Understanding what happens when a head gasket is blown is very critical to save your vehicle's engine. Typically, the common symptoms of a blown head gasket include:
Significant engine overheating
A clear reduction in the vehicle's power
White smoke coming out of the exhaust system
Fluid leaks externally
The head gasket is a critical component in the engine compartment. This component is responsible for sealing the cylinders and preventing fluids from leaking inside the cylinders and causing damages.
Understanding what happens when a head gasket is blown is critical, so you never underestimate the situation. Once you know exactly what happens, you can tell how critical it is to immediately fix your vehicle before continuing driving with a blown head gasket.
Aside from engine overheating and fluid leaks, many consequences could happen when the head gasket blows out. Let's take a closer look at some of these consequences to get prepared and evaluate whether we want to fix the head gaskets or sell the vehicle.
What is a head gasket, and what does it do?
The head gasket is a very critical component in your engine block. It is a very thin metal layer located between the cylinders and the engines block. This layer is responsible for sealing the cylinders properly to eliminate any hot gases from escaping to the engine block and therefore damaging the surrounding components.
The head gasket is also responsible for preventing any fluid leaks inside the engine. As you might know, the coolant and the engine oil is running through certain designated pathways around the cylinders. With the head gasket, none of these fluids can't get into cylinders, and therefore, the combustion process goes properly.
Since the head gasket is continuously exposed to extreme temperatures, there is a very high chance for this head gasket to get damaged. However, it's designed from very durable material to withstand this temperature. However, the head gasket at some point in time might get blown out, and the last thing you want to hear from your mechanic is that your vehicle's head gasket is blown out!
With a blown head gasket, a long list of extreme consequences could happen. The most severe consequence would be a completely damaged engine, especially if you ignored the blown head gasket. Thus, as a driver, you must understand what happens when a head gasket is blown.
What happens when a head gasket is blown?
Since a blown head gasket is a big deal and can lead to significant damages, it's important to monitor for any symptoms of a blown head gasket. The good news is that your vehicle is smart enough to show you some symptoms indicating the problem and grabbing your attention to take immediate action.
Based on our long-term experience in the automotive industry, here are some of the common symptoms that you will notice when the head gasket is blown:
1- Significant engine overheating
The first and most dangerous symptom of a blown head gasket is engine overheating. The engine is supposed to work within a certain range of temperature. If the engine's temperature exceeds a certain threshold, there is a very high chance for engine self-destruction, which requires replacing the entire component.
Therefore, when you notice some symptoms indicating engine overheating, you must immediately pull over to stop your vehicle. Then, the engine cools down by opening the hood, and living air pass through the different components. Do not attempt to touch any of the components around the engine because they're most likely very hot and might cause some safety issues.
Then, you can consult your mechanics to confirm whether you can continue driving the vehicle or not because at certain engine overheating levels, your vehicle is not recommended to be driven for even one inch.
Keep in mind that engine overheating is not only a sign of a bad or blown head gasket. It might be linked to various problems, especially those related to issues with the cooling system. Thus, the only option to confirm the issue is to have a mechanic perform a thorough inspection or to use a certain scanner that can get into your vehicle's computer and tell you what exactly is happening and whether it's coming from a blown head gasket or not.
2- A clear reduction in the vehicle's power
When the head gasket blows out, the engine cylinder loses the proper pressure needed to perform the combustion process successfully. Thus, you'll notice that your vehicle's overall power is reduced significantly. In some scenarios, the vehicle might not even provide the right power to get it moving.
Again, power reduction is not only linked to a blown head gasket, and it might have to deal with a lot of different issues. Therefore, do not rely on this symptom to say that the head gasket is blown, and you must follow this with another level of inspection to confirm the real culprit of the problem.
3- Engine oil-contaminated
Another very common symptom of a blown head gasket is when the oil is contaminated with coolant. As we indicated earlier, both coolant and oil run through certain designated pathways, and they should not get mixed because mixing them impacts the characteristics of each one, and none of them can do its proper job.
When the head gasket blows out, it allows both the coolant and oil to leak inside these cylinders and get mixed feared; therefore, if you open the area where the oil is located, you'll see that the oil looks more like Milky or foamy because it got it mixed with coolant.
Dirty engine oil is not a good thing because it also leads to engine overheating and significant engine damage Oil is responsible for lubricating the internal and moving components in your vehicle. It requires a certain type of characteristics. When the oil gets mixed with cool ones, it loses these characteristics. Therefore it won't be able to drop the engine temperature, and that's why engine overheating can be an immediate outcome of contaminated engine oil.
4- White smoke coming out of the exhaust system
If you could not notice any of the mentioned symptoms, another one that could be obvious to most drivers is when the exhaust system emits white smoke. Yes, your vehicle's exhaust system might emit some gases, but if you notice that they are weirdly whiter than usual, it might be a clear sign of blown head gaskets.
When the head gasket is blown, coolant leaks inside the cylinders and gets burnt. Typically, coolant is not supposed to get burnt inside the cylinders. However, if that happens, many different and new glasses are generated, resulting in the white cloud of smoke you'll see outside of the exhaust system tailpipe.
5- Fluid leaks externally
Another important and dangerous symptom of a blown head gasket is fluid. Obviously, every fluid is responsible for a certain job and leaks in any fluid result in a problem here. In contrast, these problems might differ insignificantly depending on what type of fluid is leaking; all of them end up causing some internal damages.
Therefore, if, for example, oil was leaking from the engine due to a blown head gasket, you'll see puddles of oil under the vehicle, resulting in engine overheating, as we indicated before.
On the other hand, if it's the coolant leaking underneath the vehicle, it will also result in engine overheating. Again, this is because the cooling system will not have the right amount of coolant to drop the engine temperature when it runs around it.
How much does it cost to replace a blown head gasket?
Unfortunately, replacing a blown head gasket is a very expensive repair job. Typically, it might cost you somewhere between $1624 and $1979. Obviously, this price range is not fixed, and it might be a little more expensive in more modern vehicles and a little less in older cars.
Keep in mind that replacing a blown head gasket is a very labor-intensive task. This is because of this job's complexity and sensitivity since mechanics will be dealing directly with the engine's internal components. That's why you'll see labor costs ranging from $900 to a little over $1000, which is very expensive when it's compared to other repair tasks.
Keep in mind that labor cost increases significantly if you decided to go with a dealership compared to choosing a small independent shop. However, you don't always want to select the lowest price because when dealing with sensitive damages like the blown head gaskets, you want to make sure that's the right expert mechanic is doing the job to prevent mistakes that could cost you thousands of dollars if introduced.
As you might notice, with expensive repair costs, it's not rare for many people to give up on their vehicles and sell them once the head gasket blows out. While it's very challenging to sell a vehicle with a blown head gasket, many companies like Cash Cars Buyer accept her vehicle despite its type or condition. So whether your car has a blown head gasket, or it even is missing the entire engine, you always find a good quote from Cash Cars Buyer.
Therefore, do not be disappointed with what happened to your vehicle's head gasket because Cash Cars Buyer got you!
Can you drive a car with a blown head gasket?
Absolutely not! A blown head gasket is a big deal. It leads to significant damages in no time.; for example, you'll notice that the engine temperature increases significantly right after the head gasket blows out.
Hot gases escape from the cylinders to overheat the engine's compartments, and the engine oil might get contaminated, resulting in fewer capabilities of reducing the engine temperature.
Ignoring a blown head gasket costs you the entire engine, if not your entire vehicle.
Therefore, we always recommend that when you noticed any sign of a blown head gasket in your vehicle, you must stop and pull over in a safe place and then consult your mechanic. Your mechanic will be the best person to tell you whether you can continue driving your vehicle to the nearest repair shop or not. Sometimes, you might even need to tow your vehicle to the shop instead of driving it to prevent causing further damages.
The head gasket is a significant component in your vehicle's engine compartment. Its job of sealing the cylinders makes it very valuable to prevent significant engine damages.
Unfortunately, having a blown head gasket is not rare, and understanding what happens when a head gasket is blown is critical. Never underestimate the situation, and take immediate action to resolve the issue before ending up with major engine damage is
Typically, when the head gasket blows out, you'll see a significant increase in the engine temperature, a clear reduction in the vehicle's overall performance, some fluids leaks, oil contamination, and other symptoms.
Since replacing the blown head gasket is an expensive repair job, many drivers end up selling their cars instead of wasting their time and effort getting them to work. Thus, we recommend that if you're dealing with such a situation, to reach out to Cash Cars Buyer, who guarantees to buy your vehicle and remove it within one to three days only!
Cash Cars Buyer is one of the top-rated car removal companies in the nation that guarantees to pay you the top dollars and provide you with free towing despite your living location around the United States.
Our process is very straightforward and doesn't take more than a couple of days to get your car removed safely and for the most money.
All it takes you is to:
- Describe your car’s type and condition
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