Head gasket sealant can be a lifesaver when you have a leak and aren’t able to get the head gasket fixed right away. In addition to plugging holes in head gaskets, there are other problems head gasket sealant can fix.
Head gasket sealant can help with the following engine issues:
- Cracked cylinder heads
- Heater cores
- Freeze plug
Head Gaskets Explained
The head gasket is a simple piece of automotive equipment that literally stands between your engine and catastrophe. A small leak in the head gasket can lead to a total engine overhaul costing thousands of dollars if left unchecked.
Why is that? Because the head gasket protects the combustion chamber of the engine that produces fire and fumes of fuel and little explosions from the mechanical parts of the engine that move up and down, back and forth, and require lubrication and coolant. The head gasket keeps the coolant and lubricating oil out of the combustion area and the high heat and pressure of combustion away from the moving parts. Any seepage across that barrier is a recipe for disaster.
Head gaskets are relatively simple and inexpensive automotive parts. Just a fraction of an inch thick and a few inches wide, the gasket is usually a single piece of steel, carbon or copper, or a composite that might include steel and an elastic compound. Head gaskets do not move, spark or conduct electricity; they simply wall off one section of the engine from another.
Most Common Problems Head Gasket Sealant Can Fix
You can pick up a head gasket itself for twenty bucks, but head gasket replacement can cost over $1000
Access to the head gasket requires much of the engine to be disassembled or removed, then reassembled once the new head gasket is installed. This is an extremely time-intensive process at $100 an hour or more. Once the engine is deconstructed, it makes sense to change out other parts as well. All that comes with a hefty price tag.
It is possible to avoid the cost of head gasket replacement with a $40-$80 can of head gasket sealer, available at any automotive store or online. The sealer is a liquid that is poured into the radiator and pumped through the engine that hunts out and fills cracks in metals and composites.
Because head gasket sealant travels throughout the engine seeking out cracks and leaks, it is like a Swiss army knife for automotive problems. High-quality sealant sniffs out leaks and cracks and bonds to a variety of surfaces for a permanent seal in parts other than head gaskets, such as warped or cracked cylinder heads, heater cores and freeze plugs.
Let’s take a look at the other problems head gasket sealant can fix.
Cracked Cylinder Heads
The cylinder head sits atop the chamber in which the piston moves up and down, turning the crankshaft, and ultimately, the wheels. Under extreme conditions, such as inside an automobile engine when it is running, cylinder heads can crack, causing many of the same issues as a blown head gasket. These include oil and coolant leaking or exiting through the exhaust pipe, overheating, rough idling, poor engine performance, and if left untreated, complete engine failure.
A new cylinder head is significantly more expensive than a head gasket – usually a couple hundred dollars – but the labor to replace it is much less involved. An average cylinder head replacement costs about $500, making head gasket sealant an inexpensive temporary alternative.
BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer bonds to a variety of surfaces to plug gaps without particulates or solid matter and bonds to a variety of surfaces that might be used in cylinder heads. The sealer is compatible with gasoline and diesel engines and can withstand the extreme temperatures and temperature swings present in engines.
Holes in Heater Cores
Heater cores are usually made of aluminum and sit beneath the dash of the vehicle, serving as a miniature radiator in reverse, transferring heat from used coolant to the passenger compartment when the heater is turned on.
In other words, the heater core is responsible for keeping the humans inside the vehicle warm during cold weather.
Like every other component in an automobile, heater cores are exposed to extreme heat as 200-degree coolant flows through them, potentially causing cracking and warping. The cracks may start as small as a pinhead but they will often expand and prevent the heater core from working properly.
Indications that the heater core has stopped working include a cold interior, overuse of coolant, a fruity smell around the vehicle indicating that coolant is leaking, and windows fogging up on the inside.
A heater core can be purchased for less than $100 but labor charges can raise the cost of heater core replacement to $500-$1000. Again, head gasket sealant serves as a low-cost alternative by homing in on those microscopic holes and bonding with the aluminum, much the way windshield repair companies patch small windshield cracks with epoxy.
Damaged Freeze Plugs
Freeze plugs are cylindrical plugs that fill the passages in the engine block where the antifreeze and water mixture flows. This mix can eventually freeze, causing the mixture to expand with massive force and threatening to crack the engine block.
That is where the freeze plugs come in. They are designed to pop out when the block begins expanding, avoiding thousands of dollars of damage to your engine. Sometimes, the expansion is minor and the freeze plugs crack instead. That can cause antifreeze to leak and also prevent the plugs from doing their job of protecting the engine.
Head gasket sealant to the rescue!
BlueDevil Pour-N-Go Head Gasket Sealer uses a chemical that reacts to the temperature differential at the leak point to form a permanent bond. BlueDevil is safe for the entire cooling system.
Freeze plugs themselves are a couple of bucks each, but their accessibility varies widely, and so does the cost to replace them. The labor is going to run anywhere from $300 to $1000, depending if the transmission must be lifted out. A sealant is a cost-effective solution.
The key to achieving a permanent seal from head gasket sealant is to use it properly. For BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer, that means removing the thermostat while the engine is cold and flushing the cooling system with a flushing agent (such as BlueDevil Radiator Flush.) The system should be filled again with water, leaving enough room for a can of BluDevil Head Gasket Sealer to be poured in slowly. The vehicle should be allowed to idle with the radiator cap on for 50 minutes to allow the sealer to circulate through the engine and work its magic.
Consult an Automotive Professional
Sealant is a great backup plan that can often provide a solution while averting large engine repair bills. Taking care of the vehicle over the course of its life is always the best option, usually by allowing a licensed automotive professional to diagnose and service it. If trouble with your vehicle persists even after using sealant, be sure to take it to a licensed mechanic.