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What is a Head Gasket Leak?

Head gaskets are vital to the health of an automotive engine. The head gasket is located between the cylinder and the engine block. The thermodynamic processes of internal combustion are contained by the head gasket. With the head gasket perfectly sealed, coolant and oil can travel throughout the engine to thoroughly cool and lubricate.

The head gasket also seals the combustion chamber. Securing the combustion chamber produces enough power to propel the vehicle. The sealed combustion chamber also prevents damaging gases from entering the exhaust system. Head gasket failure or a leak in the head gasket is detrimental to engines and exhaust systems.

Head gaskets are produced from layers of steel entwined with a material called elastomer. This combination of materials makes the head gasket ultra-resilient and long-lasting. Another essential function of the head gasket is keeping all the pressure created from ignition confined to the combustion chamber. A lack of pressure in the combustion chamber causes issues with the cylinder's firing.

A leaking or blown head gasket has many possible indicators. Possible signals of a leaking head gasket include low coolant levels. A low coolant level is indicative of a coolant leak into the combustion chamber.

Another sign of a potential leaking head gasket is high engine temperature levels. A coolant leak can cause high engine temperatures, signaling a possibly leaking head gasket. Engine stalling is also a sign of a possible head gasket leak. Engine stalling occurs from a reduction of pressure in the cylinders. Other signs of a possible head gasket leak include milky and foamy oil and white smoke coming from the exhaust.


Ignoring a leaking head gasket will result in catastrophic failure. Coolant and motor oil will continuously leak resulting in a system that lacks cooling and lubrication. Eventually, the entire head gasket will rupture. The only way to repair a blown head gasket is to rebuild the engine block. Preventing a blown head gasket is simple. If the vehicle is overheating check the cooling system and ensure there are appropriate levels of coolant.

If you suspect a head gasket leak or are concerned about blowing a head gasket we invite you to bring your vehicle into our auto repair shop today!

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