One of the more difficult things about going to a mechanic is that most of us don’t know the different symptoms that a broken system in our car can produce. This lack of knowledge leaves us walking into the shop with little or no idea of what the mechanic might say is wrong with our car and no idea as the what the repair cost might be. Blown head gasket symptoms are no different, and if you’re not familiar with these symptoms, a diagnosis from a mechanic can leave you shocked. In this article we’ll talk through the different blown head gasket symptoms your vehicle may display so you can be prepared for what the mechanic might say.
Blown Head Gasket Symptoms:
- Chronic overheating
- Disappearing coolant
- Bubbles in your radiator or coolant reservoir
- Milky substance (water) in your oil or around your oil cap
- White smoke from your exhaust
- Fouled spark plugs or cylinder misfires
One of the difficulties with diagnosing a blown head gasket based on these symptoms is that most of the symptoms could also be associated with other problems. For example, chronic overheating could be caused by a bad thermostat, a low coolant level or other cooling system problems. Similarly, coolant can disappear due to many different kinds of leaks that can be very difficult to find.
Some of the other symptoms are more definitive. For example, in cool weather, you will see white water vapor from your exhaust while your engine is warming up especially in humid weather. However, if the smoke is thick and white, continues after your vehicle warms up, and smells sweet, it’s a sure indication that you have a blown head gasket. Similarly, bubbles in your radiator while your engine is still cold is also almost a guarantee that you have a blown head gasket.
In order for your mechanic to be absolutely sure you’ve got a blown head gasket he would have to disassemble your engine to physically inspect the head gasket. The vast majority of the cost of head gasket replacement is this procedure so that isn’t a cost effective method of proving you indeed have a blown head gasket.
If your vehicle is exhibiting multiple blown head gasket symptoms including one of the definitive symptoms like bubbles in your radiator, white smoke from your exhaust or water in your oil there is a good chance you’ve got a blown head gasket. A blown head gasket is simply a break in the gasket in between your cylinder block and cylinder head. This break allows your engine coolant to be drawn into the cylinder by the intake stroke, vaporized during the combustion stroke and exhaust gas pushed into your coolant passages during the exhaust stroke.
The symptoms you see are byproducts of this break. When coolant is drawn into your cylinder it will cause your vehicle to mysteriously loose coolant because there is no visible leak which can also lead to overheating. As coolant slips past your piston rings it will end up in your engine oil creating the milky substance you see. As the coolant is vaporized in the combustion chamber, it can foul your spark plugs and cause misfires in the cylinder. That vaporized coolant will travel out of your exhaust system as thick, sweet, white smoke. During combustion and on the exhaust stroke, gases from combustion will be forced into the coolant passages in your engine. This high pressure gas will travel through your coolant system and can often be seen as bubbles in your radiator even when the engine is still cold.
If you’ve seen these blown head gasket symptoms in your vehicle you’ve got a few options. First, replacing the head gasket is an option, but it is an expensive one that will probably leave your vehicle in the shop for an extended period of time.
The other option is to use BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer to seal the leak from the inside out. BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer is a powerful sealing agent that will travel through your cooling system until it finds the leak in your head gasket. There it will form a seal keeping your coolant in your cooling system and the combustion gases where they belong.
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