A Cracked Head Gasket: Common Symptoms And Repair

Resulting from a cracked head gasket, an engine can consume extra oil or coolant, so troubleshooting cracked head gasket symptoms is extremely vital.

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.

Now that we understand what a head gasket is, it’s necessary to know cracked head gasket symptoms to avoid higher costs because of additional engine damage caused by driving with a cracked head gasket. In fact, this problem even happens frequently in Subaru and become a stain on the company’s impressive record of manufacturing first-class vehicles. To understand the symptoms it can be helpful to understand why a head gasket might fail.

cracked head gasket symptoms
Symptoms of a bad head gasket

Cracked Head Gasket Symptoms

Symptoms of a bad head gasket are sometimes hard to diagnose and costs a huge sum of money for repair or replacement. 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

The reason behind may be lacking of coolant or the combustion process. Of course, it can lead to many other problems. For example, metal components may enlarge which will cause cracks or warping. Overheating engine is one of the most common but not the only signs of a cracked head gasket. 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, your car is likely to have a problem with the head gasket. A cracked head gasket might lead to a leak, which will be tested by pressurizing your cooling system and watching for pressure loss.

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.

cracked head gasket symptoms
How to fix a cracked head gasket

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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.

Milkiness In Engine Oil

Another cracked head leak symptom is milky white oil. Because the coolant leaks into your combustion chamber, it will seep past your piston rings into your oil. During the time, oil will mix with this liquid to turn into milky white color. On your dipstick and around the engine oil cap are the place you can easily see this symptom.

How To Avoid Cracked Head Gasket?

We all know that prevention is better than cure. 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. There are three methods you can use to diminish the chance of cracked head gasket.

  • Your combustion chamber should be kept under low pressures as possible
  • Avoid overly advanced timing or carbon build up with engine
  • Do not downshift to slow your car and re-match anytime in case your car has a manual transmission.

Besides the list mentioned above, check maintenance tips from our experts to get more information about cracked head gasket symptoms or tricks to avoid other car problems.

Cracked Head Gasket Repair

cracked head gasket repair
Cracked head gasket repair

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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 member 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.