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What are the Signs of a Blown Head Gasket?

Some part failures are not always obvious, as is the case with a blown head gasket. There are several signs you can watch for and if you get your car in for auto repair as soon as possible, it could save you a lot of money.

What does a Head Gasket Do?

The head gasket is a ringed panel that is compressed between the cylinder head and engine block. It seals the internal combustion to prevent gases and liquids from escaping to adjacent cylinders and other parts of the engine. It also prevents oil and coolant from mixing together. So it not only has to protect against the heat and high-pressure of combustion, but also the colder ambient temperature of coolant. As you can see, it is one of the most vital components. But the fluctuation in temperature takes a toll and eventually leaks develop and the gasket can blow.

What Causes a Blown Head Gasket?

Because of its purpose and location, anything from the combustion chamber to the coolant system could be responsible for a blown head gasket. As a result, there are mixed symptoms that could be the result. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Contaminated Oil

If a head gasket springs a leak, one surefire sign is contaminated oil. If you carefully examine the oil cap and dipstick, you will notice a milk-like ring that indicates the oil has been contaminated.

  1. Faulty Exhaust

Have you noticed water leaking out of a tailpipe? How about white smoke? It could be because of a cold start, but if they are accompanied by a sweet smell, it is a straightforward sign of a head gasket leak. Most leaks from the gaskets are internal. And when coolant gets into the combustion chamber, it burns white and evaporates.

  1. Fouled Spark Plugs

When coolant and oil gets into the combustion chambers, it also affects the spark plugs. You might notice tiny white deposits and if left too long, they can interfere with efficiency. That said, the white deposits are not always conclusive. In this case, look for other signs of a blown head gasket.

  1. External Oil or Coolant Leak

Another clear sign is oil or antifreeze leaking below the exhaust manifold when the engine is warm. Unfortunately, if there are other hoses or cooling passages near the head gasket, it will be harder to identify the leak. That is why you need to take your car in for auto repair so technicians can put dye in the coolant and perform a pressure test.

  1. Overheating Engine

Your engine will often overheat after longer drives if you have blown a head gasket. This is because of the lack of coolant or because of dirty coolant.

A head gasket is not a very expensive part, but replacing it can be costly because it takes a lot of work to get to a head gasket. The undertaking is something that should only be done by an auto repair professional. If you suspect a blown head gasket, call Holly Tire. Our ASE certified technicians can diagnose the problem and give you top quality auto repair in Clarkston, MI at a fair price. Stop by 15140 N. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 today or schedule an appointment by calling us.


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