Your Options for Fixing a Blown Head Gasket
Your car’s head gasket is a simple piece of metal coated in a rubber-like material, and yet head gasket failure is one of the single most crippling ailments an engine can face. We talk to customers every day about it. To understand why this is such a big deal, you need to understand the important role your head gasket plays in your engine’s health.
What Does a Head Gasket Do?
In the simplest terms, your engine can be separated into two major sections. The top of the engine, where valves control airflow in and out of the cylinders and fuel is introduced to the cylinder bank, is called the head. The bottom of the engine is much larger by volume, and is where the cylinders and pistons that convert fuel into forward motion live.
For proper engine function, there must be an airtight seal between these two sections. Your head gasket ensures that seal is maintained, but after years of wear and use, gaskets can dry out, crack and fail. When this happens, oil, coolant and fuel end up in the wrong places and the risk of overheating becomes extremely high.
Paying a mechanic to repair the gasket with a new part can be extremely expensive (and may not be worth it if budgets are tight or the car is not worth the cost of repair), but depending on the severity of the failure, there are some alternative options to consider.
As you can see, the first step if you believe your car is suffering from gasket failure is to evaluate the severity of the damage. If your car overheats in a very short time ( les than 15-20 minutes), you will most likely need to have a mechanic replace the factory gasket, which can cost up $1,500 to $3,000 (possibly more for some luxury brands.)
With such a high cost, you can see how a gasket failure can effectively total a car.
Not every case of head gasket failure is a guaranteed dent in your wallet, though. If your car can run safely for longer than 15 minutes without overheating, there are chemical repair products designed to seal the leak without the need to disassemble your engine. In fact, even those with hardly any mechanical knowledge can install the fix themselves.
Bar’s Leaks offers a line of do-it-yourself fixes designed to help victims of gasket failure avoid breaking the bank. Our Head Seal (HG-1), Head Gasket Fix (1111) and Head Gasket Repair (1100) products can all be installed at home and are designed to make your escape from head gasket problems as painless as possible.
Installing the Correct Bar’s Leaks Product
The strongest of our head gasket solutions is the HG-1 Head Seal Blown Head Gasket Repair formula, and it’s a commercial/pro-strength product. This is what recommend for cars that can run between 15 and 20 minutes without overheating. Tech-proven HG-1 Head Seal Blown Head Gasket Repair is formulated with carbon fiber that reinforces the seal once applied, and is safe to use with all types of coolant. Installation is done by pouring the liquid into your car’s coolant tank and then allowing the liquid to circulate by holding the car at a high idle for about 15 minutes. There is no need to drain the cooling system first.
Make sure you apply HG-1 Head Seal in a well-ventilated area. Performing installation in a closed garage not only exposes you to potentially harmful fumes, but can also put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If your car can run without overheating for longer than 15 minutes, Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Fix (1111) and Head Gasket Repair (1100) offer more affordable options.
If you’re seeing signs of a minor-to-moderate gasket leak, but can drive for a decent amount of time without overheating (around 20 minutes), consider Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Fix (1111). Head Gasket Fix is incredibly easy to install — just ensure there’s room in your car’s coolant tank and pour it in. Things don’t get much simpler than that, and for this reason Head Gasket Fix is the bestselling head gasket product we’ve ever developed.
Those in the borderline area of just over 20 minutes should use Head Gasket Repair, which requires the removal of your car’s coolant to apply. Head Gasket Repair is reinforced, much like HG-1. However, it uses Aramid — a high-tech fiber similar to the Kevlar found in bulletproof vests — to form a stronger bond. It’s a very strong product, but installation is just a little more demanding (but still easy enough for most to do at home.)
Every car is different, and you’ve got to be smart about how you choose to repair yours if you suspect a blown head gasket. Technology hasn’t solved head gasket problems entirely just yet, but our line of Bar’s Leaks chemical sealants has gotten pretty close – so much so that they’re used by race clubs, off-road clubs, and even in military applications. If you’ve got a head gasket leak that needs fixing, we can help. Contact us if you have questions or would like some feedback on the problem you’re dealing with.
If you’re looking for more information – don’t go anywhere. We have lots more to explain. This is our most popular head gasket education post, so if you want more detail, you’re in the right place!
The “Ins and Outs” of Head Gasket Problems and How We Solve Them
Most blown head gaskets can be properly fixed without a mechanic. There is a point where the damage is too great and you will need the expertise of a professional to replace the gasket, but many leaks in a head gasket can be taken care of with one of our products. You’ll need to determine what level of chemical sealant is required from our three formulations that address head gasket leaks:
We’ll show you how to decide what product is best for your vehicle and if your damage is past the point of a chemical sealant repair. We’ll also educate you on how your cooling system works, some of the properties of our products and how they work on your engine safely and properly. There are inferior chemical sealant products that don’t treat a blown gasket and can definitely cause other problems on internal engine components. We’ve been around for over 69 years and only produce products that get the job done as they are supposed to.
How Your Cooling System Works
Inside your engine, thousands of controlled explosions are happening each minute to propel your vehicle down the road. As you can imagine, those continuous explosions create quite a bit of heat. The purpose of your cooling system is to control the temperatures created by combustion so your engine doesn’t explode from extremely high temperatures and your fuel economy and emissions level don’t suffer from a low engine temperature. The cooling system maintains a constant temperature by circulating a liquid coolant through the engine and then back to the radiator to be cooled.
The cooling system is made up of many different elements that all have an important function for efficient movement of the coolant and regulation of the process. Here is the general process to cooling a liquid-cooled engine:
- A mix of distilled water and antifreeze, also called ethylene glycol, is pumped through passages in the cylinder head and engine block where it draws off the engine’s heat.
- A thermostat measures the temperature of the coolant after it has left the engine. If the coolant is below a preset temperature, the coolant is directed back to the engine. If it is above the preset temperature, the coolant is directed to the radiator.
- Heated fluid is pumped through a hose to the radiator at the very front of the vehicle, where it flows through the thin tubing and is cooled by the outside air as it enters the engine compartment through the grill at the front.
- Coolant is always flowing with the help of the water pump to repeat this cycle continuously as the engine is running.
The head gasket is pressed between the engine block and cylinder head(s) to achieve a water- and air-tight seal. Its main job is to seal against combustion pressure on the cylinder so oil and coolant can properly flow between the block and head without leaking into the combustion chamber or mixing with each other.
The head gasket is usually made out of soft sheet metal and stamped to surround all leak points with ridges. Then it is pressed between the head and block with head bolts to create a tight seal. The head gasket is most commonly damaged from the engine overheating. When subjected to extreme temperatures for too long, the cylinder head can warp, which releases the pressurized seal on the gasket.
While the gaskets themselves are rather inexpensive, the several hours it takes to disassemble the engine to get to it makes a blown head gasket a costly repair. Head gasket damage mostly occurs in older vehicles, which makes the $1000+ auto shop bill a bit hard to take when the vehicle itself may only be worth the same amount.
The Quality of Bars Leaks Gasket Repair Products
You’ve got your high-quality and low-quality products in just about every industry you can think of. Automotive products are no different and have a large array of excellent, OK and don’t-work options. As a company that prides itself in providing customers with excellent solutions to their automotive problems, we are often grouped with all those other products that really are ineffective.
Since 1947, we’ve been formulating stop-leak products and engine, oil and fuel treatments. With our exceptional chemical engineering, our products have been used in military applications, auto manufacturing and countless auto repair emergencies. We even have lifetime guarantees on a couple of our pro-grade products, showing just how confident we are in our quality.
For mild to moderate leaks, one of our three stop-leak solutions will get you on the road again. However, large leaks, broken head bolts or a severely warped cylinder head will not be fixed by any chemical solution, not ours or any others available on the market. You’ll need a replacement part or a replacement vehicle.
Each of our products have earned a number of glowing customer testimonials, some of which can be seen at the bottom our product pages, because we have products that really do fill in gaps. We have formulated our products with various fiber types and sealing particles that are engineered to exact specifications to act as rebar would in a concrete application. To repair high-pressure leaks, the fibers of the correct type and size are needed to stop a head gasket leak.
Fix a Leaky Head Gasket with One of These Three Products
First we’ll go over the situations where you can fix a head gasket leak with our products and then let you know which one will do the best job for your overheating problem.
Bar’s Leaks can seal your head gasket leak if your cooling system is at the proper level and you can run your engine at least 15 minutes without overheating. If that describes your situation, read on to find out which one of our gasket sealants are right for you. If you’re not able to run your engine for at least 15 minutes before it starts overheating, then you will need the more expensive repair to your vehicle to replace the head gasket.
Head Seal™ Blown Head Gasket Repair
This is our professional-grade head gasket repair that contains highly engineered carbon fibers to make it the strongest antifreeze-compatible product available. This is your solution when your engine starts to overheat after about 15 minutes of use. We’ve designed this to seal the toughest leaks that can be repaired with a chemical solution.
- Is a permanent solution to repair blown head and intake gasket leaks
- Will seal cracked and warped cylinder heads and engine blocks
- Forms a seal stronger than the original head gasket in its undamaged state
- Stops other coolant leaks in cylinder heads and engine blocks, heater cores, intake manifolds, freeze plugs and radiators
- Has a chemical additive called Xtreme Cool™ that stops overheating by reducing water temperature
- Has high-strength carbon fibers needed to stop larger leaks and create a stronger permanent seal
- Is added directly to the radiator — no need to drain coolant or remove thermostat
- Can be used on all engines: gasoline, diesel, turbocharged or racing
- Works quickly, and is safe and easy to use
- Treats cooling systems from 10 quarts, or 2.5 gallons, to 20 quarts, or 5.0 gallons, with one bottle, or 6 quarts, or 1.5 gallons, to 9.9 quarts, or 2.49 gallons, with ½ a bottle; larger systems use 1 bottle for every 5 gallons of cooling capacity; smaller systems use 2 ounces for every quart of capacity
Block Seal Head Gasket Fix
If you can get to 20 minutes running your engine before it overheats, then you’ll be impressed with the effectiveness of our Head Gasket Fix. This product is at a medium price point and is very simple to use, which has made it one of our most popular products. Its sealing strength is below the Blown Head Gasket Repair, but it is very effective at repairing the mild to moderate head gasket leaks, as our many customers can attest to.
Our Head Gasket Fix:
- Seals gaps and cracks with antifreeze-compatible sodium silicate liquid and gasket-sealing particles
- Is safe for all liquid-cooled gasoline and diesel engines
- Works to seal aluminum and cast-iron engine blocks and cylinder heads, as well as other components of your cooling system
- Can be added directly to the radiator — no need to drain cooling system or remove thermostat
- Treats cooling systems from 6 quarts, or 1.5 gallons, to 16 quarts, or 4 gallons, with one full bottle, or 4 quarts, or 1.0 gallon, to 5.9 quarts, or 1.49 gallons, with a ½ bottle; larger systems use 1 bottle for every 4 gallons
Block Seal Head Gasket Repair
With a bit more effort to install, you can get a reliable head gasket seal at a cheaper price with our Head Gasket Repair. You’ll need to drain and flush the entire cooling system, then refill with just water as this formula is not compatible with antifreeze as our two other gasket fix products are. This product permanently seals coolant leaks and provides a solid bond with a hard ceramic-type seal.
Head Gasket Repair:
- Contains refractory and aramid fibers to provide superior strength and heat resistance
- Penetrates cracks, blown gaskets and gaps from overheating damage
- Works on cast iron and aluminum engine blocks and cylinder heads
- Is not compatible with antifreeze, so it must be added to the radiator after draining old antifreeze and refilling with just water
- Treats cooling systems from 2 to 6 gallons with one full bottle, or 1 to 1.9 gallons with a ½ bottle; larger systems require a bottle for every 5 gallons of coolant capacity
If you’ve got a leaky gasket that’s fixable with a chemical sealant, then one of these three products will give you the ability to fix your cooling system leak yourself. Not only will you have the great benefit of a DIY auto repair, but you’ll also be able to get it done quickly, especially if you’re using our Blown Head Gasket Repair or Head Gasket Fix, which are both antifreeze compatible.
Customer Success Stories Show No Bad Side Effects
Being in the industry as long as we have, you can bet we’ve got a few qualities that set us apart from the competition. Our time-tested formulations have formed our longstanding reputation for quality without compromise. Our engineering staff is continually educating itself on new developments in the automotive industry and technological advancements in the world of chemical engineering. That’s why our products are regularly collecting positive customer reviews and continually gaining popularity with consumers and businesses.
Time and again we have our customers thanking us for saving them money on an auto shop repair or saving them from having to buy a new vehicle. Radiator fixes, gasket leaks and head cracks were all remedied by one of our chemical sealant products. We especially love hearing the many reviews that describe the repair and the thousands of miles they been driving the same vehicle, and it’s still working fine without any expensive repairs.
If you’re at all hesitant to use Bar’s Leaks product because of what you’ve heard about other inferior leak seal products not working or actually damaging other parts of the cooling system, then scan through the testimonials and reviews on any of our product pages. You’ll find lots of people comparing our products to our competitors’ offerings because they’ve tried others without success and then effectively resolved their issue with a Bar’s Leaks product.
Here are just a few excerpts from testimonials on our product page for the professional-grade Blown Head Gasket Repair:
- “It’s now been 3,000 mi. with no more leak … and didn’t plug anything.”
- “I was worried about the expense … [it] is a modern miracle in a bottle!”
- “What appealed to me was not having to flush the cooling system twice to use the product…Bar’s Leaks worked like a charm.”
An a few fine words from our customers about Head Gasket Fix:
- “I was so amazed because the instructions were so simple … you all saved me $2000.”
- “My mechanic said … nothing is going to stop that leak but to pull the heads … I decided to use Bar’s 1111 head gasket repair … 1 week into it and not a leak at all.”
- “Within 5 minutes of adding your product, the steam out of my tailpipe stopped … engine compression returned. I am amazed, and so is my mechanic.”
Even our cheaper option, Head Gasket Repair, that requires engine flushing gets tons of great reviews:
- “I’ve always sworn by Bar’s Leaks products … the oil turned milky in my ’91 Chevy conversion van … It was the best two days mechanic-ing I can remember.”
- “Right after I bought [an older vehicle], I blew the head gasket … I purchased it for around $15.00 and utilized it … not only did it work, but saved me a fortune”
- “I rarely take the time to write a manufacturer about a product … I decided to give Bar’s Leak a shot … I’m on week four, no smoke, no problems … It did everything you advertised.”
Any company can sing praises about its own products, but it’s not until there are lots of customer success stories about their products that it really holds credibility. We’ve been making “three-minute mechanics” out of people for several decades with all types of vehicles and all types of leaks. And we’ll be doing it for several more decades, because our products do work just how we advertise them.
The Answers to Set the Record Straight
In an industry that’s saturated with ineffective products and unreliable claims, we’re regularly questioned by inquiring minds that really want our products to work. Since we’ve got years of satisfied customers, there are lots of people to share their good results. But we still get lots of questions in various places online, over the phone, and in person. Here are the common ones that help to clear up any misconceptions about Bar’s Leaks products.
If your stop-leak products fill holes, how will they not clog up other parts of my cooling system?
Our leak seal products fill smaller-sized holes and cracks and will not fill up spaces that are over a certain size. Our advanced formulations contain specially engineered fibers, sodium silicate sealing liquids and gasket sealing particles that flow through your cooling system and bond to spaces of appropriate size. When the solution penetrates gaps and cracks, it will harden to permanently fill the space. If holes, gaps and cracks are too large, they won’t be filled with our products.
Our products are of a much higher grade than that of our competitors so the claims that stop-leak products clog up your system are true of some low-grade products on the market, but not ours.
I’ve heard many people say that chemical fixes don’t repair leaks, only replacing the effected parts will.
While some leaks are too big to be fixed by a chemical sealant, we would estimate the majority of gasket leaks are appropriately fixed by one of our chemical solutions. If your vehicle can run for at least 15 minutes without overheating or adding coolant, then we’ve got a fix for you. Still not convinced? Check out our customer reviews on our product pages and many other places online to see just how well our chemical fix works.
Aren’t chemical stop-leak products a short-term solution to cooling system leaks?
There are many stop-leak products that are only designed to be a temporary fix, but not ours. A blown head gasket fix can be as easy as dumping a bottle of sealant in your radiator, and you’re good to go. The seal created from our product is as permanent as replacing the head gasket, but with less money and time. The reinforcing fibers we use in our formulations are what create the permanent bond.
Worth the Effort to Try It Out
Hopefully we’ve dispelled the nasty myths and cleared up the misconceptions about our stop-leak products. You have learned how to fix a blown head gasket with our solutions and how to pick the best product for your repair needs. We’re always here to give you more instruction and to answer questions through our customer support and through our Facebook page.
If you’ve got a blown head gasket, fix it the quick and cheap way with a Bar’s Leaks head gasket repair product. Just as many of our customers have stated, you don’t have much to lose by trying this cheap fix compared to a vehicle replacement or expensive repair. We are widely known for our stop-leak technology because it has been tested over and over again. Don’t listen to the myths or get us confused with other low-quality manufacturers. We stand behind our products 100 percent.
Go to our store locator to find a retailer that carries our products. We know your busy life can’t stop for a costly repair. That’s why Bar’s Leaks creates safe, effective, easy-to-use products that effortlessly fit into your current lifestyle and budget. Be assured of our quality that’s depended on for military use and original equipment manufacturer applications. Bar’s Leaks gets you back on the road and back to your life. Guaranteed.