Top 8 Head Gasket Blown Symptoms: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions

There are some models and makers of cars that are known for blowing the head gaskets. If you own such vehicles, then don’t worry because this does not necessarily mean that you have purchased a lousy car or you need to spend a lot of money for its repairing. We have summed up the top head gasket blown symptoms which will help you to know whether your car is at risk or not.

Head Gasket Blown Symptoms

The head gasket establishes a seal between the cylinder head and the engine block. This helps to seal both the coolant passage and combustion chamber of your engine. This signifies that the head gasket has to cover both the tremendously hot high-pressure combustion gas and the engine coolant as well. This can be anywhere from the average operating temperature of your engine to even cold ambient temperature. Because of the broad range of temperatures and comparatively large surface area, it is common for the head gaskets to start growing leaks with the passage of time.

As the head gasket seals this coolant passage from the combustion chamber as well as the atmosphere, you cannot see the whole head gasket on the car. It is quite difficult to read the signs of a cracked head. This is because most parts of the gasket cannot be seen without dissembling the parts of the engine. Along with this, the visual inspections does not prove the head gasket leak, and for this reason, as the owner of the car, you need to know how to avoid blown head gasket.

What does the head gasket do?

Upon combustion, the fuel and air can produce 700 psi in the gasoline engine and 2000 psi in the diesel engine. To keep the combustion chamber’s pressure high, it’s essential for the head gasket of your vehicle to be strong and installed in the right way. These head gaskets prevent the liquid and the gas from leaving the adjacent cylinders as well as the coolant galleries and the surrounding oil.

The engine coolants surround each of the cylinders for maintaining a stable temperature for working. This also needs to flow into the cylinder head to cool the spark plugs, valves, and combustion chamber.

Are you wondering how do spark plug works? Read the article here to know how it functions.

The head gasket also prevents the coolant from entering into the cylinders in the middle of the power strokes while the engine and oil are not functional. Sometimes it is possible to detect the problem just by knowing the head gasket blown symptoms.

Now, it is the time, we should learn about the symptoms of the failure of the head gasket.

What causes a blown head gasket?

The main reason for the blown head gasket is the extremely high temperature emitted from the engine. This high temperature is the result of the coolant leak or not having enough coolant in the radiator (another reason if radiator fan motor does not work or cut off the fuse.) This is necessary to understand that different head gaskets will vacillate at different temperatures and stages. Suppose, aluminium expands more when heated than any other material. This is why most of the people do not buy aluminium cylinder heads. As aluminium expands the most coming I contact with heat, it will gradually weaken the integrity of the material.

Here are some of your car engine overheating signs that you should understand to avoid issues like a blown head gasket.

What is the head gasket blown symptoms?

The signs of a cracked head can be very subtle. Here are the top eight most common head gasket blown symptoms:

1. An external coolant or oil leaking right at the seam in between the cylinder head and the engine block. This is a sign that your vehicle is going through head gasket failure or the cracked block. So, you need to check for the cracks and warping of the cylinder head.

2. Another evident sign of the head gasket failure is the cylinder misfire. If the dissolution is between the two cylinders and on the same head. It is recommended to do a cylinder compression and leak down test for the localizing the leak for scrutiny.

3. If the misfire on the startup is accompanied by some white puff of exhaust, then this also indicates a leak from the cooling system into the cylinder.

4. Overheating is sometimes caused in our vehicles but do we always pay attention? Well, now you have to. This is because overheating is one of the less obvious symptoms of the blown head gasket. If you see bubbles in the overflow tank then, the leak is severe. This indicates that the cylinder is leaking into the coolant.

5. Another vital sign is the blue exhaust smoke. This suggests the head gasket failure as well. Sometimes the worn rings, faulty PCV system or the valve stem seals also give out blue exhaust smoke. So, you need to be assured of it.

6. Another subtle indication is the discoloured fluids. Just like before, the discoloured fluids do not always indicate the blown head gasket.

7. If you found a latte-like consistency of oil under your oil cap or in the covers of the valve then, this is a sign. The coolant contaminated oil turns into a frothy like consistency.

8. The oil-contaminated coolant turns into a white thick mayonnaise-like film. This is accumulated in the overflow reservoir or on the radiator cap.

If you notice any of the given head gasket blown symptoms then, it is high time you should get your car checked. The wet and dry compression tests and the cylinder leak down test will provide you with the right location of the leakage. The block tester will help you to determine whether any combustion gases are there in the culling system or not- this is one of the surest sign of the head gasket failure. Your local auto care centre has all the necessary equipment to help you with the blown head gasket test.

How to fix a blown head gasket cheap?

You should be late if you suspect that your vehicle has a head gasket blown symptoms. If you are looking on the internet about “how to fix a blown head gasket cheap” then here are the steps that you need to follow to do-it-yourself.

Tools and materials Requirements

  • Scanner (Optional)
  • Vehicle Operators Service Manual
  • Valve cover oil Seals
  • Containers for Old Coolant and Engine Oil
  • Head gasket set
  • Drip Pans
  • Coolant
  • Recommended Engine oil
  • Proper Engine oil filter
  • Proper Engine thermostat
  • Exhaust manifold seals set
  • Hand Gloves for car repairing
  • Intake manifold seals
  • Vehicle repairing tool-set with several socket and wrench combinations
  • Safety glass for vehicle repairing
  • Spark plugs (Petrol Engine)
  • Spark Wire (Optional petrol engine)
  • Torque wrenches
  • Best Quality penetrating oil ( For rusty nut and bolt, if required )
  • Timing belt kit specific to your vehicle
  • Radiator ( If Damaged ) Optional
  • Radiator Fans ( If not working or fail) Optional

a. First, you need to disconnect the negative terminal of the battery that located at the car battery top.

b. Then, start by removing the intake hose and the air-box.

c. Then, slowly take the air conditioner compressor off. In this step, you need to be a little bit careful as you need to remove any bolts. Once the compressor is unlinked from all the connections, lay it on the side and go to the cylinder head.

d. Now, disconnect the water pump hose with the help of a screwdriver.

e. Then, confiscate the alternator.

f. Now, drain the radiator and safely remove all the hoses off the radiator.

g. Now, you will be able to see the head gasket. With the help of the service manual, turn the head bolts in the right direction to loosen it correctly.

h. As you have removed the old blown gasket, now, clean the new cylinder head thoroughly before setting down the new gasket head.

i. Once you are done installing the new head gasket, tighten the bolts again according to the direction.

j. Reconnect all the hoses in the right order, replace the alternator and be sure that all the parts are in the right place.

k. Pour some fresh coolant in the cooling system and turn on the engine, allow it to idle until it comes to operating temperature. Check the new head gasket, so there are no leaks.

l. Keep in mind it would be better if you change the engine oil and filters, Valve oil seal, intake and exhaust manifold seals, Timing belt, and Spark plugs.

You May Like: Bad Water Pump Symptoms

How to prevent head gasket failure?

When it is about the head gasket of your car, prevention is better than cure. The replacement head gasket is not expensive, but the repairing is.

This problem is the result of engine overheating. The best way to prevent overheating of the car is by keeping the cooling system in excellent condition.

Make sure that the system has no leaks and the radiator is working correctly. And the level of coolant is topped. Along with this, check the efficiently of the radiator fans and the opening of the thermostat at the right temperature.

If you suspect the leakage of head gasket failure then rush to the automobile centre as fast as you can. Do not open it by yourself if you do not know cars and its parts.

Here are some of the car maintenance tips that will help you keep you in good health for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much it costs for replacing the head gasket?

Answer: If you are replacing by yourself then, it will not cost more than 400 dollars. On the other hand, blown head gasket repair costs around 1000 dollars from the mechanics. It depends on the locality, labour rate and the severity of the problem.

Is it safe to remove the head gasket at home?

Answer: Yes and No. Yes, if you know the right way of disconnecting the connections from the head gasket and no if you are a knob.

Can you drive with a blown head gasket?

Answer: We do not recommend driving with a blown head gasket. Leaking of the combustion gases and coolant result in high temperature which leads to the erosion of the leaking area and the possible cracklings.

Can a blown head gasket damage the engine?

Answer: Well, as you already know, the main reason behind damaged or blown head gasket is the high engine temperature. This will turn your car into a time bomb literally. The high temperature is very harmful to your engine. So, you should not ride your car in this way.

How long does it take to seal or change the gasket?

Answer: A few hours is needed in case you are using a chemical sealant. If you have hired a mechanic, then it might take 2 to 3 days to repair the car altogether.

Maintaining the health of a car is very important while you are travelling. Any accident, minor or principal can be avoided with the help of proper care and maintenance.  So we always recommend that you should not compromise the quality of spares like coolant lube oil and filters. Use better spares from upper brands so that your car can have a long life!

Give your suggestions, and advice so that we could improve and deliver the best. Thank you so much for reading!

Read More:

Recent Posts