So I dropped off my Alfa 156 2.0 Selespeed Veloce (2001, 114k) for it's MoT and service recently to the same well-regarded Alfa indy who carried out a major service (belts, pumps and the works) about 8,000 miles ago.
Due to crossed wires, the garage doesn't do a service and just pops it in for the test, which the old girl passes with flying colours.
When the garage rang to tell me to come and collect it, I ask them if they've done the service and they say "sorry, didn't realise you wanted one, we'll call you later," which is fine as I'm not in a hurry this week.
When they call later, they tell me the head gasket is gone and the repair will cost around about what the car's worth, ie: not really worth it.
I ask how he knows the gasket is gone and the mechanic says, in a nutshell, that the coolant is low and the revs are lumpy.
I'm no mechanic but I spend a lot of time on these forums and know that there are often more than two opinions out there so here's the question:
Bear in mind that the car has passed its MoT (and emissions) four hours previously, that I've never noticed anything blue or white or untowards coming out of the exhaust, that I check the oil regularly and have never noticed any froth or cheese down there (although I have to confess I never check the coolant), that it was running fine when I took it in, that the temperature light has never come on and that if the revs are lumpy, they aren't lumpy enough for me to notice when I drive it up country once a week....is it really possible that the head gasket is gone? If it's only slightly gone, is there a cheaper fix?