How to Tell if You Have a Blown Head Gasket

The head gasket is a rather simple, yet very important, component within your engine assembly. It provides a vital seal between the engine block and the cylinder head. It allows the engine to build proper compression within the combustion chamber while also containing exhaust gases to keep the engine running efficiently. In addition, it keeps coolant and oil out of the combustion chamber, which can do internal engine damage if leaks occur.

Head gaskets are usually made of a composite material using a graphite base, silicone and other sealants to provide a tight seal. However, over time it can deteriorate and develop leaks. And unfortunately, some vehicles and head gaskets are more prone to failure than others, so always be on the lookout for manufacturer recalls if you are worried about your head gasket. When leaks do happen, bad things can happen within the engine. When a significant leak occurs, most mechanics will refer to it as a blown head gasket. Any damaged head gasket should be replaced immediately to prevent further engine problems.

According to the Fairbanks auto repair professionals at Simard Automotive, there are several signs you can be on the lookout for. If you notice any of these symptoms, you could have a head gasket issue that is worth getting looked at by an automotive expert.

1. Engine Overheating

A blown head gasket will likely cause the engine to overheat. There could be another cooling system issue in play, as well.

2. Coolant Leaks

If you notice radiator coolant (antifreeze) leaking from your vehicle, it’s always cause for concern. If you can tell it’s leaking from below the exhaust manifold, then there’s a good chance it’s a head gasket leak.

3. White Smoke

When the smoke coming out of your exhaust pipe is unusually white, that is a common sign of a head gasket failure.

4. Bubbling Radiator

If there are bubbles forming in the radiator or the coolant overflow tank, it could be from a leaking head gasket.

5. Corroded Spark Plug

When coolant seeps into the combustion chamber and burns, it often leaves tiny white deposits on the spark plug. You can sometimes see it around the electrode and ground strap.

6. Milky Oil

Take a look on your engine oil dipstick or around the oil cap. If the oil has a milky white color, that is typically caused by coolant, water and oil both leaking into the combustion chamber of the engine.

If you think you might have a blown head gasket or any other cooling system issue, it’s best not to wait. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse and potentially cause major internal engine damage that will be very costly to repair.

For all your head gasket, cooling system and engine repair needs in Fairbanks, Alaska, count on the auto repair specialists at Simard Automotive. Call us today at (855) 690-0889 (Aeronca Ave.) or (855) 639-5001 (Gaffney Rd.). Or, schedule your service appointment online.

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