Ok, so by now everyone should know my Malibu has been out of commission for some time now. The culprit is a leaky head gasket or possibly a cracked head, and after finally having a shop look at it, I have decided that I cannot afford their price. I was already growing tired of shop prices after having a few things fixed on the Focus, and this latest visit only pushed me that much farther away.
So that leaves me with two options. 1 – Find someone who is either a mechanic on the side, or a small time mechanic who will do the job for a lot less, or 2 – fix the problem myself. Right now I’m quickly heading toward #2. With that in mind, I would like some advice, if there are any mechanics, or car repair savvy people out there who would be willing to give it to me.
I will start by giving you all the symptoms, followed by what I think the problem is, and my two solutions I am attempting to choose from. Feel free to correct anything I say.
I know that coolant is leaking into the engine, as there is water/coolant on the oil cap, the oil is very slightly frothy, and there is a small amount of gunky white buildup just under the oil cap. Also, I put my hand behind the tail pipe and noticed some form of liquid being blown out, possibly water/coolant vapor, but there is zero smoke. Also the car has never over heated, just ran slightly hot a couple of times when the coolant had gotten low. I’m not entirely sure what the rate of leakage is, but before I parked it I think it would take 3 – 4 days for the coolant tank to drain from full to almost empty.
Since I have been doing a little research, what I have come up with is I have an inside leak in the head gasket, and it looks like it may (hopefully) be a small leak. With that being said, and with the fact that it has not overheated, I would guess that there should be very little if any other internal problems. So what I am proposing are the following two options, with the first being my first choice (obviously).
1. Use a head gasket sealer, such as Steel Seal, or Blue Devil (which I have seen good reviews for both), to attempt to seal the hole in the gasket. The main thing I like about this is it’s cheaper and a heck of a lot easier than replacing the gasket, but of course I’m afraid it would only be a temporary fix. If the leak is small, though, like I anticipate, then maybe this is be a viable solution. That’s why I’m asking for advice.
2. Replace the head gasket myself. The bad part about this is I’ve never done it before, but with my ability to take things apart, and because I actually tend to enjoy it, I’m sure I could get it done. It would still be waaaaaaay cheaper than taking it to a shop, but it would probably take me a lot longer, and of course I would have the opportunity to screw it up as well.
With those being my two options right now, what I need is advice on whether the first option would actually be worth it, or if I should bite the bullet, and go ahead and learn how to pull my engine apart. Please leave comments below if you can help me out!
Oh, and all the shop told me was what I already knew!