How To Take a look at If A Head Gasket Is Blown (7 Simple Steps)

There are few issues extra infamous than a blown head gasket. Not solely can they be costly and time-consuming to switch, however they’re additionally infamous for giving out.

However how are you aware when you've got a blown head gasket or if the issue is said to one thing else? We’ll stroll you thru every thing you should know to check for a blown head gasket on this complete information.

Índice de Contenido
  1. What Does Your Head Gasket Do?
  2. How To Take a look at Your Head Gasket
    1. 1. Examine Your Engine Oil
    2. 2. Examine Your Exhaust
    3. 3. Examine Your Spark Plugs
    4. 4. Examine the Radiator
    5. 5. Examine Your Coolant
    6. 6. Run a Compression Take a look at
    7. 7. Examine For Leaks
    8. BONUS TIP

What Does Your Head Gasket Do?

Your head gasket sits between the top of your engine and the combustion chamber, and it retains all the assorted fluids within the appropriate channels. This would possibly look like a reasonably easy job, but it surely’s so near the combustion chamber that it will get uncovered to plenty of power and motion.

Furthermore, if the seals begin to give out, then you definately’re going to run right into a litany of issues that may result in additional engine harm. It would look like a easy part, but it surely has a essential job.

How To Take a look at Your Head Gasket

The 2 most easy methods to check your head gasket is to verify your oil and your exhaust. However whereas these may be the simplest methods, they aren’t the one issues you possibly can verify for affirmation. Under we’ll spotlight the seven simplest methods to check when you've got a blown head gasket:

1. Examine Your Engine Oil

Check Engine Oil Level

One of many best and simplest methods to check when you've got a blown head gasket is to check out your engine oil. You'll be able to verify it by pulling the dipstick, however should you’re near needing an oil change, it’s far simpler to empty it from the pan and look.

Engine oil combined with coolant is indicative of a blown head gasket. You’ll know that it’s combined should you see a milky coloration in your oil as a substitute of a brownish/black coloration of used oil. The extra coolant that’s there, the milkier the colour can be.

2. Examine Your Exhaust

White Smoke From Exhaust

Should you take a look at your exhaust and there’s way more smoke than common, that may imply you've gotten a blown head gasket. Nevertheless, there are some things you want to pay attention to when making diagnosing extra exhaust.

First, because the temperature drops outdoors, you possibly can anticipate extra exhaust than throughout the hotter months. That is solely regular and doesn’t point out a blown head gasket.

Second, you need to be in search of extreme white smoke when you've got a blown head gasket, as that is the colour that coolant burns if it’s stepping into the combustion chamber. Lastly, you should all the time have extreme smoke for the issue to be a blown head gasket.

If the quantity of exhaust smoke fluctuates after warming up or on completely different days, the issue probably isn’t a blown head gasket.

RELATED: 6 Causes of Automotive Blowing White Smoke from Exhaust

3. Examine Your Spark Plugs

Oil Spark Plug

A telltale signal of a blown head gasket is oil or coolant in your spark plugs. Whereas this isn’t as simple to have a look at as your oil or your exhaust, it’s a foolproof approach to diagnose the issue.

Merely pull your spark plugs and look over each rigorously. Should you discover any oil or coolant residue on the tip of the spark plug, meaning you've gotten an issue and it’s probably a blown head gasket.

4. Examine the Radiator

Radiator Cap Open

There are a number of various things you possibly can search for by checking your radiator. First, a blown head gasket will let air into the cooling system, which can trigger the radiator to have a brothy/foamy combination.

Furthermore, oil and gas could possibly be mixing into the system. If that occurs, then you definately’ll have a milky-colored combine whenever you verify the radiator.

5. Examine Your Coolant

Coolant Overflow Tank

Your coolant is a sealed system, which implies that what you place in your system ought to keep there. And whereas the degrees can fluctuate barely because of variations in temperature and strain, they need to keep the identical for probably the most half.

So, should you discover that it's a must to maintain including coolant to the system however there’s no seen leak, there’s a superb probability that your coolant is heading someplace it shouldn’t inside your engine. If in case you have extreme smoke, it’s stepping into the combustion chamber, and when you've got a milky coloured oil it’s stepping into the oil channels.

Moreover, identical to your oil can change coloration if it’s mixing with the coolant, if there may be oil within the coolant reservoir, you’ll discover a frothy/milky coloration that signifies you've gotten an issue.

If it comes a smoke from the coolant reservoir when the coolant cap is off, it may well additionally imply that compression goes into the coolant system. This may be examined with an exhaust tester additionally.

6. Run a Compression Take a look at

Compression Test

Whereas this is without doubt one of the extra sophisticated exams to run, it’s additionally some of the efficient. You’ll want a number of specialty instruments to get the job accomplished, and also you’ll have to tug the spark plugs too. While you pull the spark plugs, just remember to check out them to verify for coolant or oil residue.

 You’ll discover a drop in compression within the affected combustion chamber when you've got a blown head gasket. That’s as a result of the cylinder can by no means absolutely seal, and the surplus strain will escape.

Small leaks may be very troublesome to note with this methodology although.

7. Examine For Leaks

Leaking Oil

Whereas most individuals are conscious {that a} blown head gasket can ship fluids to different components of your engine, it’s much less well-known that blown head gaskets can result in exterior leaks. 

It’s all about the place the leak is. If it’s in the direction of the surface of the top gasket, you’ll have fluid dripping down the surface of your engine as a substitute of going into completely different passages.

This could trigger smoke to return off your engine if it’s pooling up and burning off earlier than it reaches the bottom. Or, if it does attain the bottom you must discover fluid puddling up beneath your car.

This fluid may be both coolant or oil, and the one approach to diagnose it as a nasty head gasket is to hint it again to the leak’s supply. Should you do discover that it’s coming from the top gasket, you’ve discovered your downside!


The simplest approach to decide if the coolant is leaking into the oil or the combustion chambers is by utilizing a cooling system pressurize instrument.

Simply join it and let or not it's pressurized for 10 minutes. The strain must be secure because the coolant system must be sealed. If the strain is dropping, it's principally leaking into the oil or the cylinders.

Take away the spark plugs and verify for indicators of coolant within the cylinders. Additionally, verify the dipstick for any indicators of coolant within the oil pan.

You should utilize this instrument for this objective:

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