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10 Possible Signs of a Blown Head Gasket (Symptoms & More)


A car engine is made of moving parts. Each part has a significant role, though some are extra critical than others. A vital component is the engine’s head gasket. A head gasket works to cover sections of the engine.

That way, oil, air, and coolant won’t combine together. It retains them in the correct measures. Continue to read so you can understand all possible signs of a blown head gasket and some of the common symptoms.

What is a head gasket?

A head gasket is one of the car parts that most people never notice until something goes wrong. Located between the cylinder block and cylinder head, it seals the combustion chamber. This allows the car to contain exhaust gases and build proper compression. Although it does not need too much attention, damage to it can cause leakage of oil and coolant.

Top 10 Blown Head Gasket Symptoms

The head gasket stands essential for the health of the engine. It requires to continue to function correctly in order for the engine to work appropriately. Here are some signals (symptoms) or signs of a blown head gasket:

1. Fluid mixing (Coolant in the oil)

Coolant in the oil pro fix and repairAntifreeze has a sweet smell. When it mixes with oil, the coolant robs the oil of its lubricating properties. This can destroy your car engine block. A mixture of coolant and oil is light brown. Simply put, it looks like chocolate milk. If you notice this on your dip stick, then you have a head gasket problem.

Fluids mixing – When coolant mixes with the oil, it is a good indication of the blown head gasket. Intermixed fluids, whether water and oil or coolant in oil, shows that the gasket is weakening to keep them well separated. It is a visible sign that Utah auto repair work requires to be done.

Low levels of fluid can be triggered by the blown gasket. When the gasket is not there to separate the fluid and retain it in place, the fluid will stream to engines other parts, thus lowering the fluid level. If no apparent signs of drainage or leak into the engine, then you should look for a different reason why the head gasket fails.

2. Overheating Engine

A crack on your head gasket results in fluid leakage. The mixture of engine coolant and oil decreases the cooling system’s ability. As such, the system will not be able to absorb or dissipate heat. Also, a low coolant level can cause your engine to overheat.

Overheating – The head gasket, if blown, can cause overheating of the engine. When the engine overheats, and no symbol of coolant leaking, a blown gasket would expound your trip to the Utah auto repair shop. Once coolant and liquids flow into engine parts where they are not supposed to be, overheating can occur.

3. Milky Oil

Milky or frothy engine oil is a serious concern and a telltale sign for head gasket failure. Two things that can cause the engine’s motor oil to turn milky brown are water or coolant. Milky oil is usually caused by a blown head gasket, cracked casing, or failed transmission cooler. If you notice this, have your car checked and leaks repaired by a professional mechanic immediately.

4. White Smoke Coming from the Exhaust Pipe

If you notice white smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, the problem could be a manifold gasket failure caused by overheating. Coolant leaked into the cylinder enters the combustion engine creating white steam. Other forms of damage include a warped or cracked cylinder head or a cracked engine block.

White Smoke – If you notice a white smoke that emanates from your car exhaust, it can be a sign of blown gasket. The white smoke is produced because the coolant in the engine is burning. Coolant would burn if it flowed into a sector of the engine it wasn’t made-up to be in. Some car owners confuse this smoke with the cold weather smoke. If you ignore blown head gasket symptoms you might end up with a big replacement cost.

5. Head Gasket Leak

In case of external leaks, coolant may come below the exhaust manifold. This frequently happens when the car engine is thoroughly warmed up. You can positively identify the leak if there are no other cooling passages close to the head gasket. Adding UV dye can help you identify the leak too.

6. Bubbles in the Radiator

Bubbles in the radiator or the overflow tank can occur if the gasket sealant fails between the water passage and the combustion chamber. Air is generally forced through the crack and into the cooling system, causing bubbles. These bubbles can build an air pocket and prevent coolant from passing.

7. Bad or Tinted Spark Plugs

As coolant burns in the combustion chamber, white deposits coat your spark plug. These deposits usually are around the electrode and ground strap. If the spark plugs also appear blistered, it means the plugs are running hot.

8. Compromised Coolant System

Engine cooling usually works when coolant absorbs heat generated by the car engine. It transports the heat to the radiator, where it dissipates the heat and cools down the car engine. If your car is overheating, then you have a compromised coolant system, which also means a damaged head gasket.

9. Cylinder Misfire

A cylinder misfire is a sign of a head gasket failure. This is true when the breach is between two cylinders on the same head. When there is a breach between cylinders, compression from the cylinder leaks into the other, this results in a rough idling engine.

10. Engine Cranks but the Car Won’t Start

If your engine cranks but will not start or run, it means your car engine is having trouble creating compression, producing a spark, or getting fuel. While the most common symptom is a head gasket issue, other reasons could be a bad ignition coil or clogged fuel filter.

Hydro locking: It can be initiated because coolant has come intimate the engine’s cylinder. This can only be caused for a reason that the head gasket blows, which your auto repair mechanic will help you with.

How to fix blown head gasket tips

Mechanic fixing oil leaked blown head gasketRepairing a blown gasket is a significant work, on the other hand. However, with the precise knowledge and tools, it can be completed. I inspire you to contact a trained mechanic.

Remove battery terminals

First, remove the battery terminal (this is mostly a safety precaution). Then, the cooling system requires to be drained; if you do not, it’ll make a mess the garage or workplace. Next, raise the car with a floor jack and support the front of the vehicle on a set of sturdy jacks. Let me make a quick aside and mention that you invest in high-quality jack stands. Next, you’ll need to confiscate the exhaust pipe, which is connected to exhaust manifold. It’s typically (though, not always) held into place by two bolts. After you’ve detached the exhaust pipe, lower the vehicle.

Dismantling the Vehicle

Pop the hood of your automobile and remove the upper heater hose and the air cleaner. Look round for the nut, which is holding the dipstick pipe bracket. You’ll need to remove it. You’ll also find a coolant temperature feeler, which you’ll need to unplug. Next, remove the oil cap, wires, and water shield from the motor. Have an oil pan gasket container available for residue.

Now, remove head screws which are placed on the uppermost part of the head. At this point, you need to take off the upper half and the valve cover gaskets. Then, take off connector wiring harness, which lies right close to the throttle body.

Remove throttle cables of the body, and also two head screws which help grasp the bracket. I can’t emphasize this enough: use extreme caution with the fuel lines; there may be a lot of pressure fabricated within, and the fuel is flammable.

Remove the faulty one

With a little more dismantling, you’ll reach the head gasket. Once you’ve removed the head, scrape the old gasket and substitute it with the new one. Plus, clean the head with an air compressor and a brush.

After you have applied the new gasket, put the head back into place. You can now start putting the car back together again. As I have stated above, if you have any questions, speak with a trained mechanic.

If you’re not familiar with doing your own upkeeps (in other words, you barely know where to put the gas), let your mechanic perform the job for you. Replacing the head gaskets seal stop leak and prevents further damages. Make sure you use a head gasket sealer when you get a gasket replacement.

Indicators or signs that the head gasket is blown

Other reasons why your car can start overheating regardless of the source it is vital to stop driving the vehicle until having the suitable car repair job done, or you will definitely be risking some costly car repair matters such as a blown gasket or cracked head gasket. An obvious indicator is an oil burning smell during the combustion process.

Since the gasket head remains a vital component of your car’s engine, it can mean replacing the whole engine if the gasket is impaired. This is totally preventable if you adhere to the cautionary signs that your car is overheating and take the appropriate actions. A common symptom is a coolant reservoir, but down below, you can find the typical indicators:

Thermostat or temperature gauge

The most apparent indicator that you are having difficulties with your car’s coolant system is the reading on your thermostat or heat gauge. Usually, your vehicle should be recording at the mid-level on the gauge. If the reading begins to rise above that mid-level point and continues to go up or stays up high, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

The radiator cap isn’t on tight

There are several reasons that a car can overheat beginning with the car’s coolant system. The most obvious and inexpensive is the radiator cap isn’t on tight. If the cap is loose or off ultimately, the radiator system won’t build up adequate pressure to work correctly, and the car will overheat.

Wait until the car engine has cooled down and stiffened the cap. Never try to mess with your car’s radiator system while the engine is hot, the coolant can sprig and cause severe burns when this cap is removed from a hot engine.

Low on coolant

If you find the cap was on tightly, the next visible indicator is you are low on coolant. You can check this yourself reasonably straightforward, and if you are low, you can add more coolant. To test your coolant level, just park on a level grade and let the car ideal with the vehicle’s heater turned all the way up on high. Allow coolant to settle for a few minutes.

If you aren’t getting any warm air blown back on you, you’re probably losing coolant. Be sure to add the right mixture of 50/50 coolant. If your mixture ratio is off, your system won’t react correctly and will overheat. If your engine leaks head gasket oil, it can cause major problems further on.

Other engine repair matters that can be causing the car to overheat include an undetected leak from your radiator hose or a faulty water pump. The car’s fan may be stuck or broken, which means it isn’t running, and it isn’t contributing to your car’s coolant system the way it was envisioned to. Or the thermostat could be stuck in the closed position, which is a comfortable car repair fix.


New head gasket sealant when signs of a blown one ocurs

How Much Does a Gasket Cost to Replace?

The average cost to fix or repair a blown head gasket is around $1000 to $3000. This depends on the overall condition and the type of engine block and cylinder. Since the task is time-consuming and complicated, the majority of car owners may find it much cheaper and faster to scrap the car than repairing damage caused by a broken head gasket. Some of the pressure tests that a mechanic needs to perform is a compression test. Unfortunately, the head gasket repair costs or any engine damage auto repair can be costly.

Should Anyone Drive with a faulty one?

It’s not recommended to drive with a bad head gasket. Why? Leaking oil, combustion gases, and coolant can result in high temperatures. This causes erosion of the leaking area leading to cracking.

When you drive with a blown head gasket, the mixture of oil and coolant will make your engine to overheat. If you notice an oil burning smell, you should stop driving your automobile an make sure a mechanic verifies the oil stop leak and also check the rear main seals.

Why Does Gasket Failure Occur?

There are several causes of head gasket failure. For starters, the problem could be pre-ignition. When fuel combusts during unwanted times, high pressure occurs in the cylinder head. As such, the car engine begins to work against itself.

The rising pressure can strain the heater core and head gasket, causing it to fail. Another issue that makes your head gasket to fail is the car engine overheating too many times. Hydro locking is another sign that the head gasket has failed.

Final Words

Finally, if none of these is problems are specific to your situation, you may have a clogged radiator. If your car’s radiator system hasn’t been flushed and maintained correctly, it can become clogged with dust and other contaminants. Flushing your radiator system should fix the vehicle overheating any more if this is the root source of the cars difficult. A head gasket fix can be costly.

Any engine repair that requires to remove the intake manifold is going to be expensive. We never expect this kind of problem when the car runs until you have a head gasket issue. Coolant loss will result in having an engine run minutes without overheating. A common symptom of why gaskets fail is due to coolant in the oil.

Make sure your mechanic checks the oil filter or any to verify that no other bars leaks. Head gasket can cause white exhaust smoke when there is an oil passage damage to the engine. The Bluedevil head gasket sealer has proven to be a reputable brand. For more information regarding oil leaking problems, visit our latest posts.


Last Updated on: July 13, 2022

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