What is a Head Gasket Leak?

To better understand what a head gasket leak is, it would help first to know what a head gasket is and its role in a car.

What is a Head Gasket?

A head gasket is a flat, thin metal sheet with several holes fitted between the motor and the cylinder head. Their design, thickness, and construction vary, depending on the engine design. It is a critical component under the hood, enhancing the engine's efficiency by sealing the combustion chamber for maximum compression and containment of exhaust gases. It also prevents the entry of oil and coolant (and antifreeze) into the combustion chamber.

Understanding Head Gasket Leak and Its Costs

The head gasket seals out extremely hot pressurized combustion gases and the antifreeze. Because the coolant temperature varies from time to time and the gasket's large surface area, it is not uncommon for the gasket to leak as the years go by. A leak in the head gasket is also referred to as a blown head gasket. That means it can no longer perform its primary function, resulting in coolant and oil leaks in the engine.

It is critical to replace the blown gasket asap because it can lead to many problems down the line. If the coolant leaks and burns in the engine, it leaves deposits and debris in the engine that could damage the spark plugs, causing ignition problems. The presence of the coolant in the combustion chamber cause changes in the air-fuel ratio that could ruin the sensors. The coolant also causes rusting of some critical engine parts, such as cylinder walls, pistons, and piston rings.

Signs and Symptoms of a Head Gasket Leak

Before worse comes to worst, you will notice some unusual signs about the car that indicate a head gasket leak. They include:

  • Engine oil and antifreeze leaks

  • Blue or white exhaust fumes

  • Discolored engine oil or coolant

  • Engine overheating

  • Catalytic converter issues

The head gasket might also develop leaks and problems because of issues in other related components. That might hinder the accurate diagnosis of the exact problem.

  • A chipped head gasket might affect the head gasket function.

  • Corroded head gasket due to a leak in other engine parts.

If you need head gasket repair, we invite you to bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop today!

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