Finding out that you have a blown head gasket can cause a major headache; but trying to fix it can cause an even bigger headache.
Repairing a blown head gasket is a big job. that should not be underestimated. Not only can it be quite time-consuming, but it can be expensive.
The latter is especially true if it ends up costing you more to repair than your vehicle is worth.
If you do decide to take on this job yourself, it’s important to act quickly.
Driving with a blown head gasket can seriously damage your vehicle, which could end up costing you even more money, and could even render your car irreparable.
Understanding the Function of the Head Gasket
First things first: it’s important to understand the purpose of the head gasket.
This head gasket is situated between two of the most important components of your engine: the cylinder head and the engine block. Within the cylinder head is the valve train, and the crankshaft is located inside the engine block.
These two components make up the combustion chamber, which is located above the piston. Coolant and oil lines also travel through the engine block and the cylinder head via the head gasket.
The main function of the head gasket is to seal off these coolant and oil passages. It also ensures that oil remains within the lubrication system and that water remains in the cooling system. Finally, the head gasket also keeps combustion gasses in the cylinder.
What is a Blown Head Gasket?
When a head gasket blows it allows oil, coolant or gasses to pass into spaces where they don’t belong. Since the combustion chamber is the spot where temperature fluctuate the most and where and the pressure is the highest, this is usually where a leak will develop leading to a blown head gasket.
Signs of a Blown Head Gasket
There are several tell-tale signs that indicate a vehicle has blown a head gasket. Some of the signs include:
- Bubbling in the radiator or the coolant reservoir, which will occur as a result of the combustion gasses seeping into your vehicle’s cooling system.
- White smoke coming out of the tailpipe, which happens when coolant that has leaked into the combustion chamber burns.
- A thick white substance in your engine’s oil, which develops because coolant is leaking into the lubrication system.
Check out this handy clip from Blue Devil then read our quick review below:
Determining a Blown Head Gasket is to Blame
If you notice any of these signs or you have any other reason to believe that your vehicle has a blown head gasket, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that this is the real problem.
- Purchase a test kit from an auto supply store that can determine if combustion gasses are in your engine’s coolant.
- Check the compression in your vehicle’s cylinders. If one cylinder has low compression, it could be an indication that a blown head gasket is to blame.
Why Replacing a Blown Head Gasket is Difficult
Replacing a blown head gasket is a difficult task for one simple reason: the cylinder head needs to be separated from the engine block to carry out the repair.
While this doesn’t take a lot of time itself, the process that is necessary because there are several components that need to be removed before you can access this part of your engine.
Fortunately, as we’ve seen, there is a more cost-effective and timely way to repair a blown head gasket that you can try before going to the time and effort of trying to fix the problem by pulling your engine apart. This involves adding a specially formulated head gasket sealant to your radiator.
Plenty of leading brands have brought head gasket sealers to market recently. They all seem to work pretty well an are very affordable. And once added they work automatically to seal the leak while you drive.
We tried BlueDevil Pour-n-Go Head Gasket Sealer with good results. Its probably the most popular sealer around at present – its priced better than most and is super easy to use (it allows you to repair a blown head gasket without ever having to access the components of your car referred to above).
Once added, this sealant will seal off the leak and keep your combustion chamber and coolant nicely separated, as they should be.
You can read our review and what plenty of other users have to say about it HERE.
Have you fixed a blown head gasket recently?
If so how did you get on?
Looking for more help? Then check out this great step by step guide from wikiHow.
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