A head gasket is compressed between the engine block and cylinder head. It seals in the internal combustion process and keeps coolant and oil from mixing together. For the car enthusiasts who don’t know much about the nuts and bolts of the engine or fluids in your vehicle, just know that the head gasket is a vital part of your vehicle. A blown head gasket can cause a lot of damage and shouldn’t be ignored. How can you tell if you have a blown head gasket? Find out the warning signs now.
The signs of a blown head gasket can be subtle and a qualified mechanic should do repairs. At Austin’s Automotive Specialists, our ASE certified technicians can help you diagnose head gasket issues and repair this vital component so you’re back on the road in no time.
1. The easiest way to determine if you have a blown head gasket is checking for contaminated oil. Contaminated oil is a direct result of a leak caused by a broken head gasket. To determine if the oil is contaminated, you can inspect your vehicle’s oil cap. If there is a white, or milk-like ring around the cap, then the oil is contaminated. The ring is an indication that coolant mixed with the oil. Immediately take your vehicle to a mechanic to replace the head gasket and have an oil change.
2. Tinted spark plugs are another clear indication there is an issue. If you see a greenish hue on the spark plugs, a blown head gasket is most likely the culprit. That greenish hue is caused from leaking coolant. In some situations, coolant will spray out of the spark plugs’ holes and you will need to have the gasket replaced immediately.
3. Radiator issues are often a sign of a leaky head gasket. When there is a leak, air bubbles often find their way to the radiator. You may need the help of a mechanic to diagnose this issue. If you’re confident enough, you can remove the radiator cap, start the engine, rev it several times, and then look to see if air bubbles emerge. We only recommend doing this if you are more familiar with your engine and other car parts. If you’re not, please bring your vehicle to us so we can determine if you have an issue.
4. Another possible indication of a blown head gasket is when you experience engine problems. If the engine is slow or misfires during startup, you could be dealing with head gasket problems. When the head gasket is blown, a loss of compression will occur. Your vehicle may start to overheat as well which is very serious. Never drive your vehicle if it’s overheating. Have it towed to one of our Austin area repair shops so we can inspect your vehicle.