There are a few different ways to test for a blown head gasket, but the easiest of them all is to check for multiple symptoms of a blown head gasket all happening at once. At the end of the day, all of these symptoms could be happening together and, even though the chance is small, you may still not have a blown head gasket.
This article will be dedicated to the no question TESTS that can be done to for sure prove you have a blown head gasket. All of these tests if they come up negative will still leave you questioning, but if they turn up positive then you are guaranteed to have a blown head gasket.
Here are the tests available to you:
How to Test for a Blown Head Gasket
- Cooling system chemical test
- Hot block pressure test
- Cooling system pressure test
The first definitive test you can do is a cooling system chemical check. First, purchase or rent a chemical test kit from your local auto parts store. Then drain enough coolant from your cooling system so you can idle your car with the radiator cap off and coolant doesn’t boil out. Then use the test kit to test for the presence of exhaust gas in your cooling system. The only way exhaust gases could get in your cooling system is if you have a blown head gasket.
The next definitive test you can do is a hot block pressure test. As the name suggests, this test is best done when the engine is hot. You can attempt this test with the engine cold which is much safer, but if the leak is small it won’t show up without when the engine is cold. You will first need the proper fittings to attach an air compressor to your spark plug threads. Next set the piston you’re testing to bottom dead enter and add air pressure up to 100 psi slowly to the cylinder. Next, watch the radiator for air bubbles in the coolant. The only way for air to travel from the cylinder to your radiator is if you have a blown head gasket. Make sure to leave pressure on the cylinder for a few minutes while watching for bubbles to test for the smallest leaks. Also, if you choose to do this test hot, be EXTREMELY CAREFUL to not burn yourself or damage your tools.
Cooling System Test
The last test you can perform is a cooling system pressure test. You will need a pressure test kit and time to let things sit. If you pressurize the cooling system and have a leak, coolant will slowly make its way into the combustion chamber. If you let the pressure sit on the system for a few hours you can check for the presence of coolant in your cylinders by using a boroscope to check for coolant through the spark plug openings or for a larger leak, simply start the engine and look for white smoke.
If you have one of these tests positively identify a blown head gasket and the hard part repair doesn’t make sense for your vehicle, consider using BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer to seal the leak in your head gasket getting your car back on the road!
You can pick up BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer at one of your local auto parts stores like:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto Parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributor
- DYK Automotive
- Fisher Auto Parts stores
- Auto Plus Auto Parts stores
- Hovis Auto & Truck Supply stores
- Salvo Auto Parts
- Advantage Auto Stores
- Genuine Auto Parts stores
- Bond Auto Parts stores
- Tidewater Fleet Supply
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts
- Any Part Auto Parts
- Consumer Auto Parts
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