Head Gasket Repair And Solutions
One of the most overlooked car components in at-home repair is the head gasket. This little thing, typically made of steel or copper, can be the difference between a machine that runs like a dream and one that can cause you to lose sleep at night.
In this article, we’ll look at some common problems associated with the gasket and how you can solve them at home to avoid major damage to your engine block and the costly repairs that ensue.
The head gasket maintains pressure inside the combustion chamber, meaning that, if the gasket does not do its job, your car is going to have a hard time getting started. On top of that, the gasket allows for motor oil and coolant to travel to their necessary locations while avoiding each other. If you have these fluids mixing together, you have a mess that’s going to take a lot more than a roll of shop towels to clean up.
Gaskets can blow or become damaged when the engine temperature gets too high. If possible, avoid aluminum in your gaskets as the metal is more susceptible to rapid expansion at high temperatures. Stick to steel and copper, though some vehicles use composites (another weaker option) or asbestos (not something you want around you).
But how did the temperature get so high in the first place? Typically, you’re looking at a coolant leak. Often that leak occurs when the seal on the gasket becomes compromised, so if you’re running hot, check your coolant levels first, then make sure the seal is good.
Things to look out for that could be the mark of a gasket issue include: white or light smoke coming out of your exhaust pipe, high temperatures that persist, a coolant warning on the dash, and a vehicle that stutters and jolts instead of running smoothly.
If your gaskets regularly have issues, see if you’re working with a subpar material. If so, replace it with something stronger. There are plenty of good, affordable, long-lasting options that will keep you on the road longer.
If your seal is bad, there are some products on the market that can fix that without you having to spend money on repairs at the shop. One highly regarded product is Blue Devil Head Gasket Sealer from the Blue Devil family of products. For big leaks or big engines, you can get their original sealer which requires a full coolant flush. But if you’re driving in a 6-cylinder, they have the 16 oz. Pour-N-Go option which is equally effective at sealing your leak and only requires you to pour it into the coolant tank and let the car run.
If you have waited too long and the gasket has already blown, you may be looking at some extensive repairs to the engine block. This means finding a good handyman, not reading an article. Do your research and find someone who can not only clear up your problem but get you set up for the future with some preventative repairs.