Signs of a Blown Head Gasket

signs of a blown head gasketHaving a blown head gasket is a big deal.  It’s such a big that some people will refer to it as a blown motor, or consider a repair so major that it often isn’t worth completing and would be better to just have a whole new motor installed.  In some cases, this can unfortunately be true.  If you continue to operate your vehicle with a blown head gasket you run the risk of causing more damage in just a few miles.

When your head gasket blows it will allow engine coolant to escape either out of your engine as an external leak or into the combustion chamber of your vehicle.  In either case, the escape of the hot coolant through the gap in the gasket can cause pitting or deformation of your cylinder heads or engine block.  If you were simply to replace the broken head gasket with a new gasket your engine would still not be sealed properly as the pits and warping of the engine block or head would still allow coolant to leak past the new gasket.  In some cases, you can remedy this problem by machining the engine block and cylinder heads to remove the pits and make sure they are flat and smooth.  This process is not only expensive and time consuming, but there is only a certain amount of machine work that can be done before the block or heads are not usable anymore and your vehicle will need a new engine.

To make sure you do not get to the point of this kind of damage, you need to know the signs of a blown head gasket.  Whenever the head gasket is blown, the problem is leaking coolant.  Coolant either leaks past the head gasket out of the engine or past the head gasket into the cylinder and combustion chamber.

If you have an external leak you will notice coolant leaking from in between your engine block and the head.  This usually will happen just below the exhaust manifold or the intake manifold.  You may notice the leak while the vehicle is not running but it will most likely be noticeable when your engine is running and warmed up as steam spraying out from the motor.

signs of a blown head gasketIf you have an internal leak where coolant is leaking into the cylinder and combustion chamber, it can be more difficult to diagnose.  As the coolant leaks into the hot combustion chamber it will quickly evaporate.  If the leak is large enough you will notice white, sweet smelling smoke coming from your tail pipe, but if it is small, your exhaust may look normal.  Also, if the leak is large enough, you may get water in your oil as the coolant seeps past your piston rings or if there is a gap in the gasket between an oil passage and the water jacket.  Water in your oil will look milky or white around the underside of your oil cap.

The last sign of a blown head gasket with an internal leak is to look for the presence of exhaust gas in your coolant.  If there is a hole in between your combustion chamber and the cooling jacket in your head gasket, each time the piston pushes exhaust gas out of the combustion chamber into the exhaust system some exhaust gas will also be pushed into your cooling passage.  With a big enough leak you will find bubbles in your coolant overflow bottle or in your radiator.  With a small leak, there will still be some exhaust gas present in your coolant and you can get a chemical test kit to test for the presence of those exhaust chemicals.  This test, available at most parts stores, is the best and most reliable way to test for a blown head gasket.

Now that you know the signs of a blown head gasket you can catch it quickly before you do permanent damage to your engine.  If you notice a small leak it is also possible to fix it without ever removing your head gasket.  BlueDevil Pour-N-Go Head Gasket Sealer is an easy to use product designed for small head gasket leaks.  BlueDevil Pour-N-Go Head Gasket Sealer is easy to use even if you’re not mechanically inclined and can save you a significant amount of time and money.

BlueDevil Pour-N-Go Head Gasket Sealer

For more information about BlueDevil Pour-N-Go Head Gasket Sealer, visit our information page here: Pour N Go Head Gasket Sealer

To purchase BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer you can visit any of our partnering local auto parts store like:

  • AutoZone
  • 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 Distributer
  • DYK Automotive

 

Picture provided by:

signs_of_a_blown_head_gasket.jpg – By Tony Harrison – Licensed By Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0 Via Flickr – Original link
blown_head_gasket.jpg – By Irontite – Licensed by Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0 – Original Link

53 responses to “Signs of a Blown Head Gasket

  1. I used two 16oz BlueDevil Pour-N_Go yesterday as described. After four hours still I am experiencing very… slowly dripping water underneath the engine. My car is Chevy Impala 3.4L V6 and 2001 model. I never used sealant for any reason for my car because I love my car. Still I drive 110/day miles and four days a week. I did not touch the car after BlueDevil treatment. Please suggest me about my car.

        1. Devon-

          Thank you for asking about your Honda Accord. The BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer is only intended for water/coolant leaks. Unfortunately, we do not manufacture a product for oil leaks into the coolant/water. A hard part repair may be your best option.

          Thank you!

          -BDP

    1. My 2009 3.7 Jeep Commander has a minor misfire (diminishes as the engine warms) and an unexplained coolant leak resulting in mild overheating – common sign of bad gasket. I used Pour-N-Go 2 days ago and the misfire persists (maybe stronger now). Is this excess moisture still trapped in the chamber? No white smoke and no overheating anymore.

      1. Todd-

        Yes, it is fairly likely that there is still excess moisture due to the leak you had previously had. After running the days for a few days the misfire code should go away, if it has not already. Based on the fact that the white smoke and overheating have been eliminated it sounds like the BlueDevil was able to seal the head gasket leak(s).

        Feel free to contact us with any further questions.

        Thank You!

        -BDP

        1. Last 2 weeks I am seeing my 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S , check engine light On. I went to Mechanic shop and after diagnosis the code says P0300 (Multiple MisFire) they are expecting the Head Gasket is Bad and to replace they are charging $1800. I am little bit doubt about this and looking for some solution to fix this. My car is running good. In cold Morning vehicle engine shudder for few seconds and then become normal. I am not very sure about the coolant label going down as it shows normal to me.
          I heard about the “BlueDevil Pour-N-Go head Gasket sealer” Not sure whether I can use this or not. Any suggestion is appreciated.

          1. Alok-

            Yes, you can use the BlueDevil Pour-N-Go Head Gasket Sealer for the situation you have described. Based on your description, it sounds like you are referring to possibly getting combustion/exhaust gases blowing into the cooling system and creating pressure. To give yourself the best overall chance of BlueDevil working successfully, in addition to the directions, you should remove the spark plug from the cylinder with the leak; this will be the spark plug from the cylinder with a low compression reading. If you are not sure which one that is, you may pull all of the spark plugs and will sometimes notice one will have a white-crystal-like substance on it and/or may look dirty; this is the plug you should pull. Leave that plug out for the 50 minute idle in order to relieve the pressure from building up and thus allowing the product to seal properly.

            Thank you!

            -BDP

  2. Thanks for sharing this advice on diagnosing a blown head gasket in the car. I had no idea that exhaust gas in your coolant is a sign of a blown gasket. It’s nice that you can get a chemical testing kit to test for that exhaust gas too– I would definitely not be able to tell if there was gas just by using my eyes!

  3. Hello i have a 1999 Chrysler 300M it has been blowing white smoke out of the exhaust and there appears to be fuel leaking out of the exhaust as well. Can i still use the blue devil head gasket product?

    1. Maria,

      Thanks for your question about your 300M. The white smoke does sound like a blown head gasket. Hopefully what appears to be fuel leaking is simply condensation mixed with exhaust gases. If you do have fuel leaking, you should take your car to a mechanic as it is not safe to start. if you don’t have fuel leaking, then yes BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer (available here: http://store.gobdp.com/head-gasket-sealer-38386/) will be able to stop your leak and get you back on the road.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  4. Hello, I have a 2002 Isuzu Axiom with a 3.6 V6 engine. The radiator cracked when my wife was on the way home from a friends house and she didn’t notice the vehicle over heating until she was home. I replaced the cracked radiator with a new one and also replaced the thermostat. After these repairs I was loosing coolant and the vehicle would start to overheat within driving less then 5 miles. After some research online I thought this may be a blown head gasket. I could not find any leaks on the outside of the engine and had no oil in the coolant, or coolant in the oil. I had someone suggest trying the the blue devil poor and go sealant. I have used 2 of the 16 oz bottles at about 2 weeks apart, followed the directions to the letter. I have seen a large improvement in the operation of the vehicle but I still appear to be loosing coolant and the vehicle will overheat after around 30 mins of driving. I still am not finding any location on the outside of the engine that I am loosing coolant. I still do not see any oil in the coolant system or coolant in the oil. Not sure where to go from here.

    thank you

    1. Thanks for your question about your 2002 Isuzu Axiom. Based on your description, it sounds like you do have a blown head gasket. Overheating often causes blown head gaskets and the fact that the BlueDevil Pour-N-Go helped the overheating issue leads us to believe that is your problem. The next thing we would recommend is doing a compression check on all 6 cylinders. If 1 or 2 of cylinders reads low then you can assume you do have a blown head gasket in that cylinder. The hole may be too big for the 16 oz size bottle and you may need to use BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer, a more concentrated formula that can seal leaks in cars with larger cooling systems like yours. You can find BlueDevil Pour-N-Go and directions for use here: http://store.gobdp.com/head-gasket-sealer-38386/.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  5. hi i have a same problem of overheating. there is no leaks no oil in the coolant, but there is small amount of dirty water comes from the tail pipe. type of a car ford bantam bakkie 1992 model.

    1. Amos-

      Please contact our tech support team at 888-863-0426 so that we can gather a little more information about your vehicle and be better able to make the best recommendation.

      Feel free to contact us with any questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

    1. Mark-

      Thank you for asking about your GMC Jimmy. Based on your description, we would recommend using the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer (32 oz yellow label). You would want to change the oil before and after the BlueDevil process. Feel free to contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any other questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  6. Hi…
    I own a 1984 Buick Electra park avenue 4 Dr sedan with a 307 CI motor (5.0) my mechanic told me that the antifreeze is all leaking out of the exhaust y pipe bad!! Does this mean the engine block is cracked orva head gasket?? I love the car too much! I’m gonna try the blue devil sealer… See if that fixes the symptom… But if the motor is that bad.. I’m getting another one! Thanks!!

    1. Jeff-

      Thank you for asking about your Buick Electra. As long as you are not losing water/coolant too quickly, and the vehicle will maintain idle for a full 50 minutes, without overheating or stalling out, you would be a good candidate for the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer. Feel free to contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  7. I have a 1991 Honda Civic and am experiencing the bubbling coolant from the radiator…it’s just real small pin head sized bubbles that appear when the engine is running. The car only overheats at highway speeds…as soon as I get off and hit a service road it falls back down (temp needle). Is that a bad combustion chamber seal in the head gasket and will your product work for me?

    1. Jas-

      We do recommend using BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer for your Honda. It sounds like the vehicle may be getting combustion/exhaust gases blowing into the cooling system and creating pressure. To give yourself the best overall chance of BlueDevil working successfully, in addition to the directions, you should remove the spark plug from the cylinder with the leak; this will be the spark plug from the cylinder with the low compression reading. If you are not sure which one that is, you may pull all of the spark plugs and will notice one will have a white-crystal-like substance on it and/or may look dirty; this is the plug you should pull. Leave that plug out for the 50 minute idle in order to relieve the pressure from building up and thus allowing the product to seal properly. Be sure to follow the guidelines for the proper amount to use; you will only need 8 – 10 ounces for your Honda Civic based on its cooling capacity.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  8. Hello. I have a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am 3.4L would I need the 16FL bottle of head gasket sealer or the 32FL bottle?

    1. Kalob-

      Based on the cooling system capacity of your Pontiac Grand Am, you will need 16 ounces of BlueDevil to properly treat it.
      You may use either Head Gasket Sealer. The “Pour N Go” (16 oz./white label) is a less concentrated formula that does not require the removal of the thermostat or a flush of the cooling system prior to use. Whereas the “Mechanic Approved” (32 oz./yellow label) requires both the removal of thermostat and a flush before applying the product; the 32 ounce is the more concentrated formula. The product with the yellow label will give you best overall results as long as you can remove the thermostat and flush the system prior to use. However, if the thermostat is difficult to remove or you would rather not then you can always use the “Pour N Go”.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  9. I was driving home from work when my jeep overheated and shut down. I think its a blown head gasket and the exhaust is leaking into the cooling system, causing the coolant to dump out the radiator cap. Also the radiator cap is bad and needs replaced. My jeep is parked being watched over by some bums that helped me push it to a parking lot…. I game him some sunflower seeds and a gatorade…please help is Blue Devil for me?

    1. Levi-

      We recommend using BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer for your Jeep. It sounds like you are correct in stating that the vehicle may be getting combustion/exhaust gases blowing into the cooling system and creating pressure. To give yourself the best overall chance of BlueDevil working successfully, in addition to the directions, you should remove the spark plug from the cylinder with the leak; this will be the spark plug from the cylinder with the low compression reading. If you are not sure which one that is, you may pull all of the spark plugs and will notice one will have a white-crystal-like substance on it and/or may look dirty; this is the plug you should pull. Leave that plug out for the 50 minute idle in order to relieve the pressure from building up and thus allowing the product to seal properly. Be sure to follow the guidelines for the proper amount to use based on the size of your cooling system. Feel free to contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any other questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  10. My 1996 Ford Contour (2.0) Has compression/exhaust getting into the coolant system. It basically drives all of the coolant out of the engine and over heats. Should I try your product, as it may be difficult for the product to get into the engine with all the coolant being pushed out?

    1. Stan-

      We recommend using BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer for your Countour. It sounds like the vehicle is getting combustion/exhaust gases blowing into the cooling system and creating pressure. To give yourself the best overall chance of BlueDevil working successfully, in addition to the directions, you should remove the spark plug from the cylinder with the leak; this will be the spark plug from the cylinder with the low compression reading. If you are not sure which one that is, you may pull all of the spark plugs and will notice one will have a white-crystal-like substance on it and/or may look dirty; this is the plug you should pull. Leave that plug out for the 50 minute idle in order to relieve the pressure from building up and thus allowing the product to seal properly. Be sure to follow the guidelines for the proper amount to use based on the size of your cooling system.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  11. I have 2001 pontiac montana the oil is milky i change the thermostat and it running at the bottom of the engine and its leaking around my catilac convert , I know my head gaskets are bad because of the white smoke out my tail pipes will the blue devil save me or do i just need to replace the motor???

    1. Cedric-

      Thank you for asking about your Pontiac Montana. Based on your description, you would be a good candidate for the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer (32 oz yellow label). You will want to change the engine oil before and after the BlueDevil process. Feel free to contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any other questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  12. Good day,

    I drive a Nissan Navara 4lt V6. One day while driving my bakkie lost power and didn’t want to go above 3500 revs. When I opened the head, there was oil in my combustion chamber and it was smoking excessively and it is overheating. I had a guy that stripped the motor and replaced the gaskets and sealed everything. After testing the bakkie, water mixed with the oil and my bakkie still overheats and wont go over 3500 revs. Please help!

    1. Frikkie,

      Thanks for your question about your Nissan Navara. Our first recommendation would be to have the mechanic that replaced the gaskets and seals go back through his work and see if he’ll replace or repair anything under a warranty for his work. If you’ve got water mixing with your oil then you most likely have a head gasket leak or an intake seal leak that is allowing coolant to flow into the combustion chamber or into the oil passages of your engine block.

      If you discover a head gasket leak, then you should also check your block for flatness and your head for cracks and flatness before you reinstall it. if your head or block is warped then a new head gasket will not seal the leak.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  13. I used BD pour’n go twice after blowing out the head gasket on my 2000 Nissan xterra. All symptoms (overheating and smoke etc.) but loss of power are gone. My Xterra really struggles going up hill now. Is there something else I was supposed to do?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Chris-

      It sounds like the product was able to seal off the head gasket leaks you were experiencing. At this point we recommend trying to change your spark plugs and see if you notice any difference with the power. Another possibility would be a dirty fuel system. You could also try using our BlueDevil Fuel MD Fuel System Cleaner (http://store.gobdp.com/fuel-system-cleaner-00202/) to see if you notice any improvement.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  14. Hi I have a 2001 ford expedition and noticed weeks ago that a whitish or light blue colored smoke was coming out of my exhaust when I’d gas it after driving it more than 2 hours. I was told I had a little oil leak and had just been adding oil to it as I needed. Well yesterday I was down allot of oil and after adding some when I started it back up I smelled a sweet smell. My neighbor looked at it for me and said they think I have a bad head gasket! But I’m not over heating or having to replace coolant just oil! Do you think it’s my head gasket or what and do you think I should try this product blue devil? Please help!
    Thanks for your time

    1. Melissa-

      Thank you for asking about your Ford Expedition. The BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer is only intended for water/coolant leaks. Unfortunately, we do not manufacture a product for the type of leak you have described. A hard part repair may be your best option.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  15. Thank you Mr. Zach Friedley for your fast reply, I appreciate your help and knowledge.
    great products come from great people like yourself.

    as you mentioned my1989 GMC 2500 is 24.8 quarts, and I need 1.5 bottles, can I use two bottles, does it cause harm if I use more?

    Thank you Sir.

    Thank you Sir,

    1. Naser-

      Using more than the recommended amount of BlueDevil would not be beneficial, it is best to use the specified amount. Based on the cooling capacity of your truck you should add specifically 1.5 quarts (48 ounces) for proper treatment.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  16. My 2006 Toyota corolla started losing power while on the freeway. I seen a huge cloud of white smoke behind. I pulled over and the car shut down. Temperature gauge was high. Noticed antifreeze in the engine well. Will not start. Does it sound like something your product could repair? Didn’t see the milky appearance on my oil dipstick.

    1. David-

      Thank you for asking about your Toyota Corolla. In order to get the benefit of using the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer, the vehicle would need to be able to maintain idle for a full 50 minutes, and you should not be losing more than about a quart of water/coolant during that 50 minutes. If the vehicle can meet those basic guidelines, you would be a great candidate for the product. It sounds like the vehicle is getting combustion/exhaust gases blowing into the cooling system and creating pressure. To give yourself the best overall chance of BlueDevil working successfully, in addition to the directions, you should remove the spark plug from the cylinder with the leak; this will be the spark plug from the cylinder with the low compression reading.  If you are unable to do a compression reading then you may simply pull the plugs and you should notice one of them having a white-crystal-like build up on it or it may appear dirty; this is the plug you should pull.  Leave that plug out for the 50 minute idle in order to relieve the pressure from building up and thus allowing the product to seal properly.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  17. I have a 1998 Acura integra. Just had the clutch/flywheel replaced 3 days ago drove the car for 2 days and yesterday white smoke started pouring out of the tailpipe and it was running rough. Drove 1/2 mile home to find the radiator empty. I added antifreeze and it is still running rough and smoking . Could it be head gasket? It’s also making a knocking occasionally. Thanks

    1. Debbie-

      Thank you for asking about your Acura Integra. Based on your description, it does sounds like you are dealing with a blown head gasket. We recommend using the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer, http://store.gobdp.com/head-gasket-sealer-38386/. It also sounds like you may be getting water/coolant into the oil, which may explain the knocking sound. We recommend changing the oil before and after the BlueDevil process. Feel free to contact are technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

    1. Frederick-

      It is possible that you are getting combustion/exhaust gases pumping back into the cooling system.  You can use a “Block Dye Tester” to confirm whether or not that is the case.
      BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer will still work if your vehicle is getting combustion/exhaust gases blowing into the cooling system and creating pressure.  To give yourself the best overall chance of BlueDevil working successfully, in addition to the directions, you should remove the spark plug from the cylinder with the leak; this will be the spark plug from the cylinder with the low compression reading.  If you are not sure which one that is, you may pull all of the spark plugs and will notice one will have a white-crystal-like substance on it and/or may look dirty; this is the plug you should pull.  Leave that plug out for the 50 minute idle in order to relieve the pressure from building up and thus allowing the product to seal properly.  Be sure to follow the guidelines for the proper amount to use based on the size of your cooling system.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  18. I have an issue with a high pressure in the coolant system (air is getting in from somewhere). The thermostat was replaced, but no change. The engine is running normal, no issues. The only real issue (and that was how I noticed the problem) is that no hot air is coming into the cabin trough the vents in low speeds, but it is ok in high speeds (motorway). Not sure if head gasket is the problem and if I should use the sealant?
    Thank you

    1. Mirza-

      It is possible that you are getting combustion/exhaust gases pumping back into the cooling system.  You can use a “Block Dye Tester” to confirm whether or not that is the case.
      BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer will still work if your vehicle is getting combustion/exhaust gases blowing into the cooling system and creating pressure.  To give yourself the best overall chance of BlueDevil working successfully, in addition to the directions, you should remove the spark plug from the cylinder with the leak; this will be the spark plug from the cylinder with the low compression reading.  If you are not sure which one that is, you may pull all of the spark plugs and will notice one will have a white-crystal-like substance on it and/or may look dirty; this is the plug you should pull.  Leave that plug out for the 50 minute idle in order to relieve the pressure from building up and thus allowing the product to seal properly.  Be sure to follow the guidelines for the proper amount to use based on the size of your cooling system.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

    1. Brian-

      Yes, the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer would be able to seal the leak you have described. Feel free to contact our technical support team at 888-863-0426 with any other questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  19. I think i can send you a picture of my actual coolant leak from the head gasket in the single location from where it is coming. Can I send this to you and then you can tell me whether your product will have a chance of stopping the leak?

    The Car is a 1996 Ford Taurus 3.0 OHV, and the leak is below the spark plug closest to the alternator. That spark plug, removed, shows no signs of coolant, so I am pretty sure the leak is external only.

    To what email can I attach the picture, or even a video?

    Thanks, Lou

    1. Lou-

      Thank you for asking about your Ford Taurus. As long as your vehicle can maintain idle for a full 50 minutes, without overheating or stalling out, and you are not losing more than about a quart of water/coolant during that 50 minutes, you would be a great candidate for the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer http://store.gobdp.com/head-gasket-sealer-38386/. Feel free to contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any other questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  20. I have a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix not to long ago I was taking my son to school only to realize that my car wasn’t warming up AT ALL then once it did finally warm up there was white smoke coming from underneath my hood. My car began making a grinding noise only after pressing on the gas and when I removed my foot from the gas pedal it stopped. On my old cap it does look a little milky I don’t know what is going on help help HELP please if anyway possible

    1. Siera-

      Thank you for asking about your Pontiac Grand Prix. Are you noticing a loss of water/coolant? Water/coolant getting into the engine oil is a tell-tale sign of a blown head gasket. If that is what you are seeing, we recommend using the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer http://store.gobdp.com/head-gasket-sealer-38386/. You would want to change your oil before and after the BlueDevil process. Feel free to contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any other questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  21. HI I own a 2008 mazda 5 with a 4 cylinder motor. I have been experiencing the car smoking after a while of driving and a leak coming from what appears to be a factory hole on the side of the cylinder head any ideas? Also would the blue devil head gasket sealer help?

    1. Erik-

      Thank you for asking about your Mazda 5. Based on your description, we do recommend using the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer. As long as your vehicle will maintain idle for a full 50 minutes, and you are not losing more than about a quart of water/coolant during that 50 minutes, you would be a great candidate for the product.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

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