Signs You Have a Blown Head Gasket

A diesel engine is full of all different types of liquid. Things like motor oil and water coolant are vital to a properly functioning engine. However, if these liquids were to mix, it could be disastrous for your engine. The head gasket of a vehicle keeps these fluids from coming into contact with each other. Since it performs such an essential job, drivers must ensure that the part is always working correctly. This article will overview telltale signs you have a blown head gasket. Know what to watch out for, and you could save yourself trouble in the future.

What is a head gasket?

Before discussing the signs of a blown head gasket, it’s important to explain what the device does in a car’s engine. A head gasket is a panel that lies between the engine block and the cylinder heads of most vehicles. Ultimately, the device stops liquids from leaking onto the cylinder heads. The part sits in a very tricky spot of the engine—so much so that a mechanic would have to deconstruct the entire engine block to get to it. Also, the head gasket encounters a wide range of temperatures because of its location. Head gaskets deal with extremely warm temperatures from the combustion chamber and the cooler temperatures from the cooling system. These extreme variations in temperature cause warping and cracks over time. This warping can cause leaks and ultimately lead to a blown head gasket. The rest of this article will discuss symptoms of this issue and what drivers can do to prevent them.

Visual symptoms of a blown head gasket

There are some visual signs of a blown head gasket that are relatively easy to spot. When coolant makes its way into the combustion chamber, your engine enters a state of confusion. The combustion chamber is incredibly warm, so coolant isn’t meant to be anywhere near it. When coolant does make its way in there, the corrupted oil will have a milky appearance that’s easy for drivers to identify while the car is in park. If you turn on your engine, white smoke will come out of the exhaust. Finally, if the reverse situation occurs, and gases from the combustion chamber enter the cooling system, bubbles will appear. These are all visible signs of a blown head gasket that can alert drivers to a problem. Yet, it’s important to note that you can still experience a blown head gasket even if these signs aren’t present. It’d be best if you had a mechanic look under the hood to assess and confirm the problem.

Other signs of a blown head gasket

Another significant sign you have a blown head gasket is if your engine is overheating. Overheating occurs when coolant leaks into the combustion chamber and doesn’t do its job in the cooling system. This problem can be detrimental to your car’s overall performance. Drivers might not notice an overheating issue during a short car ride. However, overheating will become apparent as you’re cruising along the highway during a longer trip. Excessive engine heat can do major damage to your automobile. For starters, your cooling system may require replacement. Also, engine warming can set off a chain reaction in other parts of the engine system. Unfortunately, too much heat can cause your radiator to fail or create leaks in your water pumps. Therefore, you should see a mechanic the minute you notice your vehicle is overheating. You’ll be saving yourself a massive headache in the future.

Your engine may misfire if you blow your head gasket, too. If liquids leak into other parts of the engine, your car will not run smoothly. There’s nothing worse than preparing to start your day only to find that your engine won’t start. If you’re having frequent trouble starting your vehicle, contact a mechanic immediately. The professional can take a look underneath the hood and determine the problem.

Is this a preventable problem?

Luckily, there are measures you can take to prevent blowing your head gasket—it isn’t an inevitable occurrence. To begin, you should fill the reservoir with coolant the minute you notice it’s low. Don’t let this become a dire situation before you take action. Ignoring small problems will cause more significant problems in the long run. For long road trips, it’s a good idea to store a bottle of coolant in your car. This way, you can refill the cooling system and not have to worry about the engine overheating.

Another thing you can do to stop your head gasket from breaking is to turn off the engine the minute it overheats. Continuing to drive with an overheated engine will cause the entire thing to shut down. Also, be mindful while shopping for products. Only purchase high-quality coolant for your cooling system. Don’t skimp for the cheap stuff to save an extra buck. Top-of-the-line products are a must when it comes to taking care of your ride. Some people even try making their own coolant solution at home. DIY coolant products are incredibly ineffective and may even worsen the damage. Finally, contact a mechanic the moment you suspect a problem. Since the head gasket sits in such a hidden spot under the hood, it typically takes a trained eye to notice any issues. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.

Contact ATL Diesel for assistance if your head gasket blows while you’re out on the road. Our goal is to get drivers back on their way as quickly as possible. We know that truck repairs put a major damper on your day, so please, let us help. We have tons of remanufactured Navistar parts available for a reasonable price. People rarely budget for car repairs. We don’t want this issue to be a massive blow to your wallet. That’s why we’re always accommodating to our customers. Rest assured that these parts are high-quality, too. We want to make sure that you never run into similar issues again so that you and your car can have a long, happy life together.


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