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Questions and Answers

Honda Civic Head And Gasket

Q. I have a 1995 Honda Civic DX. About six months ago my car started to overheat so I checked the coolant and it was very low. I added some coolant to it and then it was fine. A couple of weeks ago I went out one morning to start my car and it wouldn't start. It seemed like it wanted to but it was almost like it was seized up.

Honda Civic Head And Gasket

I waited till it got a little warmer outside to see if a warmer engine would help. I also checked the oil and coolant again. The oil was pretty low and the coolant was very low again almost bone dry. So I added some oil and some coolant tried starting it three consecutive times and on the third try it kicked over.

Once it started there was a lot of white smoke coming out of the tail pipe. I let the car run for about fifteen minutes and the smoke got lighter but it was still coming out pretty good. So I took it in and they looked at it and they thought it was that the timing belt was a notch off which created the white smoke to come out.

So I drove it the next day and on the way to work it was fine but driving home it started to overheat again. I took it back in and they said it was because of some air pockets in the cooling system. So they fixed that.

The next day I drove it again and the same thing happened. It over heated again. And when I started it after a few minutes of cooling down it ran very poor and had no power. I drove it like this for a couple of minutes and then it cleared itself up but still overheated.

From talking to people I know they seem to think it is either a cracked head or a bad head gasket. What do you think? How much would a cracked head and a new head gasket cost if I brought it some where?

Thanks for the help,

A. With the symptoms you describe, a blown head gasket would have been the first thing I would have suspected. I doubt the head is cracked, but I would make sure whoever does the job to send the head to a machine shop to be tested for cracks and resurfaced if it's good.

If the head does need to be replaced, A new one from Honda is about $1200.00. But you can get a good used one at a junk yard for about $150.00 or so. Again, have it sent to a machine shop first. You don't want to buy someone else's problem.

Worst case scenario, with a new head, other needed parts timing belt, water pump, fluids and labor, we're talking about $2300.00. Without a new head, timing belt and water pump, about $1,000.00.

I would recommend replacing the timing belt and water pump at this time. Fans belts wouldn't be a bad idea also. The extra is the price of the belts since they have to come off to do the head.

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