A Cracked Head Gasket: Common Symptoms and Repair
An engine can consume extra oil or coolant because of a cracked head gasket. However, more severe leaks can result in complete loss of compression.
The head gasket is an essential component of the engine system of a vehicle. Tucked between the engine block and the cylinder head, the primary function of a head gasket is to seal in the internal combustion process so that the two highly combusting fluids: coolant, and oil, don’t mix with each other.
A cracked head gasket is sometimes hard to diagnose and costs a huge sum of money for repair or replacement.
Symptoms of a Cracked Head Gasket
The problem in a head gasket starts with just a leakage in the cooling system. However, it will turn into a bigger trouble if it goes unnoticed due to irregular maintenance. Let’s check out the symptoms of a cracked head gasket:
Engine Overheating – It is one of the most common but not the only signs of head gasket problems. So, just an overheated engine doesn’t mean that the head gasket needs any repair.
Dropping Coolant Levels – If the coolant level drops faster than normal without any visible leaks, your car is likely to have a problem with the head gasket.
Engine Misfire – When the coolant leaks into an engine cylinder, it misfires. So, a misfiring engine can be a possible symptom of a faulty head gasket.
Excessive Exhaust Smoking – When plenty of coolant leaks into the cylinders, the smoke yielded by the combustion process comes out of the exhaust system. It usually happens when the initial leakage is not treated in time.
Head Gasket Repair
A cracked head gasket is easy to repair if you can detect the leakage at the initial stage. There are many sealing products available at auto repair shops. You just have to add the sealer to the radiator and the leak will be sealed as you drive. The type of the sealer will depend on the number of engine cylinders and the size of the leak. Normally, the sealers will work in the case of small leaks.
However, your car will need a head gasket replacement if the problem is not detected early. You may need to repair the engine block and the cylinder head or a complete engine replacement only.
The head gasket replacement itself is not costly but the labor involved in the job requires a great amount of money. In fact, a head gasket fix is one of the most costly engine repair jobs. A gasket replacement needs the removal of a number of engine components. Putting all these parts back together requires specific torque settings to ensure a proper installation.
So, you need to do regular maintenance of your car to avoid a cracked head gasket problem. Otherwise, the fixing job will drain your wallet very fast.