My son has a Pontiac Sunfire(1998). Early in January the engine light kept going on and I told him to take it in to have it checked. He didn't. It kept going on and then it started overheating and he still didn't take it in. Finally, after a couple of weeks of this, it overheated and started steaming and it had to be towed to the mechanic. They looked at it and saw a hole in the reservoir and replaced the reservoir and whatever additional coolant was needed and then determined that it also needed a new thermostat. So we had it put in. Engine light was out and it seemed as though the problem was fixed BUT a week later the engine light went on and he was hearing a hissing noise and I think that there was steam again. This time he took it back to the mechanic right away. They have now said that the head gasket is blown. I am wondering why they didn't notice this problem when we brought it in the first time. I have always found these people to be honest mechanics (have had work done there before) on other cars. They are telling me $1300 for the repair (we live in suburbs of Chicago) and I am wondering if a) this is a feasible cost and/or b)if we should have this done based on the age of the car. It has about 78,000 miles on it. The body is good. Let's say that we consider the repaird.....is there anything I can tell them to look for - or is there some type of computer equipment that can be used to determine if this alleged blown gasket affected other parts of the car that would require additional work - and thus, render the car too costly to repair based on its age and its current value?
We are not "car repair knowldegable" and one of my son's friends is telling him that it is the mechanic's fault that the head gasket blew after the first repair. Personally, I think it is my son's fault since he ignored the warning signs initially. (He is kind of irresponsible.) While I am not going to pay for the repair if it is done (he is) - he relies on me for making the decisions. Whatever information anyone can provide will be most appreciated.