Consumer Reports compiled a list of cars that tend to need a pricy head gasket replacement. Along with an engine or transmission replacement, the head gasket is one of the more expensive car repairs. While Consumer Reports suggests avoiding some of the cars below, there are also suggestions of more reliable options.
The head gasket seals the area between the engine cylinder head and the engine block. These can fail due to deterioration over time, overheating, or a variety of other issues. If the head gasket needs replacing, it can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 or even more. The models on this list have an increased risk of this issue, as reported by owners.
Consumer Reports doesn’t suggest the 2011 BMW 3 Series
The 2011 BMW 3 Series comes in a variety of body styles and trim levels. Consumer Reports says that the 3 Series could start having issues between 72,000 to 122,000 miles. That’s fairly early on to need a head gasket replacement. The 3 Series has 11 open recalls and a reliability score of one out of five. You might be able to find one of these with lower miles for a good price, but beware it will likely need some costly repairs soon.
Buy this instead: 2011 to 2013 Infiniti G37
Consumer Reports says the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze needs many car repairs
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze has a fairly poor score on the Consumer Reports site. For 2011, both the reliability and owner satisfaction came in with a score of one out of five. It currently has seven recalls varying from the powertrain to the possibility of an engine fire. The Cruze might need a head gasket replacement between 107,000 and 143,000 miles.
Buy this instead: 2011 to 2013 Honda Civic, 2012 and 2013 Mazda3, 2011 to 2013 Toyota Corolla
The 2014 BMW X1 SUV isn’t reliable enough
The 2014 BMW X1 isn’t as old as some of the other options on the list, but it has the same issue. For 2014, both the reliability came in with a score of one out of five. The owner satisfaction was only a two out of five. This X1 also has five open recalls. The typical mileage at which this SUV might need a head gasket replacement is 76,000 to 82,000 miles.
Buy this instead: 2013 and 2014 Acura RDX
Avoid the 2011 Subaru Impreza due to recalls
The 2011 Subaru Impreza is quite the vehicle. In the ratings by Consumer Reports, the reliability score was three out of five. The owner satisfaction score was one out of five. Unfortunately, there are 14 recalls for the Impreza. Some recalls include exploding airbags, the engine shutting off unexpectedly, and issues with the brakes. The head gasket issue could appear between 85,000 and 109,000 miles, but Consumer Reports suggests avoiding this vehicle.
Buy this instead: 2011 to 2013 Toyota Corolla, 2011 to 2013 Honda Civic, 2011 to 2013 Mazda3
Avoiding Cars Requiring Head Gasket Replacement
Overall, some of the cars on this list are worth passing over. One of the suggested replacement options might still be within budget and cause less of a headache with car repairs.