BMW Head Gaskets, Repairs, & Replacement Costs

BMW Head Gasket

BMWs are precision driving machines. When they have a serious problem, it can be quite a headache. A blown head gasket is one of the major issues BMW owners sometimes face. Since this is such a critical part of your vehicle, it’s common to have some questions about how it works and potential signs that something is wrong.
If you’re worried about your head gasket, you’re in the right place. Here’s a look at the top eight questions our mechanics get about BMW head gaskets.

1. How Does a BMW Head Gasket Work?

Your BMW’s engine is made up of two major components – the engine block and the cylinder head. For your vehicle to work correctly, the two parts must seal together and act as one cohesive unit. Otherwise, your engine will fail.
The head gasket creates and maintains this critical seal between the two parts. When it’s tightened down, the cylinder head forces the head gasket into the cylinder block. The pressure closes up any imperfections, creating a tight seal. This seal also prevents coolant, oil, and combustion gasses from escaping your engine.

2. What Are the Signs of a Bad BMW Head Gasket?

When your head gasket first begins to fail, you may not notice any signs at all. The issue won’t become obvious until the leak has reached the engine cylinder, engine coolant passage, or the engine oil passage.
Once the leak reaches a critical area, you may begin to notice that your engine hesitates to start or runs roughly when your vehicle is idling. Since coolant and oil may start leaking, your engine may also start to run hot or even overheat.
Some of the most common BMW 328i head gasket symptoms include the presence of coolant in your engine oil pan (indicated by light, creamy looking oil) and a gurgling sound in the coolant reservoir. A BMW with a failing head gasket may also have white, sweet-smelling smoke coming out of the exhaust.
When your head gasket starts to fail, your check engine light will likely turn on. Once the gasket has completely failed, the engine will overheat within just a few minutes of starting. It will then stall and won’t restart.

3. What Causes BMW Head Gasket Failure?

An overheating engine is the number one cause of BMW head gasket problems. When the engine overheats, it can cause the head to warp. This prevents the gasket from sealing properly, allowing the coolant to mix with the oil inside your motor.
There are several things that can cause your engine to overheat, including a failed water pump and a failed thermostat. Although it’s less common, a failed radiator core can also cause engine overheating.

4. Is Head Gasket Failure Common in BMWs?

While BMWs are pretty reliable vehicles, a head gasket failure is more common in these vehicles than it is in many other brands. According to Consumer Reports, there are several BMW models that are likely to have head gasket problems. This includes the 2011 BMW 3 Series, the 2014 BMW X1, and the 2012 BMW 5 Series. You’re also likely to need a BMW X3 head gasket replacement if you own a 2012 model.
In addition, a previous report showed that 2006 and 2007 BMW 3 series vehicles tend to experience head gasket problems between 90,000 and 138,000 miles. You may also find yourself needing BMW X5 head gasket repair anywhere between 59,000 and 67,000 miles.

5. Can I Drive My BMW With a Bad Head Gasket?

Whether you’re dealing with a failing BMW 550i head gasket, a BMW M30 head gasket, or another model, it’s important not to ignore the signs that something is wrong. Once you start noticing BMW head gasket symptoms, you’re at risk of ruining your engine block, cylinder head, or both.
Often, you won’t be able to start your vehicle if you have a head gasket problem. Even if you can, you shouldn’t drive it as it’s likely that your engine will quickly overheat. Instead of taking a chance with major damage, if you think you have a problem with your head gasket, it’s best to have your vehicle towed to a reliable BMW mechanic right away.

6. How Often Does a BMW Head Gasket Need to be Replaced?

There is no set lifespan for a BMW head gasket. However, with proper care, most will last for at least 100,000 miles. That being said, it’s not uncommon for a head gasket to fail much sooner than that or to last well beyond this point.

7. How Much Does a BMW Head Gasket Replacement Cost?

When wondering, “How much does it cost to fix a blown head gasket BMW?” It’s important to note that the answer will vary depending on a variety of factors. This includes the year and model of your BMW and the mechanic you choose.
Asking your mechanic “How much is a head gasket for a BMW?” also won’t give you the full answer. While this will get you started, you’ll also need to factor in labor costs. Give our team a call today to get a quote on a BMW Head Gasket Replacement!

8. Is There Any Way to Avoid a BMW Head Gasket Failure?

The best way to avoid a BMW head gasket failure is to keep up with your recommended maintenance and avoid aggressive driving. Replacing dirty or contaminated fluids on the proper schedule and keeping your engine running at the correct temperature will help you avoid head gasket damage.
It’s a good idea to change your water pump every 60,000 miles and replace your thermostat if there’s ever a sign that your engine is running hot. You may also consider replacing your radiator every 100,000 miles or upgrading to an aluminum radiator and a higher-quality aftermarket water pump. All of these steps will help prevent your engine from overheating and warping your head gasket.

Having Problems with Your BMW Head Gasket? We Can Help!

Whether you need work on your brand new BMW, a 2001 BMW X5 head gasket replacement or something in between, the expert mechanics at The Haus can handle it with ease.
Our expert technicians have years of experience working on BMWs, and since we’re an independent shop, we can often do the same work for a fraction of the price you’ll pay if you take your BMW to the dealership. We also have two convenient locations to serve you – one in Sherman Oaks and one in Santa Monica.
Contact us today to discuss your repair needs or schedule a VIP appointment. We look forward to showing you The Haus difference!

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