Head gaskets
1995 Toyota 4-Runner with Ruined Head Gaskets PDF Print E-mail

Dear Barbara,

My name is Lee and I own a 1995 Toyota 4-runner with 183,000 miles and in less than four years, the head gaskets have been ruined twice and the problem has been fixed. This is the third time it ruined, so I took it to the mechanic and he said he couldn’t fix it because now it’s totally ruined; all he could do is put in another motor, but he couldn't give an exact quote because he said it depends on the mileage of the motor he was going to put in; all he said was that it could be between $1600.00 to $2500.00.

I was not so sure to use this mechanic again so I went to another one for another quote, and this one told me that he could do the job for $1700.00, but that he does not guarantee that the car won't work the same because of the overheating and the motor he was going to put in. He also has given me an alternative of buying the car from me for $600.00 and selling me a four door 1999 Chevy Blazer with 144,000 miles for $3000.00.

As a women, I'm so confused, I hardly know anything about cars, so I really don't know which mechanic to use; some of my co-workers tell be to buy a brand new car as that is the safe way to go, but I can't afford car payments at this time. Please help me with your expert advice. I always read your articles in the ‘Houston Chronicle’ and I always think that you really know what you are talking about.

Thank you for your time,


Dear Lee,

First of all I would say to pass on the Blazer with 144K on the clock; I am surprised this one has not been buried in the Ole Blazer cemetery by now. All you would be doing in this instance is buying a bucket full of nightmares… take my word on this one!

What I would suggest you do is to find a mechanic that will get to the root of the problem that is causing your head gaskets to crack and that will give you a guarantee on either getting an used/rebuilt or a new motor.

You should without any doubt be able to find a mechanic that will put in a replacement motor and give you a guarantee on it, and possibly fix the culprit that is repeatedly causing you to have your head gasket issues for under $2000.00.

4 Runners are excellent vehicles and yours more than likely has a few more years of life left to it. Fixing your 4 Runner seems to be a better financial choice for you by not having to choke on those high new car payments every month… year after year.

You should give your local Better Business Bureau a call and ask them to recommend a couple good trusted mechanics.

Thanks for writing in and let me know how it goes,

Mitsubishi Eclipse cracked head gasket PDF Print E-mail
Dear Barbara,
I have a 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse. Every morning before I go to work, I
have to fill my radiator with water. And every afternoon when I leave
work, I have to again fill my radiator with water. When I fill the water
reservoir, it smells of gasoline. I have been told that I have a cracked
head gasket. I have been informed I can purchase a product in an
automotive store that will stop the leaking. If this is true, do you
recommend it?
Thank you,
Brad Creel
Dear Brad,
You can pick up a variety of stop leak additives that you add to your coolant at your local auto
parts store. However…these additives are only temporary, "if" they decide to work then
keep in mind that they are made for very minor leaks so this will only buy you a little
time until you get the repair done. 
Ask your local parts pro at the closest parts house what they have available and what they would recommend.
Thanks for writing in,