The Damage Caused By a Cracked Head Gasket

Righter’s Auto Repair is going to list the damage caused by a cracked head gasket below. It’s important to have your vehicle towed to one of our shops right away if you notice any of the following problems. Driving the vehicle can create additional problems over and above the blown gasket. As such, we recommend that you play it safe and call for a tow truck instead.

Unexpected Coolant Loss

Because the head gasket creates a seal over the combustion chamber, one of the first things that happens when it blows is coolant leaks into the cylinders. This reduces the level of coolant that is circulating through your engine. Even if you add coolant to the cooling system, the fresh: will also leak into the cylinders where it will be burned away.

Overheating All the Time

Naturally, the coolant loss is going to cause your engine to overheat all the time. This is one reason why we recommend that you have your vehicle towed to our shop. Driving the automobile when the engine is too hot is going to cause additional damage. Depending on the temperature of the engine, you could crack the engine block or exhaust manifold.

Boiling Engine Coolant

In fact, a cracked head gasket can make the engine run so hot that the coolant will start to boil in the radiator. When this happens, pressure builds up inside the radiator until the radiator cap blows. This causes scorching hot coolant to spray all over the inside of your engine. If you hear the coolant boiling in your engine, pull over, cut the engine, and do not pop the hood.

White Exhaust Smoke

We mentioned above that when the head gasket cracks, the coolant leaks into the cylinders. It is combined with the air and fuel that is already in the cylinders and ignited by the spark plugs. This will create an exhaust smoke that flows out of your tailpipe that is white in color. The white color points to burning engine coolant in the combustion chamber.

Milky-White Motor Oil

The coolant can damage the combustion chamber, and it will also mix with the motor oil once the head gasket blows. Consequently, the motor oil will turn milky-white and be unable to protect the engine as it circulates through it. As such, the blown head gasket can cause severe engine damage.

Call Righter’s Auto Repair in Grand Ledge, MI, or Lansing, MI, today so we can schedule an appointment to replace your head gasket.

Photo by skhoward from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

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