If you’ve found your way to this page, it’s probably safe to assume that you have already blown a head gasket, or you are driving a car that is notorious for blowing them.
If the latter is the case, there are some things that you can do to avoid blowing a head gasket in the future. If the former is the case, you’re going to want to avoid putting the keys into the ignition of the vehicle.
Why? – Because driving with a blown head gasket is definitely not recommended.
The Purpose of a Head Gasket
The head gasket is located between the engine block (where the valves are located) and the cylinder head (the part that houses the valves).
It has the important task of containing compressed air and fuel within the cylinder so that it can be transformed into energy.
It also prevents oil and coolant from entering the combustion chamber.
Should oil and/or coolant make their way into the combustion chamber, the ignition process won’t be possible.
Plus, your vehicle will end up losing necessary fluids.
So you see, head gaskets are vitally important for a healthy running car.
What Happens When a Head Gasket is Blown?
When a head gasket blows, several serious issues can arise:
- Coolant can escape the engine. When the head gasket is blown, coolant can leak out of the engine, which can end up causing the engine to overheat if the vehicle is driven for any amount of time.
- Damage spark plugs. Should coolant find its way into your fuel and engine oil, it can prevent the spark plugs from functioning properly. This could greatly reduce the performance of your engine, as the coolant will leave behind deposits as it burns.
- Damage sensors. If coolant makes its way into the engine, it can do damage to the sensors because it will alter the air-fuel ratios.
- Rusted pistons. When coolant enters the combustion chamber, the pistons, piston ring and cylinder wall can all rust. These are all serious problems, as they can reduce compression in the combustion chamber and necessitate a complete overhaul of the engine.
- Coolant can mix with engine oil. When a head gasket blows, coolant can mix with your engine’s oil. This can cause serious problems, as the oil won’t be able to properly lubricate all of the key parts of your engine, which could lead to some very expenses repairs.
- Reduced engine oil levels. A blown head gasket can cause engine oil to leak. If your oil is leaking, it means, as we’ve seen above, that your engine won’t get the lubrication that it needs, which could result in serious damage to all of its components, including the camshaft and the bearings.
- Damaged combustion chamber. Driving with a broken head gasket will allow gases to seep out of the combustion chamber. This can lead to dangerously high pressure in the cooling system and can compromise the integrity of the parts surrounding the leak. If coolant and combustion gasses are leaking, temperatures can soar, which could ultimately wear away the area around the leak causing cracks to develop in the combustion chamber, which is as bad as it sounds!
How To Check For A Blown Head Gasket
Check out this handy clip from 2CarPros on how to check if you have a blown head gasket:
Preventing A Blown Head Gasket
Given all of the above, it’s never a good idea to drive with a blown head gasket! Fortunately, there is a way to seal off a blown head gasket, which will allow you to avoid damaging your vehicle.
How? – By adding a specially formulated head gasket sealer to the radiator.
These products work by sealing off the head gasket while you drive, preventing damage to your vehicle.
They are easy to use and it they work quickly. There are several on the market at present, all of which do a pretty good job.
We recently used Blue Devil Pour-N-Go Head Gasket Sealer with pretty good results.
In short you can, but you definitely, definitely shouldn’t!
If you absolutely must, to be sure to take your car to a professional straught away, or even better, have them come to you.
Have you had to drive with a blown head gasket recently? If so what were the consequences and how did you fix the problem afterwards?
Let us know below.
For an interesting debate on this topic check out this discussion on Quora.