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What Makes A Blown Head Gasket – Watch Out For Engine Overheating! 

What Makes A Blown Head Gasket – Watch Out For Engine Overheating! 

What is a head gasket? – What Makes a Blown Head Gasket

When looking at most car engines, you will see a head gasket plays a crucial part in the performance, longevity, and lifespan of your vehicle. The head gasket is a ring or circular-shaped panel located between the cylinder head and engine block. So – what causes a blown head gasket?

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


We first need to know the anatomy of the engine and the head gasket. The cylinder head sits above the cylinder block, helping to form the closure on the top of the combustion chamber in the engine. The upper part of the engine is the cylinder head, while the lower part is commonly referred to as the engine block. 


The engine block is the lower part of the engine that houses all of the major components of the bottom of your car's motor. This is the spot in which combustion occurs in an internal combustion engine and houses important components like the crankshaft.


As you can see, the head gasket, cylinder head, and engine block help make the engine run. Without these three components, your car would not be able to drive down the street. These three engine parts can help you answer the question of what causes a blown head gasket?


The head gasket prevents any excess fluid from the engine from leaking into the cylinders. This barrier formed by the head gasket means that it is easily one of the most important components in the combustion chamber. Let’s find out the answer to what causes a blown head gasket to figure out how you can prevent these problems!

Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket

To best answer the question of what causes a blown head gasket, you need to know the few main symptoms of this damaged part in your vehicle. There are many symptoms, but two are the most prevalent and most noticeable by drivers.

  • Overheating

The first common sign of engine damage and a malfunctioning head gasket is overheating. When you notice your engine overheating, you are seeing the side effects of the metal expanding and pinching the head gasket. If the head gasket atrial is pinched and squeezed, the mechanism no longer seals properly.


Without a tight seal that securely holds gas and liquid, anything can flow in or out of the head gasket without regulation. A non-sealed head gasket can help answer the question of what causes a blown head gasket since the underperforming engine is a result of engine leaking.

  • Pre-Ignition Concerns

The second most common symptom of head gasket damage that can help lead to an answer of `’what causes a blown head gasket`’ is pre-ignition concerns. If the combustion timing is off and not firing at the correct rate, it can put too much pressure on the cylinder head and lead to head gasket malfunctions.


This cylinder head problem can easily lead to the head gasket to fail prematurely. If this happens, drivers might notice a rough idle, the car running roughly, a reduced engine performance, and concerns when you first start your car or idling. If you notice a rough idle or problems when turning the ignition, this can help provide the answer to `’what causes a blown head gasket?`’

  • Low Coolant Levels

Third, drivers could notice low coolant levels. A faulty head gasket or damaged part can cause coolant to leak out of the system, leading to a very low coolant indicator level and pools of coolant to form under the vehicle. Low coolant levels will cause an increase in engine temperature, increased friction, overheating, and other symptoms that can answer `’what causes a blown head gasket.”

  • Discolored Oil

Fourth, if you notice discolored oil in your vehicle, you will notice other signs of a damaged head gasket. The discoloration is a result of coolant inappropriately mixing with motor oil while being held in the engine, resulting in a milk-like color. 

  • High Engine Temperature

Lastly, the final sign that can help you answer what causes a blown head gasket is a very high running engine temperature. If the dashboard thermostat that regulates engine performance shows an unusually high warning light, this can indicate a few different concerns in your car. 

Causes of a Blown Head Gasket 

Despite numerous causes for a blown or damaged head gasket, there is one main issue to look out for when diagnosing this problem by yourself or at a mechanic’s shop. The main cause for a blown head gasket is extremely high engine temperature, leading to excessive friction, overheating, and lack of performance.


It is important to note as a car owner and driver that different head gaskets, deepening on the mechanism and specific type, will fail at different stages and temperatures. This means that one head gasket may fail a lot sooner than another based on the construction, the engine operating temperature, and driver usage.


For example, an aluminum head gasket expands much quicker than other metals when heated at high temperatures. An aluminum cylinder head will be less durable than other options on the market. The head gasket material can help influence the answer to what causes a blown head gasket. 


On the other hand, metal has a high thermal expansion rate. This rate means that the substance used for head gasket construction will expand at a quicker rate, and weaken the entire integrity of the material; this results in a lack of thickness and durability, making metal a sub-optimal head gasket choice. 


To figure out the answer to what causes a blown head gasket, you need to figure out the main causes of overheating in your engine. Realizing the potential reasons for overheating, reduced engine performance, and safety concerns can help you answer the question of `’what causes a blown head gasket?”

  • Damaged Coolant Temperature Sensor 

Although the engine overheating can be due to various reasons, a poor coolant temperature sensor is a root cause. Along with this reason, the other causes of engine overheating and excessive friction is too little coolant, cooling system leaks, broken water pump, radiator issues, the oil being too low, thermostat failure, issues with hoses and belts, and the heater core congested. 


The coolant temperature sensor can also fail due to continuously sending an incorrect signal. This can cause the car’s computer to incorrectly compensate for a lean fuel mixture, resulting in consistent overheating, engine misfiring, or engine knocking. These loud noises and the overheating engine can help answer `’what causes a blown head gasket?”

  • Not Enough Coolant

Without the correct level of coolant or antifreeze in your vehicle, you may experience coolant system failure and poor engine performance. When adding a new coolant to an empty reservoir, ensure that you only use the right ratio of antifreeze/coolant and water. 

  • Coolant System Leaks

If you do have enough coolant in your reservoir tank, you may be experiencing coolant leaking. Even when you fill-up the tank with the correlation and level of coolant and water, a coolant leak in your tank can help you answer `’what causes a blown head gasket?”

  • Radiator Concerns

Radiators and engine fans help reduce heat from meth engines by circulating air and ensuring the excess friction does not increase the overall mechanism’s temperature. Issues with the fans can reduce circulation and the radiator’s ability to remove heat, causing an unusually high engine temperature in your vehicle. 

Blown Head Gasket Replacement Price

Analyzing how much you could spend on a head gasket replacement depends on your specific car make and model. Unfortunately, this repair or replacement can be quite costly for any driver, no matter what vehicle you are driving. With a sliding scale on a price that depends on your mechanic and the cost of other parts, you can still expect to pay around $400 on average. 


Once you have a blown head gasket, you have a few choices regarding how to proceed in the best way. The first option is to fix the problem and sell your car for parts – you can usually sell an old scrap vehicle or pre-used car at a local shop. Or you can use CashCarsBuyer to get the most bang for your buck and use trusted agents who will keep you informed every step of the way.


The other option is to fix the issue and keep the vehicle. Although paying for a head gasket replacement can be very expensive, if your car is in good working condition, it can be worth it to fork over the cash. Determine the answer to `’what causes a blown head gasket?” can help you decide whether to keep or sell your car. 

The Bottom Line – Blown Head Gasket

By figuring out the function of a head gasket, faulty head gasket symptoms, and the main causes of a blown head gasket, you can determine how much you might have to spend on a head gasket replacement. If you decide that selling your car is the best option based on the current damage, finding the answer to `’what causes a blown head gasket`’ can help you financially with your vehicle.