My car is a four cylinder Suzuki Cultus. It has been a bit sluggish on take off in first and second gear. Almost like its choking a bit then its fine when you get going (no back firing). I pulled spark plugs out to give a clean and noticed the first plug is covered in oil, so is the chamber. The spark plug end is clean with a little bit of carbon build up, which I cleaned with a wire brush. The base of the ceramic part has a slightly burnt ring around it. I noticed some oil residue in the crease of the plug chamber where I think the gasket is and am guessing it may need gasket changed? All the other plugs are clean and fine. Any idea if this could be causing poor motor performance and how easy is it to change the head gasket on a suzuki cultus. How much do mechanics roughly charge for a gasket change?
There are two things that could be happening; either the valve cover gasket is bad and the spark plug is not sealing and oil is leaking into the spark plug well and into the cylinder.
If it is the head gasket, there could be other issues as well. The oil could be getting in from a leaking valve stem seal or there may be a crack in the block.
Normally to change a 4 cylinder head gasket is around 6-8 hours of labor. So it depends on how much your repair shop charges per labor hour.
If the valve stems seals need to be re-done you need the head rebiult and that can run $1000-$1500. You should also consider just rebuilding the whole motor if the head needs to be rebuilt or at least re-ring it.