What is a Head Gasket? | What are the symptoms of Blown Head Gasket?

A head gasket is a most vital part of the engine. In an internal combustion engine, it uses to seal different processes so that oil can properly move throughout the engine to cool and lubricate the engine. It prevents the engine from many problems such as a leak.

A minor head gasket leak can cause the failure of your car engine. There are different symptoms of a blown head gasket which we will discuss deeply in this article. This article mainly describes blown head gaskets, signs of a bad head gasket, and its repair and replacement cost.

What is a Head Gasket?

A head gasket is a part of an IC engine that provides a seal between the cylinder head and engine block. The main objective of the engine head gasket is to stop the leak of oil or coolant into the combustion chamber and seals the combusted gases.

The cylinder head gasket makes sure that the pressure generated by the spark plug, which ignites the air-fuel mixture, is held in the combustion chamber. The head gaskets allow the vehicle engine to generate adequate energy to move the vehicle as well as direct the toxic gases through the exhaust system and stop them from leaving the chamber. 

head gasket

The latest cars or other vehicles have head gaskets made of multiple layers of steel interlinked with elastomer, which increases its durability and life cycle. In the past, the old vehicles had graphite or asbestos gaskets.

However, the latest head gaskets are superior than asbestos gaskets because they are less leak-proof and pose a minimal health risk.

The combustion chamber has a piston that requires high pressure to burn normally, and the gasket helps to maintain this pressure.

What is a Blown Head Gasket?

The blown head gasket occurs due to the seal failure between the engine block and cylinder head.  It is also known as a head gasket leak. This gasket is sited between the oil return passage, sealing the coolant passages, piston, and cylinder.

As the gasket damages, problems occur such as escaping toxic gases from the chamber, oil leaks and coolant leaks, etc. The blown head gasket causes damage or complete failure of the engine.

blown head gasket

The blown head gasket causes due to engine overheating, detonation, or using an old gasket. In most cases, it is occurred due to overheating problems because the engine overheating increases the thermal energy, which applies high strain on the gaskets. 

Read also: Diesel Engine working?

What are the causes of a blown head gasket?  

The most common reasons of a blown head gasket are given below:

  • Overheating: The vehicle manufacturer fixes the highest heat bearing capacity of the engine. As this heat exceeds than normal level, the engine overheats, and it may cause a blown head gasket. This is because extreme heat can cause the cylinder head and engine block to expand too much, which can cause the cylinder head gaskets to fail.
  • Age: Over time, the seal of the head gaskets can damage and may not function properly to stop leaks and other issues. The ultimate age of a gasket is written on the manufacturer’s proposal. You must replace it according to the manufacturer’s instructions before facing any big trouble.
  • Warped or Cracked Head or Block: The engine that has overheating problems can cause to crack or warp the engine block or cylinder head. This may alter the sealing method of the head gaskets, which can lead to a leak.
  • Detonation: This is another reason for blown head gasket failure as it can damage or trip the armature and cause cylinder pressure to escape from the armature.

What are the symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket?

There are many signs of the blown head gaskets, but the most common and easily identical symptoms of a blown head gasket are given below:

  1. Engine overheating
  2. Loss of power
  3. Visible smoke from the tailpipe of your vehicle
  4. Contaiminated engine oil
  5. Low coolant level
1) Overheating

The gasket is a part of the engine that keeps your engine cool by circulating oil and coolant throughout the engine. As your engine cylinder head gasket fails or is blown, the engine couldn’t properly circulate oil and coolant through the system.

Due to the failure of the gasket, the engine starts overheating. The engine overheating may damage its different parts.

engine overheating due to blown head gasket

As soon as you observe that your vehicle’s engine is overheating, you must immediately complete your traveling and ask a technician for its inspection so that you can prevent to face any worse engine damage or failure. The overheating may totally fail to engine, and this will be too costly for you.

2) Loss of Power 

When the head gaskets are blown or fail, the compressed air-fuel mixture starts to escape from the compression cylinder, and the compression pressure of that cylinder reduces. Due to insufficient compression pressure, the engine won’t produce sufficient power to run a vehicle, and the engine will move poorly and idle roughly.

As you observe such symptoms in your vehicle engine, this may be due to a blown head gasket, and you need to inspect the gasket.

3) Visible Tailpipe Smoke

Your engine’s gasket regulates the proper flow of the coolant throughout the engine and stops it from entering in the combustion chamber. As the head gasket is blown or fails, the coolant starts to enter into the combustion chamber, where it mixes with fuel and burns.

engine white smoke

Due to the burning of the coolant, the engine starts to produce grey or white-colored smoke and emits it from the tailpipe. If you continuously observe this problem, it is definitely due to the gasket, and you need to replace it.

4) Contaminated Engine Oil

As we discussed earlier, the head gasket stops the coolant (water) from mixing with the oil. As it is failed or blown, the coolant starts to enter into the engine oil system and try to mix with it.

contaminated oil due to bad head gasket

As we know, water and oil can’t mix with each other. Therefore, when the coolant enters into the oil system, a frothy, thick mixture starts to collect below the oil filler cap of the engine. This is a very easy and common symptom to identify either your engine head gasket has gone bad or not. 

 5) Low Coolant Level

As your engine’s head gasket is blown, it won’t stop the coolant from entering into the combustion chamber. Due to this, the combustion chamber will start to consume coolant. Due to low coolant, the vehicle engine may overheat.

engine low coolant temperature warning light

Because of engine overheating, your car will start to show a temperature warning light. This oveheating problem may be due to gasket failure. In such situation, you need to inspect and replace the gasket immediately.  

How can I prevent a Blown Head Gasket? 

One of the best methods to prevent blown head gasket is to maintain the normal level of the engine coolant according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

The normal coolant level is essential because, in the case of low coolant, the engine may overheat that can cause the blown gasket. In such conditions, the coolant leaks into the combustion chamber and increases the internal temperature of the engine. This increase in temperature overheats the engine badly.

Therefore, keep an eye on the temperature gauge and immediately contact a technician in case of the engine’s high-temperature indication.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Head Gasket?

The gasket is a very vital part of the engine. When your head gasket is failed or is blown, you should replace it as soon as possible. If you do not replace a damaged or failed gasket and ignore it, it may completely fail your engine that will be too costly for you.

The replacement cost of the head gasket varies according to its material, brand which you want to buy, and region where you live.

The average national cost for the replacement of the head gasket is from $1620 to $1980. If you are not replacing it yourself and hire labor, the labor costs can vary from $920 to $1150. In this way, the final cost for the head gasket replacement varies from $2530 to $3130.

A list of a head gasket replacement cost is given below:

National Average Cost$1620 to $1980
Labor Cost$920 to $1150
Total Cost$2530 to $3130

Head Gasket Repair Cost

The repair cost of the head gasket varies according to the type of gasket repairing and the area where you live. The average repair cost of a head gasket varies from $1,090 to $2,200.

How to fix a blown head gasket without replacing it?

One of the best ways is to use a head gasket sealer to fix a blown head gasket without replacing it. This sealer will prevent your gasket from leakage up to the next one to two years.

Bluedevil sealer is one of the best gasket sealer products. It makes a chemical weld layer at the leakage place in the cylinder gasket, seals the leak, and allows you to drive your vehicle on the road without replacing the gasket.  This gasket sealer is easy to use, safe, and ensures leak sealing.

What is the Best Head Gasket Sealer Product?

There are multiple gasket sealer products in the market. According to the reviews of some reputed websites, the best gasket fix repair sealer is Steel Seal Blown Head Gasket Sealer. This sealer has many good features that other gasket sealers don’t provide. It can work well with both diesel engine and petrol engine. It has the following features due to that it is considered one of the gasket sealers:

  • It’s a multi-use product.
  • It assists in removing the engine overheating issues.
  • Improves car performance.
  • It helps the engine to consume low fuel.
  • It decreases smoke emission.

Benefits of Head Gasket Sealers

  • Fixes leak in the blown head gaskets: Blown head gaskets generate big troubles during the long drive. Therefore, people ask to professional for the gasket inspection before going on a long drive. In this way, they lost many important hours. However, a high-grade sealant can be used to block leaks permanently and stop engine fires.
  • Multi-purpose product. Some top-quality gasket sealers have multiple functions. These sealers help to solve many other engine issues, such as bad freeze plug and heater core problems.
  • Less expansive: The head gasket sealer has low cost than the entire replacement cost of the head gasket. If you do not use a gasket sealer, then your gasket will be failed or be blown at any time, and it will be too costly to replace it. Therefore, to save money, you must use a head gasket sealer to stop gasket failure.
  • Time-saving: The sealant process is straightforward than the complete replacement of the cylinder head gasket. In the sealant process, just pour the sealant into the radiator cap, and it will flow throughout the system, finding leaks. This is a quick process, and leaks are sealed within an hour.

What is the function of Head gasket?

  1. The main objective of the head gaskets is to provide a seal between the engine head and engine block.
  2. The gasket regulates the proper circulation of the coolant throughout the coolant system.
  3. It prevents the engine from overheating.

FAQ Section

Where is the head gasket located?

The head gasket is located between the engine head and the engine block.

Can You Drive with a Blown Head Gasket?

No, you shouldn’t drive your car with a blown head gasket. This is because if you drive your car with blown head gaskets, your engine may fail completely, and it will be too costly for you to replace your engine.

If you don’t want to replace your gasket, then use a head gasket sealer to prevent your gasket from leakage up to the next 1 to 2 years.

What Are the Signs of a Bad Head Gasket?

The following are the signs of a bad head gasket:

  • Engine overheating
  • Visible smoke starts coming from the tailpipe
  • Reduction in the vehicle power
  • Bubbles in the coolant radiator or tank

How Long Do Head Gaskets Last?

In most cases, the life of the head gaskets is 321868 kilometers.

How can you prevent having to pay high head gasket repair costs?

When you observe that your vehicle head gasket is creating problems, immediately buy a bottle of K-seal and insert it into the leakage point. K-seal helps to fix many head gaskets problems permanently, such as:

  • Coolant to the oil leak
  • Blown head gaskets
  • Cylinder to coolant leak
  • Coolant to cylinder leak
Do you know
  1. How does a Crankshaft work?
  2. What is the function of a Camshaft?
  3. What is Engine Cylinder Head?
  4. How does a Petrol Engine work?

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