How to Spot a Head Gasket Leak

What is a Head Gasket Leak?

Few things are as stressful as car problems. A head gasket is a key component of your car. The engine has two sections, the cylinder block (pistons, cylinders, spark plugs, camshaft, and valves between these two parts lies the head gasket.

What does a Head Gasket do?

Your car needs a head gasket to catch and contain stress emitted when the cylinder's fire. The head gasket stops oil and refrigerant from leaking into delicate parts of the automobile engine. Consequently, the head gasket has to tolerate all the cylinder's pressure caused by expansion, contraction, rubbing, and lots of other rough contact.

What Causes a Head Gasket Leak?

A vehicle's engine produces high heat levels. An engine overheats and the tension placed on the head gasket can be more than it can handle causing a blown head gasket. The intense heat forces the engine block and cylinder head to rapidly swell and the head gasket is broken.

Another potential cause of a head gasket leak is when there's damage to the fire rings and armors, these parts to detonate allowing more pressure to reach the head gasket.

Warning Signs Your Head Gasket is in Trouble

Once coolant breaches from the cylinder accessing the gasket you'll find these symptoms:

  • Boiling fluids in the coolant reservoir
  • Bubbling water in the radiator
  • Opaque, white color in the oil
  • Coolant evaporation without any explanation
  • White smoke emitted from the tailpipe
  • Your engine overheats
  • Oil or coolant around the head gasket
  • Loss of horsepower in your engine


If you notice any of these warning signs, don't drive your car. The cooling system might be highly pressurized which can be dangerous. Get your vehicle to an expert as soon as possible. Make sure they follow the manufacturer's guidelines in any repair.

The best way you can prevent a head gasket leak is to ensure there's always enough coolant in your engine. Get a regular oil change and checkup every few thousand miles. We specialize in head gasket repair and if you need a dependable, affordable repair. Please call or visit Space Center Automotive of Clear Lake soon!