How do you know if your vehicle has a blown head Gasket? There are many tell tale signs that will let you know your gasket is failing or has failed. Let’s take a look at the easily visible ones and then move on to those that require you to lift your hood or head to your mechanic.

Easily Visible Clues

White Smoke From the Exhaust
Look for smoke or liquid exiting the exhaust that is white in color. This is an indicator that coolant is burning.

Blue smoke from the exhaust
Look for smoke or liquid exiting the exhaust that is blue in color. This symptom can be cause by the head gasket allowing oil into the combustion cylinders.

Temperature Gauge
If you engine is overheating and the temperature gauge is above the normal range, this could be a sign.

Engine Runs Rough or Loss in Engine Performance
A loss in engine performance or the engine running roughly or sputtering along can be a sign of compression loss.

 

Open the Vehicle’s Hood

Oil in the water
Open up your radiator cap (make sure the engine has cooled off). If you notice oil floating in the water in your radiator this is a problem. There should not be any oil in here.

Check for circulation in the radiator
Open up your radiator cap (make sure the engine has cooled off). If you notice oil floating in the water in your radiator this is a problem. There should not be any oil in here. 

Bubbles of air in the radiator
Open up your radiator cap (make sure the engine has cooled off). If you see bubbles of air coming up to the top of your radiator this indicates backpressure and is a problem.

Water Pump Leaking
Take a look around the water pump too see if it’s leaking. If the water pump is leaking and you lose all of your coolant, your vehicle will overheat and that can cause your head gasket to go bad.

Check your Oil for Sludge like substance
Check your oil by pulling out the dipstick and inspect the color of the oil and its consistency. If you see sludge like substance you have water or coolant mixing with your oil.

Spark Plugs have Oil or Coolant on them
With the engine turned off, remove one of the spark plugs and check around the threads on the plug to see if it has oil on them. It should not have any oil or coolant on them.

 

Take the Vehicle to Your Mechanic

Cylinder Compression Test
If you are mechanically inclined you can do this, otherwise your mechanic will remove the plugs and test each cylinder separately for pressure. If the compression is low on a cylinder it usually indicates that some pressure is escaping.

Cooling System Test
This test will show your mechanic if you have pressure in the system by using a device that may change the color of the chemical in the device.

Blown Head Gasket