I bought a 1990 Geo Prism 3 years ago. When I bought it the mileage was 17,000 and it was in great condition. I bought it from a friends 85 year old mother and it has some sentimental value to me. It is a 5 speed with a 4 cylinder engine. Recently it began overheating and now most likely has a blown head gasket. About 2 years ago the radiator had a leak and I had that replaced. My question is, should I have the blown head gasket fixed or go with a rebuilt engine? The current mileage is 100,000. I've read on your site that it may be better to replace the engine due to possible other damage that could have been done during the overheating. Also, what would be a ball park cost to replace the engine versus repairing the head gasket? Thanks for your great site! I plan on telling all my friends about it!
I would probably replace the head gasket as long as there is no coolant in the oil pan and the head is not warped. Coolant in the oil will wash the bearings. In this case you would be better off replacing the engine.
A head gasket replacement at a dealer will generally run $800 or more. If the head is warped they will probably replace it, add about $1,000.
You could buy a used engine at a junk yard for $5-600, but you will most likely never find one with 17,000 miles.
Best advice is to call around and get estimates.
July, 19, 2007 AT 3:00 PM
Sounds to me like it would be cheaper to start with a newer engine. How much does labor cost to put a new engine in?
July, 20, 2007 AT 4:44 AM
The cost to replace would depend on who does it. A dealer would be more expensive. If you can find a local garage they would likely be cheaper.
I would guess you would be talking at least $1,000 in any case.