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Well, is the mechanic or service advisor telling you to change the head gasket because it gets blown or you just want to know the symptoms, to check if head gasket really blown or not?
But before that, you must know few things like if you’re changing the Head Gasket after 70,000 to 80,000 km; then its common because its last pretty well.
However, if you thinking to change it by yourself to save $1000 to $2500 (In India, ₹6000 to ₹25000) then let me clear one that, it’s an very difficult job to perform (if you’re doing it for first time)
So think twice before making any decision and after that know this common symptoms of a blown head gasket, which mostly happens in ever car due to this causes.
Therefore, following are common symptoms and causes of a blown head gasket-
(Click on any of this sections to directly know about it)
Well before knowing the symptoms, first you must know these causes, which mostly blow the Head gasket-
A) What are the main causes that Blown the Head gasket quickly
So following are the few causes that blow the head gasket with a tips to avoid it-
1) Damage due to Overheating
The first & the most popular causes of a blown head gasket is an Overheating, which happens inside the engine.
For example– Have you ever seen a steam coming out from the hood (bonnet) or the car suddenly stops while running? If not, then these are common symptoms of an overheating and you should always avoid it.
Usually this overheating happens due to a few reasons like defective cooling fan, radiator, thermostat valve, Etc.
So when the overheating starts to happen in the car, it mostly blown out the head gasket and the damages other engine parts.
Precaution Tip- But you can prevent overheating from happening by following this few steps.
- Changing Coolant time to time (After every 20,000 km)
- Use a Radiator Flush to remove all small particles (to protect radiator from Blockage)
- Always use High Quality Coolant (Anti-freeze Coolant)
- Do not overload the vehicle above its Gross weight capacity.
- Most Important– Keep an eye on Temperature Gauge (Given on Dashboard)
2) Damages due to Engine Misfiring
Engine Misfiring is another dangerous cause, which can significantly damage your engine, if you won’t take proper action.
Usually the engine misfiring happens due to a bad spark plug, ignition coil, fuel injector, etc.
However, it’s not that easy to identify the misfiring symptoms as compare to overheating. But, it is easy to prevent if you find the symptoms.
Precaution Tip- So following are the few steps, which you can use to prevent misfiring
- Clean the spark plugs after every 10,000 km or at the time of servicing
- Changing spark plugs time to time (after every 25,000 km)
- Checking the condition of Ignition coil, whenever changing spark plugs
- Using a Fuel Additives (Petrol or Diesel) to prevent the injector from blockage
Finally, after knowing the causes, now it’s time to know the symptoms of blown head gasket to avoid more damages
B) How to identify the symptoms of an Blown Head Gasket
So following are the easy to identify symptoms by which you can tell that your head gasket has blown out and you need a new one-
1) Engine Oil mixed with coolant
Have you ever notice the color or the thickness of a Coolant. If you know, then you can easily tell if it’s mixed with engine oil or not?
Usually when the head gasket gets Blown, the engine oil starts to mix with coolant and changes its color to an “Milky white”.
As a result, you also have to pay for new engine oil and coolant.
How to Check– Turn off the Engine (if started) then Open the coolant Reservoir Tank Cap and determine the coolant color (it should not be milky white as shown in image).
If the coolant color gets changed then also check for another symptoms.
Note- Don’t come to a conclusion, because it can be happens due to defective oil cooler. So checkout for few more symptoms
2) Bubbles forming in the Radiator Valve
Well, after checking the first symptoms you should checkout this one to confirm that you have a blown head gasket.
Because the Bubbles only form when there is combustion gases in the radiator, which enter due to a leak in Head gasket.
How to Check- So to check the presence of combustion gas in the radiator you can try two methods
- First, by using a Combustion testing Kit (Checkout this video to learn how to use)
- Or if you don’t want to spend, then you can try this method by just opening the radiator cap and then start the engine. If after 5 to 10 minutes a bubbles starts to form as shown in image then you can confirm there is a combustion gases in radiator because of a blown head gasket.
In some cases, if you won’t get this above two symptoms, then you should checkout this last three-
3) White Smoke coming from Exhaust pipe
It was one of the most visible symptoms in the list because it will only limit to you but other people can also see it.
If a white smoke coming out from the exhaust pipe then it simply means that the coolant is getting burn inside the engine due to defective head gasket.
You can also crosscheck it because it’s spread a ‘Sweet smell’ around the exhaust pipe.
4) Spark plugs quickly defect
As I said, the white smoke forms when the coolant gets burn inside the engine. So at that same time, this coolant will also damage the spark plug condition.
And as this process continue for a long time you will a starting problem due to a defective spark plug.
So the point is, don’t wait for this symptom; Solve the gasket issue as soon as you see the first three symptoms.
5) Coolant leaking from the Engine
This was the last symptoms when you see that your engine oil and coolant is lying on the road.
It is happens because the blown Head Gasket provides a path for the oil and coolant to escape from the engine.
So if you think that the oil and coolant level gets excessively low; and you unable to find the location.
Then you should start the engine and wait for them to come out, to locate the exact path.
And following is the most common question about a Blown head gasket-
Can you drive a car with a Blown Head Gasket?
Yes, you can if you ready to pay $1000 to $2500 (In India, ₹6000 to ₹25000) for installing a new Head gasket with few damages. However, the bill can get increase by 3x, if the engine head or block or any other major parts gets damage.
But, you can drive it, if there is only a small leak in the Head gasket and little amount of white smoke is coming out from the exhaust pipe. Otherwise, if you notice more 3 symptoms then you should change the head gasket as soon as possible to avoid more damages.
So to be concluded,
These are symptoms, which you should look for and if you find few of them, then change the Head gasket in Qualified Car repair Center.
On the other hand, if you won’t find this symptoms on your car, then you can confirm that your Head gasket is not Blown and it’s in good condition.
So if you able to find the condition of the Head gasket by using the symptoms given above then tell us about your experiences in the Comments section below.
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