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The head gasket is a crucial component in a car’s engine that seals the cylinder head to the engine block. When it fails, it can lead to serious engine problems. Here are five signs that you may have blown a head gasket in your car:
- Overheating: One of the most common signs of a blown head gasket is persistent engine overheating. The head gasket helps maintain the separation between the engine’s coolant and oil channels. When it fails, coolant can leak into the combustion chamber or mix with the oil, causing the engine to overheat.
- White Smoke from the Exhaust: If you notice thick white smoke coming from the exhaust, it could be a sign of a blown head gasket. This is often caused by coolant leaking into the combustion chamber and being burned along with the fuel.
- Milky Oil: Check the engine oil on the dipstick. If you find a milky or frothy appearance, it indicates that coolant has mixed with the oil. This mixing is a clear indication of a head gasket failure.
- Bubbles in the Radiator or Overflow Tank: When the engine is running, air bubbles in the radiator or overflow tank can suggest a head gasket problem. The head gasket may be allowing combustion gases to enter the cooling system, leading to the formation of bubbles.
- Loss of Compression: A blown head gasket can result in a loss of compression in one or more cylinders. You may notice a decrease in engine power, rough idling, or poor acceleration. A compression test can help diagnose this issue.
If you suspect a blown head gasket, it’s crucial to address the problem promptly to prevent further damage to the engine. Ignoring these signs can lead to more extensive and expensive repairs. Consult with a qualified mechanic to diagnose and fix the issue.