strongest.

Our Professional Carbon Fiber Block Seal Head Gasket & Cooling Sealant (p/n HG-1) is our strongest, most professional-grade product of this type. It’s antifreeze compatible, meaning no flush is necessary unless your system is dirty.  HG-1 contains Xtreme Cool (a water-wetting agent which reduces temperature) as well as carbon fiber and aramid fibers. When dealing with a blown head gasket (or one that’s warped or leaking), consider fibers to be like rebar in concrete: they’re necessary to form a truly permanent bond.

Our Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Fix (p/n 1111) is one of our most popular products due to cost and how convenient it is to install. Like HG-1, no draining of the cooling system is required unless the system is dirty. For most mild to moderate HG leaks, this product has worked wonders for over 1.3 million customers worldwide.

Our Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Repair (p/n 1100) is the first blown head gasket product we came out with 11 years ago. It gives a very strong seal and is our most affordable head gasket product, but the installation is more demanding because the product is not compatible with antifreeze. You’ll need to completely flush your cooling system BEFORE using this product, as it can be used with water only.  Immediately after doing the procedure, we ask that you drain your system and let your car sit 12-24 hours (weather permitting – you can’t leave only water in the system if it is below freezing). After the waiting period, you’ll need to flush again, making sure to get all the product completely out of your cooling system.  You can then refill your cooling system with an OE-recommended coolant. You can assume your car will be laid up for a full day (maybe a bit longer) for this installation.

So, here’s how all that boils down:

  • If you want the strongest product we offer AND the most convenient, choose our Carbon Fiber Block Seal Head Gasket & Cooling Sealant (p/n HG-1). It sells for around $45 retail, but is truly a pro-class product. (And still considerably cheaper than a full mechanical head gasket repair, which run $1,500+.)  Recommended if your car can run for 15 minutes without overheating.
  • If you want a strong product AND something that’s very easy to install, choose our Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Fix (p/n 1111). It’s one of our most popular products overall for a reason. Sells for around $30 retail.  Recommended if your car can run for 20 mintues without overheating.
  • If you want a very strong product AND you have the time and knowledge to do a more manual install, choose our Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Repair (p/n 1100). Sells for about $10 retail.  Recommended if your car can run for 15 minutes without overheating.

If, after reading this, you still have questions about which product is right for your particular head gasket problem, call our technical support at 800-345-6572 or hit us up on Facebook and ask your question there. We’re here to help!

Remembering the Buick Regal Grand National

I used to have a thing for the Buick Regal Grand National. If you know anything about this car, it’s like saying one had a thing for a puffy toaster on wheels that looked like grandma got crazy with some black spray paint and chrome trim. Normal people are drawn to Corvettes and Porsches and vacations in Hawaii; me, I was drawn to a living room on wheels.

More specificially, I was drawn to the engine of this beast, a 3.8L SFI V6, turbocharged and intercooled to a ridiculous degree for the late 1980s. If you remember this car, you remember it was GM’s dirty little secret, because it could beat the top-dog Corvette in a stoplight showdown. GM didn’t know what to make of that — a ginormous, bloated coupe in a sedan’s body whipping its flagship sports car 0-60 — but facts were facts. Car and Driver magazine got a 4.9 second 0-60 run out of the Grand National in 35-ish degree temperatures, which, nevermind the ambient temperature, was FAST.

I and a few other friends were the only ones who seemed to be afflicted with a lust for this car. We’d be in a parking lot, see one of these hulking ebony monsters, and literally forget what we were doing full-stop and just gawk. Onlookers thought we were nuts. I’m sure they thought we were seeing something invisible. Invisible and beautiful. But certainly we were not stupid teenagers staring at a black family car comprised only of right angles.

Us: Ohmigod! Look! A Grand National!

Onlooker: What are you guys staring at?

Us: That. A GN. Right there. Wow, huh?

Onlooker: I don’t get it.

Us: That Buick RIGHT THERE! The black one! Did you know that thing has the baddest engine around?

Onlooker: You’re teenagers. Staring at a Buick?

Us: Dude, totally.

Onlooker: I’m calling the cops, weirdos.

Back then, only hardcore car nerds grokked the GN. Everyone else thought it was just another ugly, boxy American mistake. I remember that car more than any other car during my youth, those magic years when you can remember the boost pressure of a Garrett turbo more easily than family birthdays.

Today, Grand Nationals are indeed collector cars. Here in Michigan, summers mean every-weekend car shows in which classic muscle cars come out of the woodwork to sit in the sun while their owners mingle and talk about cam lifter rates and how awesome blueprinted engines are. And you know what I’m seeing there in increasing numbers? Grand Nationals, and their steroid-fed brothers, Grand National X’s. (Dubbed the GNX, this car was the GN with even more power, but still ugly by normal-person standards. We, of course, were even more bananas for this car than the GN. Go figure.)

With Spring in the air, I get thinking about cars, and I always flash back to the GN. Character flaw? Probably. But to me, that car will always be worth remembering.

How We Can Save You $1,500 on a Head Gasket Repair

HG-1 PNG oldRay C. from Severna Park, MD writes to us about our strongest head gasket product — Head Gasket & Cooling Sealant, otherwise known as HG-1. Ray writes:

I purchased the Head Gasket & Cooling Sealant in attempt to get a little more life out of my (winter rat) 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee after a cooling system failure that nearly blew the engine and ended up resulting in a head gasket leak! I was worried about the expense but it turns out that this stuff really is a modern miracle in a bottle! I used it as directed and no more cooling or head gasket leaks, better engine performance, and the remainder is still floating around in there guarding against other minor leaks that might develop. Thanks for spending the research dollars to bring a product like this to market!! It was a life-saver for me!

Thanks for choosing our products, Ray, and we appreciate you taking the time to tell us about your experience.

Let’s Talk About Chemical Additive Myths

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: a chemical additive (stop leak) doesn’t work, it clogs up your cooling system, and it actually makes your problem worse. It’s a waste of money.

Sound familiar?

Every day, we talk to customers who are reluctant to use another chemical fix because they’ve been burned in the past. They have every reason to doubt: many chemical fix products are more marketing than engineering. Too often, they don’t work as promised.

What’s a company who makes products that have been working since 1947 to do?

The hard truth is that the market for chemical fixes is not unlike other markets: there are good products, products you’d describe as mediocre, and products that do little or nothing to help the customer.

Unfortunately, the reputation of good products gets taken along for the ride when lesser products prove to be disappointments.

Our products have been around since 1947 and have since become the premium brand of chemical stop-leaks solutions and engine/oil/fuel treatments. Our formulations get used in fleet, military, industrial and dozens of other specialty  applications. Today, many automakers use our products in their assembly operations as OEM treatments. In August of 1958, Bar’s Leaks even helped William R. Anderson’s famous USS Nautilus nuclear submarine complete its historic journey under the North Pole arctic ice when it developed an internal powertrain leak.USS_Nautilus_SSN571

Here are some common chemical fix myths dispelled:

I’ve been told stop leak products will clog up my radiator and cooling system, and could even make my problem worse.

Regarding claims that stop leak products will ‘clog up’ your system or exacerbate the problem, they’re positively not true – for our products. However, the reality is that many folks use other brands and encounter problems, and we suffer their reputation. If you check out our product testimonials, you’ll realize our products are of a much higher grade than some of the others in the market. Our Bar’s Leaks Liquid Aluminum Cooling System Stop Leak (p/n 1186), Radiator Stop Leak 2X Concentrate (p/n 1194) and Liquid Copper Block Seal (p/n 1109), represent the very best and safest chemical solutions for your cooling system. Our engineering guarantees it.

I’ve been told chemical fixes can’t seal my leak and that I need a hard repair.

No chemical solution can repair all leaks. In some cases, the leak may be severe and require a hard fix by an authorized mechanic. Still, we invite our customers to contact us if they have any doubt about our products’ performance or need help in choosing what product will work best for them. You can use our simple 3 Minute Mechanic if you want help in finding the right product for you, or find us on Facebook if you have more specific questions. We’re always happy to help.

Can a chemical fix really repair a blown head gasket?

Yes and no. Let’s take the no side first: if you have a severely warped head, broken head bolts, or a large leak, then no chemical solution will be able to solve your problem. Unfortunately, you need a hard fix.

For mild to moderate leaks – including minor head warping issues – yes, we can help. Our award-winning head gasket repair product is formulated with various fiber types (carbon fiber, aramid, refractory, etc.) which we grind and engineer to exact specifications in our labs. Fibers of the correct type and length are critical to repair high-pressure leaks. If you were building a bridge, you wouldn’t dream of doing it without using rebar. In chemical head gasket repair products, fibers are the rebar.

If your vehicle has its cooling system at proper level and the vehicle can run 15 minutes or more without overheating, Bar’s Leaks can help seal your head gasket leak.

Bar’s Leaks. The fastest, safest way to get the show back on the road. Guaranteed.

This Makes Coming Into the Office Awesome

Just received this email from Timothy W., from Traverse City MI. He writes:

I don’t normally do this, but I’ve found an AMERICAN company whose products actually work, and work WELL!!! So I had to write to thank you for your hard work and integrity in a world filled with automotive charlatans and snake-oil marketing.

Main seal leak stop saved my tractor. Oil leak stop saved my aging Subaru. Rislone keeps all my engines running clean and quiet, even with several hundred thousand miles! And Bar’s Leaks has saved several radiators and heat exchangers. In a day and age where money does not go very far, your products help the average joe to keep a leg up, and repairs down, on a consistant basis!! I couldn’t have kept three cars going through Northern Michigan’s brutal seasons, while putting a kid through college without some help, and that came through in the form of several Bar’s Products. Thank you folks, for your excellent products, and for keeping it simple, non-corporate, and integrity-based. Proud to be a fellow Michigander (Traverse City). Keep up the good work. You’ve got a devoted customer and free word-of-mouth advertising for life.

Sincerely, Tim W.

Tim, you rock for taking the time to send that to us. Believe us when we say your note got passed around to everyone, including the President and managment stuff.

Thanks again, Tim!