When a head gasket fails, it is a serious problem that will require servicing as soon as possible. There are several reasons which lead to failure, including oil leak, coolant leak, and compression loss. All will result in engine damage if not addressed promptly. The following lists five typical issues caused by a head gasket failure.
1) Contaminated Oil
Whitish sludge on the bottom of the dipstick or oil filler cap is a well-known clue there is a gasket failure. Even though it is not a 100% sure indicator, you should have your engine inspected right away. When oil and coolant get mixed together, the contaminated oil will eventually damage the bearings of the engine.
2) Coolant or Oil Leak
When there is a head gasket failure between the oilway or water way and the engine’s exterior, it will lead to a coolant or oil leak.
The most common reason a head gasket fails is an overheating engine. Conversely a blown head gasket will also result in engine overheating. When this happens, exhaust gases of high temperatures can leak inside the cooling system. Leaking coolant can also enter the cylinders, producing steam. Either will cause the engine to overheat, which can warp the alloy cylinder head or harm the catalytic converter. Both are very expensive repair jobs.
4) Power Loss
There are instances when a head gasket failure leads to the leaking of compressed air/fuel, decreasing cylinder compression. This will causes the engine to run rough, and you will notice a significant power loss.
5) Smoke and Fumes
Bluish smoke and fumes expelled by the exhaust pipe is an indicator that oil has leaked, bypassing the gasket and entering the cylinders. The leaked oil is burned during the combustion process, producing the smoke and fumes. This failure will also result in exhaust gases going into oilways, pressurizing the crankcase and causing unusual engine wear and tear.
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