Head Gasket FailureHead gasket failure is an unfortunate thing to happen to any vehicle.  Head gasket failure means that it’s no longer safe to drive your vehicle or you can risk further damage and become stranded.  Head gasket failure is almost always costly, either from the high repair cost to replace your head gasket, or from having to purchase a new vehicle to replace the one you can no longer drive.  In order to help prevent head gasket failure in your vehicle, we’re going to look at a few reasons why head gaskets fail.

Reasons for Head Gasket Failure:

  • Overheating
  • Low Coolant Level
  • Incorrect Head Bolt Torque
  • Low-Quality Gaskets
  • Old Age
  • Knocking or pre-ignition
  • High Combustion Chamber Pressure

As you can see, many of the reasons for a head gasket failure can be prevented.  For example, overheating or a low coolant level can be easily avoided by simple maintenance.  Performing regular cooling system flushes is one of the best ways to make sure your cooling system is working at peak efficiency.  If you’re ready to flush your cooling system, try reading our article about How to Flush a Radiator to learn how to do it yourself!  Low coolant levels and overheating both cause extreme temperature gradients which can cause the head in your engine to warp and shift causing breaks in your head gasket.  Keeping the cooling system functioning properly keeps everything the right temperature and your head gasket happy.

Incorrect head bolt torque and low-quality head gaskets are another reason for head gasket failure.  If some head bolts have more torque than others, it leads to uneven clamping loads on the head.  These uneven loads will cause the unloaded areas of the head gasket leak when temperatures and pressures rise.  Similarly, low-quality head gaskets can have manufacturing defects or be made from a material that does not meet the manufacturer’s specifications.  If you’re installing a new head gasket consider using an upgraded gasket like a metal head gasket from a reputable manufacturer.  Similarly, using new head bolts or head studs can reduce your chances of a head gasket failure in the future.  Also, make sure to use a properly calibrated torque wrench to install the head bolts and tighten them in the correct order and at the correct intervals recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer or the manufacturer of your new hardware.

Knocking or pre-ignition is also easy to avoid along with high combustion chamber pressures.  Using the correct octane fuel for your vehicle is the best way to make sure you don’t have knocking in your engine.  Octane, in a way, is a measure of fuel’s resistance to pre-ignition.  If you use an octane grade lower than is recommended for your engine it can cause knocking and damage.  You can also avoid knocking by keeping your combustion chamber clean by using BlueDevil Fuel System Cleaner.  High combustion chamber pressures can only occur on turbocharged or supercharged cars during an over boost condition.  To avoid this problem, ensure your turbocharging or supercharging systems are working properly and have all necessary electronics and vacuum hoses attached correctly.

One unavoidable reason for a head gasket failure is old age and regular use.  The head gasket is designed to seal the combustion chamber in your car and even if everything is operating like it should, your head gasket can wear out over miles and time for the repeated explosions.

If you find a head gasket failure in your car, it can be daunting evaluating the options ahead of you.  In most cases, the smart choice is to use BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer to seal the leak in your head gasket avoiding expensive repairs and keeping your car on the road.

For more information about BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer, check out our product information page here: BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer.

You can purchase You can find BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:

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head_gasket_failure.jpg – By Denis Tokarewski – Licensed by Getty Images