head gasket

A technician inspecting the engine

Maintaining your vehicle is important. A head gasket leaking external would cause coolant to come from below the intake or exhaust manifold and often only happens when the engine is completely warmed up.  If there is no other cooling passages or hoses near the head gasket you may be able to positively identify the leak as a head gasket leak. Make sure to contact us so we can inspect your vehicle.

White smoke

Most head gasket leaks are internal to the engine allowing coolant to flow into the combustion chamber on every intake stroke.  When this happens to coolant burns and evaporates with the combustion process and appears as white smoke coming from the tailpipe.  This smoke can be differentiated from moisture during a cold start by a sweet smell. It will continue even when the engine is warm.  If the leak in the head gasket is large this white smoke can often be excessive and billow from the tailpipe.

Bubbles in the Radiator

Besides allowing coolant into the combustion chamber, an internal head gasket leak allows exhaust gases into the coolant.  This can cause bubbles to be in the radiator or coolant reservoir making the coolant look like it’s boiling even when it’s cold.  The bubbles are exhaust gases that force their way into the cooling system during the combustion process.

Overheating Engine

If you’ve got a blown head gasket, your engine usually will overheat after longer drives.  This happens both due to the lack of coolant as your engine consumes it. It is also the efficient combustion process, the excess heat from the exhaust in the coolant and the inability of your vehicle’s radiator to cool the dirty coolant.  If your engine overheats it can cause lots of problems.  The biggest concern is the expansion of metal components past what they were designed for. This can cause cracks and warping.  Also, it can permanently damage seals and gaskets cause other leaks in your engine. If you notice an issue, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you.