What Causes a Blown Head Gasket

It’s a component that strikes fear into the heart of anyone driving a car with an internal combustion engine. Taking your car to the local garage and hearing the mechanic say “yeah, that looks like a head gasket issue” will quite often be followed up by a hefty repair bill. But what actually is a head gasket? What causes these problems and how do you fix them, if at all? Let Scrap Car Comparison guide you through everything you need to know.

If your car already has given up the ghost thanks to its head gasket letting go, then Scrap Car Comparison is here to help. With buyers and collectors based all around the country, no matter the condition of your car we’ll come and take it off your hands and provide you with the very best price.

What is a head gasket?

Before we get started, let’s tackle the most basic of questions on the subject. The head gasket is found between the engine block and the cylinder head, and provides a seal to ensure that no coolant or oil mixes together. It also ensures that no liquids make their way from the engine and into the cylinders, where it simultaneously confines gases. As a result, it is put under more stress than any other component in an engine, and ensures that engines are safe from longer term damages.

Close up of motor oil being poured into a car engine

How much does a head gasket cost

Anyone who has read any of our car care blogs will know that predicting the cost of repairs or parts is a near-impossible task, with a whole host of factors at play at determining the final quote. Your car, its age, and the type of engine it needs will all have an impact on the cost you’ll be needing to pay once the work is carried out.

But, in terms of a ballpark figure, you’ll need to put aside at least £500 for a replacement head gasket. That’s on a good day, though, and if you have a blown head gasket, chances are there’s been some sizable damage done to the rest of the engine, which could easily see your bill reach four figures in no time.

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How do I know if my head gasket is blown

The term ‘blown head gasket’ refers to when the seal fails and coolant and oil mixes together. It’s one of the most dreaded problems for car owners, and can often mean very large repair bills to put right – and these can quite often outweigh the value of the car full stop.

A telltale sign of a blown head gasket is your car overheating. With the seal compromised, a coolant leak means, unsurprisingly, that your engine is unable to keep itself cool, and rising temperatures are almost a given. You may also see white exhaust smoke as the coolant flows into the hot combustion chamber and evaporates. One of the biggest signs of a blown gasket is a milky or white look to your oil. If you see a milky substance around your dipstick or oil chamber, it tends to suggest that coolant has got into your oil, and you’ll be wanting to visit a garage pronto.

How to check a head gasket

Checking the condition of your head gasket is quite simple, and just requires you to pop your bonnet and have a look inside. Locate the oil filler cap and remove it. If the underside of the cap is dry, then you’re not looking at any problems, but if you discover there is a brownish-yellow, milky substance – that looks like an unappetising milkshake – then you’re likely to have a problem with your gasket.

How to prevent head gasket damage

If you suspect that there are some issues with your head gasket, there is a DIY fix you can attempt to stave off any serious damage. Head gasket sealer is readily available from most car parts shops, whether it’s the local auto centre or a national chain, and is likely to set you back anywhere between £10 and £40. The sealer is a liquid and will work its way around the gasket to find any gaps, which it will then fill using targeting chemicals.

Get the best price with Scrap Car Comparison

If your head gasket looks like it is beyond repair, then it may be time to look at other options. One of the easiest and quickest options would be to sell the car for scrap or salvage, which is where the friendly team at Scrap Car Comparison come in. We’ll scour the market to get the very best price for your car and you’ll find that your troubled vehicle is out of your hair and replaced with cash in your bank account before you know it.

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