The Average Cost for Piston Ring Replacement Is $75-$3,500, Depending On If You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
The price range for replacing a piston ring is based on national averages for all vehicle types. This amount does not consider your particular vehicle make or model, and no taxes or fees are included in this price. Related maintenance services such as an engine oil and filter change or timing belt replacement are also extra. For a more accurate estimate of piston ring replacement cost based on your make, model, and location, check out the FIXD Sensor and free app!
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Cost at the Mechanic: $1,800-$3,500
- Parts: $75 to $100
- Labor: $1,800 to $3,500
While the actual piston rings are relatively inexpensive, the cost at the mechanic comes from the labor involved in taking out the old piston rings and replacing them with new ones. It can take even a seasoned mechanic up to 10 hours to complete a piston ring replacement. Most piston rings need to be replaced at around 100,000 miles.
To learn more about important car maintenance and when to have it done, check out our ultimate guide to car maintenance for beginners.
Cost to DIY: $75-$300
- Difficulty Level: Advanced
- Parts Needed:
- Brake cleaner or degreaser
- Kerosene to soak removed pistons in
- Piston ring tool
- Piston rings
Having your vehicle’s piston rings replaced by a mechanic can cost you thousands of dollars. Though it can be complicated, it’s possible to do it at home if you have the right supplies. A mechanic could charge you between $85 and $300 per hour in labor expenses alone, depending on their experience and the shop itself. This adds up quickly when the replacement process can take upwards of 10 hours to complete.
Use the FIXD Sensor and free app to get automatic maintenance alerts when it’s time to replace your piston ring and other important maintenance items so you can keep your car running smoothly!
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What Is a Piston Ring?
Piston rings are an internal component of the engine, and they attach to the outer portion of the piston to provide a seal for the combustion chamber. These rings are in place to help regulate your vehicle’s oil pressure and control the amount of oil consumed by the engine. If piston rings are worn out or damaged, your car will display various symptoms that something is wrong. Piston rings may be small, but they’re critical for the engine to operate properly.
What Does Replacing a Piston Ring Include?
Before replacing a piston ring, it’s advised to run a compression test to ensure that the piston ring is indeed the culprit. Other parts may cause some of the same symptoms, such as a valve seal. This is why it’s essential to run the test. If a piston ring is damaged, you can expect a time-consuming task, but DIY is entirely possible.
There are nearly 30 parts that must be removed in most vehicles before reaching the piston rings. Through borescope cleaning, you’ll have to send high-pressure water through small holes drilled above the cylinders to remove remaining sludge or particles left behind, so they don’t get stuck in the engine when it’s reassembled. This task and the reassembly are what make it so costly to have the repair done in a mechanic shop.
Codes related to a bad piston ring include:
- P0018 Crankshaft Correlation Position (Bank 2 Sensor A)
- P0352 Ignition Coil B Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
What Happens If You Don’t Replace a Piston Ring?
If a piston ring breaks and you fail to change it, you may experience catastrophic consequences. When a piston ring fails, it cannot keep oil from leaking into the cylinder. When the oil leaks, it gets mixed in the combustion process and will slowly leak into the cylinder, which causes a drop in your vehicle’s oil level, leading to poor performance and even engine failure.
How Often To Replace a Piston Ring
The average life expectancy of a piston ring is 100,000 miles, though they can last anywhere from 50,000 miles to 250,000 miles depending upon maintenance. If your piston ring becomes damaged or is worn out, it should be replaced promptly to prevent further engine damage.
Follow the guidelines listed in your owner’s manual from the vehicle’s manufacturer. Consult a professional mechanic if you’d like more information on changing the piston ring in your specific make and model.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace a Piston Ring
The common symptoms of a bad piston ring can be similar to other bad vehicle parts, so it’s essential to keep these common symptoms in mind when determining whether or not your vehicle needs to have the piston rings replaced. Here are the top five common symptoms of a bad piston ring:
- Lots of of exhaust smoke coming out of your vehicle: This smoke will be very thick and have blue or dark gray colors. The smell of burning oil often accompanies the smoke because the oil will begin leaking into the combustion chamber when a piston ring is bad. The burning oil results in the smell and thick exhaust smoke.
- Excess oil consumption: If you need to add oil between your regular oil changes, inspect your piston rings to see if they need to be replaced.
- Poor acceleration: A loss of compression will result in poor acceleration. When you press the gas pedal, it will take longer for your vehicle to speed up.
- Excess oil in your air filter: This happens as the air and oil mixture escapes past the damaged piston rings.
- Poor overall vehicle performance: Eventually, your vehicle may lose power completely, and you may have to have your vehicle towed somewhere. This usually only happens if you ignore the symptoms mentioned above.
Related Maintenance Services
The following maintenance services may be performed when replacing piston rings:
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