Blowing a head gasket can be a frustrating experience. Not only it is inconvenient, but the cost of repairs can add up quickly. Luckily, there are some easy ways to avoid a blown cylinder head gasket. Let’s have a look at what a cylinder head gasket is and how to avoid blowing yours.
What is a Cylinder Head Gasket?
A cylinder head gasket is a part that seals the combustion chamber of your engine block. It prevents hot exhaust gases from escaping, as well as oil or coolant from coming into the engine block. Engine gasses run at an incredibly hot temperature which can cause your head gasket seal to degrade over time. One of the major causes of this degradation has to do with incorrect coolant levels as well as the condition of the coolant.
Check Your Coolant
Overheating is one of the main causes of blown head gaskets. Keeping an eye on your cooling system is a must to prevent any overheating issues. Coolant helps your engine to maintain a proper temperature which prevents overheating. It’s easy to forget to check your coolant levels, but it’s recommended that you check your coolant checked each time you open your hood at a filling station.
Coolant levels are easy to check on modern vehicles and it’s often a simple top-up if the levels are below the recommended line. Keep in mind that when coolant levels get too low, air pockets can form in the cooling system which interferes with the coolant’s ability to cool the engine efficiently.
Check the Condition Of Your Coolant
Engines are designed for a 50/50 mix of water and glycol. If this mixture is off-balance, your engine’s temperature could start to rise and cause overheating. If you’re concerned about the mix ratio of your coolant, it’s always a good idea to take your car into a reputable auto repair facility. Coolant can also deteriorate over time. Symptoms to check for are:
- No color left in the coolant
- A strong odor from the coolant
- The presence of rust or oil in the coolant
- Small particles that are visible in the coolant
Do A Regular Coolant Flush
When any of the above symptoms are noticed, it’s best to do a full coolant flush of the existing coolant. This will remove any of the above-mentioned issues and also help to clean other important cooling components such as your water pump and radiator.
Once you’ve flushed the old coolant out, you can re-fill the coolant tank with the correct ratio of distilled water and glycol or buy a pre-mixed coolant. Flushing a cooling system can be a messy job and we recommend that you take your car into the professionals to avoid running into any potential problems.
Other Ways To Avoid A Blown Head Gasket
Another problem can lie with your engine’s pre-ignition. This issue is often found in cars that are only used for inner-city driving.
The continual cycle or stop-start styled driving can cause the fuel to be combusted at the wrong time. This can send large amounts of pressure into the cylinder head which can lead to a blown head gasket. Make sure that you take your car out on the open road now and again to help prevent any pre-ignition issues from occurring. Other causes can include a poor head gasket installation as well as the presence of hot spots in older engines.
Prevention Is Key
Don’t let a blown head gasket get the better of you. Make sure you prevent it by following the steps above. Also, remember to keep an eye on your car’s temperature gauge and pull over if it gets too hot. The best prevention is to get your car serviced and checked out by a reputable auto repair facility. At Foreign Affairs Motorsport, we have over 125 years of experience within our advanced workshop. Leave any servicing and overheating issues to us!