Blown Head Gasket But Car Runs Fined
What happens when your car is running fine despite having a blown head gasket?
Is it safe to continue driving your car, or do you need to get it fixed immediately?
In this article, we’ll explore the topic of a blown head gasket but the car runs fine, including its causes, symptoms, and what you should do if you’re in this situation.
Blown Head Gasket But Car Runs Fined
If your car’s head gasket is blown but the car is still running fine, it’s possible that the damage is not severe or has not yet affected the engine’s performance.
However, it’s important to have the issue diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible, as a blown head gasket can lead to more significant and expensive problems down the road.
Ignoring a blown head gasket can cause engine damage and eventually result in the car not running at all.
Therefore, it’s essential to have a mechanic inspect your car and fix the issue if your head gasket is blown, regardless of whether or not the car is running smoothly.
How long can you drive a car with a blown head gasket?
The length of time you can drive with a blown head gasket varies depending on the severity of the damage and how quickly you take action to repair it.
It is never safe to drive with a blown head gasket. It is best to practice preventative maintenance and replace the head gasket as soon as it shows signs of failure.
Knowing which vehicles are prone to head gasket failure can also help you avoid this issue altogether.
What happens if you ignore a blown head gasket?
If left unaddressed, a blown head gasket can lead to a range of serious engine problems, including
Overheating is a common cause of a blown head gasket. Ignoring the issue can cause the engine to continue overheating, leading to permanent damage to the cylinder head or engine block.
Reduced Engine Performance
As mentioned earlier, a blown head gasket can cause a loss of power and a rough-running engine.
If ignored, this can worsen over time, leading to a significant reduction in engine performance and potentially making the vehicle unsafe to drive.
Increased Repair Costs
Ignoring a blown head gasket can also lead to increased repair costs.
A blown head gasket can cause damage to other engine components such as the water pump or radiator.
If left unaddressed, these additional repairs can add up quickly.
Signs that your car’s head gasket is blown
Below are some of the most common signs that your car’s head gasket is blown.
If your car’s engine is overheating, this could be a sign that your head gasket is blown.
Coolant leaks from the head gasket can cause the engine to overheat because there is not enough coolant left to cool the engine.
External leaks are a clear indication of a blown head gasket. These leaks can be found on the engine block and cylinder head seam.
Oil or coolant leaks can occur in this area, and it is important to check for any leaks around this seam.
Milky oil can be a sign of a blown head gasket. This occurs when coolant leaks into the oil, causing it to become a milky color.
Checking the oil cap or dipstick for a milky sludge can indicate this issue .
White smoke coming from the exhaust pipe can be a sign of a blown head gasket.
The coolant leaks into the combustion chamber, causing the white smoke.
This symptom can be a sign of other engine issues as well, so it is important to get it checked by a professional.
Smelly Blue Smoke
If you smell a burning smell or see blue smoke coming from the tailpipe, this can be a sign that engine oil is being burned.
Bubbles in Coolant
Bubbles forming in the radiator or reservoir overflow can be a sign of a blown head gasket.
When the head gasket leaks, it can cause air to enter the cooling system, which can cause bubbles to form in the coolant.
If you experience a cylinder misfire, this can be a sign that your car’s head gasket is blown.
This symptom occurs when the coolant leaks into the combustion chamber, causing a misfire.
If your car’s coolant starts to bubble when you start the engine, this can be a sign that your head gasket is blown.
This symptom can be easily checked by observing the coolant inside the radiator when the engine is running.
How to diagnose a blown head gasket
Here are some ways to diagnose a blown head gasket:
Check Engine Oil
One of the easiest and most effective ways to test if you have a blown head gasket is to check your engine oil .
Pull the dipstick, and if you see a milky, frothy substance, it could indicate that coolant is getting into your oil. This could be a sign of a blown head gasket.
Do a Compression Test
A compression test can help diagnose a blown head gasket. If you see low compression in one or more cylinders, it could be a sign of a blown head gasket .
Check for Coolant Leaks
If you see coolant leaking from your engine, it could be a sign of a blown head gasket.
You can check for leaks by inspecting your engine for puddles of coolant or by checking your coolant level frequently.
A sudden drop in coolant level could indicate a leak.
Perform a Block Test
A block test is a simple and effective way to diagnose a blown head gasket.
It involves using a block tester to check for the presence of combustion gases in the coolant.
If there are combustion gases in the coolant, it could be a sign of a blown head gasket.
Inspect Spark Plugs
Inspecting spark plugs can also be helpful in diagnosing a blown head gasket.
If you see white or greyish ash on the plugs, it could indicate that coolant is getting into the cylinders. This could be a sign of a blown head gasket.
Use a Chemical Test
A chemical test, such as the dye test or the combustion leak test, can help diagnose a blown head gasket.
These tests involve adding a special dye or chemical to the coolant or oil to check for the presence of combustion gases.
How to prevent a blown head gasket
Below are some ways to prevent a blown head gasket:
One of the best ways to prevent a blown head gasket is to maintain your vehicle properly.
This includes regular oil changes and tune-ups, which can help ensure your engine runs smoothly and at the proper temperature.
Regularly checking and replacing engine coolant is also essential, as low coolant levels or contaminated coolant can cause a blown head gasket .
Address Overheating Issues
Overheating is a common cause of head gasket failure. To prevent overheating, make sure your cooling system is functioning correctly, and replace the thermostat as needed.
If your vehicle tends to overheat, consider upgrading your radiator or installing a secondary cooling fan.
Keep an eye on the engine temperature gauge and address any issues as soon as they arise.
Be Mindful of Preignition Issues
Preignition, or engine knocking, can cause head gasket failure. To prevent preignition, use high-quality fuel and avoid excessive idling.
Make sure your spark plugs are in good condition and functioning correctly, and use the recommended octane rating for your vehicle.
Follow Torque Specifications
Following the proper torque specifications when tightening head bolts can help prevent head gasket failure.
Use the correct torque wrench and follow the recommended pattern and specifications when tightening head bolts.
Remember the three-step rule: tighten each bolt in three steps, gradually increasing the torque each time.
Check for Flatness
Always check the cylinder head and block surfaces for flatness before reassembling the engine after a head gasket repair.
Place a straight edge across the deck to check for flatness.
Grease or dirt on the gasket or head surface can prevent a good seal, so make sure these surfaces are clean before reassembling the engine.
Common mistakes when dealing with a blown head gasket.
We will address several common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Ignoring Signs of a Blown Head Gasket
One of the biggest mistakes car owners can make is ignoring the signs of a blown head gasket. Common symptoms of a blown head gasket include:
External oil or coolant leaks
Loss of power
White exhaust smoke
Milky or frothy oil
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is essential to address them immediately to avoid further damage to your engine.
Mistake 2: Not Addressing the Root Cause of the Blown Head Gasket
A blown head gasket is often a symptom of an underlying problem, such as overheating or coolant leaks.
If you do not address the root cause of the blown head gasket, you may experience further issues in the future.
It is important to identify and address the cause of the blown head gasket to prevent further damage.
Mistake 3: Attempting DIY Repairs Without Proper Knowledge and Equipment
While DIY repairs can be a cost-effective solution, attempting to fix a blown head gasket without the proper knowledge and equipment can result in further damage to your engine.
It is important to consult with a qualified mechanic before attempting any repairs.
Mistake 4: Failing to Properly Inspect the Cylinder Head and Block
Before installing a new head gasket, it is essential to inspect the surfaces of the cylinder head and block for flatness.
Failure to do so can result in an improper sealing surface, leading to another blown head gasket.
Mistake 5: Reusing Old Bolts and Gaskets
Reusing old bolts and gaskets when replacing a blown head gasket can result in leaks and further damage.
It is recommended to use new bolts and gaskets to ensure a proper seal.
Mistake 6: Not Following Proper Torque Specifications
When installing a new head gasket, it is important to follow the proper torque specifications to avoid under or over-tightening the bolts.
Failure to follow torque specifications can result in leaks and engine damage.
Mistake 7: Not Properly Maintaining the Engine After Repairs
Even after repairs have been made to a blown head gasket, it is important to properly maintain the engine to prevent further issues.
This includes regular oil changes, monitoring coolant levels, and addressing any signs of engine trouble immediately
Frequently Asked Question
What Are The Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket?
Answer: Symptoms of a blown head gasket can include overheating, loss of power, white smoke coming from the exhaust, coolant loss, and engine misfires.
However, not all of these symptoms may be present, and some cars may not show any symptoms at all.
How Can I Tell If My Car Has A Blown Head Gasket?
Answer: If you suspect your car has a blown head gasket, you can look for signs such as low coolant levels, a milky substance in the oil, and a sweet smell coming from the engine.
However, the best way to confirm a blown head gasket is to have a professional mechanic perform a diagnostic test.
Can A Blown Head Gasket Fix Itself?
Answer: No, a blown head gasket cannot fix itself. It’s a serious issue that requires immediate attention and professional repairs.
Can I Continue To Drive My Car With A Blown Head Gasket?
Answer: While it is possible to drive a car with a blown head gasket, it’s not recommended.
Continuing to drive with a blown head gasket can cause further damage to the engine and lead to more expensive repairs.
Can A Blown Head Gasket Cause Other Problems In The Car?
Answer: Yes, a blown head gasket can cause other problems in the car such as overheating, loss of power, and coolant leaks.
If left unaddressed, it can also cause damage to other engine components and lead to more expensive repairs.
A blown head gasket is a serious issue that requires immediate attention.
While your car may still run fine despite having a blown head gasket, this is not a permanent solution, and the issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
If you suspect your car has a blown head gasket, it’s best to take it to a professional mechanic for a diagnostic test.
They can confirm the issue and recommend the best course of action to get your car back to optimal condition.
Remember, ignoring a blown head gasket can cause further damage to your car and lead to more expensive repairs down the line