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Signs of a Blown Head Gasket

Most drivers have heard of the head gasket, but many aren’t entirely sure what it is and the vital signs that it needs professional attention. Understanding the head gasket can help steer you in the best direction for a successful diagnosis and repair. The head gasket is mounted between the engine block and cylinder head, preventing oil and coolant from escaping into nearby cylinders. This isn’t an easy job because the head gasket must withstand the other two surfaces’ movements and stresses. The engine is already extremely hot, and if it fails to regulate its increasing temperature, the head gasket can fail. A blown head gasket can cause significant engine damage and should be inspected as soon as it’s safe to do so. To prevent a hazardous driving circumstance, below are five of the most common signs your vehicle has a blown head gasket. 

The Oil or Coolant is Contaminated
If the head gasket is blown, it will not adequately prevent cross-contamination between the oil and coolant. When oil seeps into the coolant, it will look frothy like a latte. If coolant seeps into the oil, it will develop a texture similar to mayonnaise. 

If you notice any external coolant or oil leaks, it may signal a cracked engine block or blown head gasket. You may even see water leaking from the tailpipe. Leaks can signify various vehicle issues, so it’s essential to have this symptom inspected by a professional automotive specialist. 

White Smoke Coming from the Tailpipe
If the head gasket has blown, a visible thick white smoke may flow out of the tailpipe. Coolant leaks in the head gasket can become burned by the hot engine. It creates thick, white smoke that leaves through the tailpipe.  

The Engine Will Overheat
An already damaged head gasket may have leaks that can cause the engine to lose efficiency. If too much of the essential fluids like oil or coolant leak out, the engine will overheat. No matter the cause, if your engine’s temperature light comes on, it’s best to stop driving immediately and allow your car time to cool off. 

Misfiring or Rough Idling
The head gasket can also fail within the combustion chamber. Head gaskets with damage that fail to supply enough power and efficiency to the cylinder blocks will cause the engine a massive decrease in performance.  

Blown Head Gasket in Los Angeles, CA

If your vehicle has shown any of the above signs for a blown head gasket, don’t wait. Bring your car into West Coast Tire & Service for an inspection and diagnosis. Fixing the issue sooner than later will help save your engine by preventing long term damage.