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Q: Blown head gasket-How likely the Block is Cracked? on 1998 Ford Contour

A head gasket recently blew on my 98 Contour due to coolant leaking into the oil (I think.) The mechanic said it would cost $1500 just to repair the gasket; he said the engine block could be cracked as well. I was wondering if anybody had any idea how often a head gasket is blown AND an engine block cracked? I don't want to pay for the gasket if there is engine damage as well, but the mechanic says he can't tell until he gets the head gasket apart.
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Your mechanic is correct, and they are smart to warn you of the potential issues before deciding on repairing your vehicle. Head gaskets are a fairly common repair on many vehicles after the engines have 100,000 or so, some occur even earlier. Unless you overheated the engine badly, the engine is not likely cracked, but only a tear down and inspection will determine that.
Ask your mechanic to present you with an estimate for a tear down and inspection with and without the head gasket replacement, and for the worst case scenario, and new/used engine replacement.
I'm having the exact same problem, with the exact same in estimates for repair. Time to get a new(er) car :)
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