A small but important part of your car is the head gasket.
It keeps the engine block and cylinder heads from leaking. If it breaks, it’s a big problem, but can you still drive with a blown head gasket?
Driving with a blown head gasket is not a good idea because coolant leaking into the engine block can cause a lot of damage. If you keep driving the car in this condition, you might have to rebuild the engine from scratch.
Read on to find out more about what can happen if you drive with a blown head gasket.
Is It Safe To Drive With a Blown Head Gasket?
Before you can answer this question, you need to know what a head gasket is and what it does.
Your engine is a complicated system, and during the combustion cycle, many fluids and gases move through it.
In a water-cooled engine, the combustion gases, cooling water, and lubricating oil all need to move around so that the engine doesn’t get too hot and works well. Each one of these fluids has its own path.
It is very important that these liquids and gases don’t mix!
The head gasket is the seal that keeps pressure from leaking out and keeps everything in place. If the head gasket leaks, combustion gases can leak out, coolant can leak out, or the oil can get dirty.
Head gasket leaks can come from the inside or the outside. If oil or coolant is on the outside of the engine, it has a leak.
Most of the time, you can see it under the engine, where you might find a wet spot when you move the car.
When the combustion gases and coolant leak inside the engine, but nothing gets out to the outside, this is called an internal leak. Either oil can leak into the coolant system or coolant can leak into the oil system.
If coolant gets into the combustion chamber, the fuel won’t burn right. When the head gasket leaks, combustion gases can leak out of the cylinder. This makes the cooling system less effective.
How bad the leak is and what symptoms it causes depend on where it is, how bad it is, and which part of the system is escaping or interacting with other parts.
How Long Can You Drive With a Blown Head Gasket?
The answer to the question of how long you can drive with a blown head gasket is that you shouldn’t drive at all. The car might still run, but if it does, you’re going to be stuck somewhere!
In the end, it all comes down to how big and where the hole is.
If there’s just a little white smoke coming out of the back, you might be able to drive it to the shop, but you shouldn’t. If your engine is running rough or getting too hot, it will soon break down completely.
How long you can drive with a blown head gasket is hard to say because it depends on many things.
The only thing you know for sure is that the longer you drive, the more likely it is that the engine or another major part will completely break down.
Does a Blown Head Gasket Ruin an Engine?
A blown head gasket can destroy an engine quickly. If coolant gets into the combustion chamber, it can cause damage.
This makes it harder for the fuel to burn all the way, which hurts the engine’s performance. This makes the exhaust steam, which can look like white smoke.
The steam can hurt the part of the car that cleans the air. If a lot of coolant gets into the engine, the engine can “hydro lock.” When this happens, there is more gas in the cylinder than the cylinder can hold.
If this happens, the cylinder rod can get bent, which can ruin the engine.
If the engine is leaking combustion gases, the engine will lose power and run poorly.
When the pressure drops, the cooling system won’t be able to do its job as well, and the engine will overheat. Another thing that can happen is that the gases can get into the coolant and make air pockets.
If you find that coolant is leaking into the oil and making it look milky, the oil can’t do its job of keeping the parts of the engine from grinding against each other. This can make the engine get too hot and wear out parts faster.
In the end, even a small leak will damage the engine and ruin it over time.
Depending on where the leak happens and what liquids and gases are involved, the damage can be severe and happen right away. Even if the car still starts and runs, you should not drive it until the head gasket is fixed.
If your head gasket has blown, the question is not if it will damage your engine, but when and how bad it will be when it does.
The problem won’t go away on its own, and products that stop leaks only work temporarily, even if you use them. If you fix the head gasket right away, it will cost less because less damage will have been done.
How To Know You Have a Blown Head Gasket?
Symptoms can be different depending on where the leak is and what kind of liquid or gas is escaping. If the exhaust is making blue smoke, it means that oil is getting into the combustion chamber. The smell of burning oil will come from the exhaust.
Another problem could be where the oil is coming from, but it could also be a blown head gasket.
If white smoke comes out of the exhaust, that could mean coolant is getting into the combustion chamber. If coolant is leaking into the oil system, the oil might look like mayonnaise or a chocolate milkshake. You can tell by looking at the oil on the dipstick or the filler cap.
Oil, coolant, or oil that is dirty gets into the combustion chamber, but it is not always because of the head gasket.
Even though these problems could be caused by other parts of the system, a blown head gasket should be one of the first things you think of if you notice them. Wet spark plugs is something else that could happen.
If you take your car to a mechanic, he or she will do a compression test to see if the engine is keeping the right pressures while it burns.
They might also take off the radiator cap and start the car once the engine is cool.
If the coolant foams or bubbles, it could mean that the head gasket has blown.
There are always signs that a head gasket has blown. If the leak is small, the signs might be so small that you don’t notice them.
It will only get worse over time, and you will eventually have no choice but to notice it.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace a Head Gasket?
How much it costs to replace a head gasket depends on a lot of different things. Most of the cost is based on the make and model of your car. The cost of replacing a head gasket is made up of the cost of the new part and the cost of the work to put it in.
How hard it is to replace the head gasket and how much it will cost in labour will depend on the type of engine.
Also, there are many different kinds of head gaskets to choose from. The replacement cost will also depend on the type you choose.
Here are some of the most common ones you will find.
Steel with many layers
Based on averages for the whole country, most makes and models of cars cost between $1,624 and $1,979.
The cost of the part itself ranges from $715 to $832. Most of the time, labour costs between $909 and $1,147.
The good news is that modern head gaskets last a long time. You can expect many of them to last at least 10 years.
Depending on the type of car you have and how well you take care of it, they can last for 15 years or more.
A blown head gasket is usually caused by the engine getting too hot over and over again. If you keep driving the car even though it’s too hot, the head gasket could blow.
Any part of the cooling system that breaks down can damage the head gasket.
The best way to avoid a blown head gasket is to change your oil regularly, keep your cooling system in good shape, and get your car serviced regularly.
These kinds of problems are best caught before they happen. By doing regular maintenance, you can help avoid having to pay for more expensive repairs in the future.
Now you know what a head gasket is and why you shouldn’t drive if you think it has blown. Even if the car still runs, you will only do more damage by driving it.
If you see any of the signs in this article, pull over to a safe place and have your car towed to a mechanic as soon as possible so they can fix it.