DIY Engine Maintenance: How To Replace The Head Gasket?

The cylinder head gasket is located between the engine block and the cylinder head. This acts as a seal that prevents the products of combustion from escaping into the cooling chamber surrounding the piston. In many cases, it forms a seal between both chambers so that the fluids do not mix. Its repair is very expensive and requires many hours of work in a mechanical workshop.

But you do not have to worry more about this costly expense. Here we will show you how to change the head gasket in 8 simple steps. This will help you save all that money that you would have spent on the mechanic and enable you to do this DIY task from the garage of your house.

Tools Required

The materials you must have are:

  • Toolbox: You must have all kinds of wrenches and screwdrivers, ratchet set of all sizes to be able to remove what is on top of the engine head and the cylinder head itself.
  • Dynamometric wrench: You would need it after placing the new cylinder head gasket and knowing how much to tighten each bolt.
  • Mechanical gloves: To protect hands against any type of elements.

How to replace the Head Gasket?

After having all the necessary tools, now we explain how to change the cylinder head gasket of your engine.

1) Disconnect The Battery

You must disconnect the battery from your engine, locate the positive (red) and negative (black) terminals then use a key to unpin the negative terminal first and then uninstall the positive terminal, never but never do it in reverse as this can cause serious electrical damage to your vehicle.

2) Drain the Antifreeze Fluid and Engine Oil

You must drain the antifreeze fluid and the engine oil, for this you must look for a screw or cap under the engine in the case of oil and under the radiator in the case of antifreeze liquid. After locating it, remove the screw or plug and drain completely.

3) Remove All Critical Parts to Access the Cylinder Head

Then you must remove all parts that are above the engine head such as Cables or electrical connections, Spark plugs, throttle cable, the cover of the valves, also the cover of the timing belt, etc. NOTE: When you remove the pieces, classify them and label them (you can also take photos with your cell phone) to know the order so that when you put it back you will not miss any. Also in many engines, you will have to remove the timing belt or timing chain.

4) Remove Old Cylinder Head Gasket

When you have accessed the cylinder head you only have to remove the screws using the proper wrenches and then remove the old cylinder head gasket with your own hands as it will come out easily.

5) Clean the Cylinder Head

Clean the surface of the cylinder head using grain sandpaper to remove all traces of impurities. Do not scratch or remove metal parts of these components as this could affect the seal of the cylinder head gasket.

6) Place the New Cylinder Head Gasket Carefully

This step is very delicate and you have to do it calmly. Look at which position the new cylinder head gasket is placed, you must do it exactly as it says in the instruction manual that comes in the package and after you use a gasket sealant if necessary.

7) Screw in New Cylinder Head Gasket

After placing the cylinder head on the main engine block with the gasket in position, its time to fit the corresponding screws and tighten using the dynamometric wrench to have the correct adjustment. Then place all the other pieces back in their place mentioned in step 3.

8) Put Everything Back in Place

Finally, you must put the engine oil and the antifreeze fluid back, then connect the positive and negative terminals of the battery and with this we finish.


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