Car Care – The ultimate blow-up!

technical inspection

I am continuing my mini-series on, how to insure your vehicle’s engine last longer. I am going to be a bit more technical in this post, but bear with me because this is such an important part of your car’s engine and can cause huge damage it not maintained. If you fail to notice the signs of deterioration on this critical engine component, it might be the end of your car’s engine…

The Ultimate Blow-Up!

The Head-Gasket

When combustion takes place inside your car’s engine, air and fuel generates huge amounts of pressure inside the engine’s combustion chamber. The head-gasket is the safe-guard between the combustion chamber and the rest of the vehicle’s engine parts. The head-gasket prevents fluids and gases to escape into adjutant cylinders, oil and coolant compartments. As per the previous post, Car Care – The Cooling, the engine coolant regulates the engine temperature and it flows into the cylinders and combustion chamber. The Head-gasket prevents the coolant from running into the cylinders between strokes and keeps the oil and coolant from entering these parts while the engine is switched off.

How do you know you have a head-gasket problem?

If you pick-up a head-gasket problem at an early stage it will save your money in repairs. Here are some of the signs that will give you an indication something might be wrong with your head-gasket. If you notice any of these indicators below take your vehicle immediately to a vehicle work-shop:

  1. Coolant levels

If you see your coolant level dropping quickly, without seeing any visible leeks, it is likely a head-gasket problem. It is easy to see the coolant level as it is normally contained in a see-through container and clearly visible when you open the vehicle bonnet.

  1. Engine temperature

This is another clear indicator that there is too much heat inside the car’s engine. Keep an eye on the vehicle’s heat gauge to spot over-heating problems early and quickly. Heat is not your engine’s friend and if there is excess heat, it is normally an indicator something is wrong.

  1. Engine Misfire

When you hear a popping, sneezing sound it might be a cylinder misfire. Backfire is another sound that comes from the back of the vehicle that could indicate a problem with head-gasket.

  1. Smoke

Excessive smoke from your car can mean something is wrong with the head-gasket. It is not the only fault when smoke is bellowing out of the excuse, but again, it is an indication of some fault in the car’s engine.

How to prevent head-gasket problems?

It is all about looking for anything that is not normal. If your engine behaves different from yesterday, check it out.

  1. The Cooling.

One of the biggest causes for a blown or cracked head-gasket is over-heating. Check, your coolant level on a regular basis. I know I did mention this in my previous post, but it is an easy yet important thig to keep your engine in a good condition. Heat is a killer!

  1. Running dry

If you suspect a cooling-system problem, act immediately. Don’t wait 2 or 3 days. You’ll pay much less to fix something small, than to expose your car’s engine to heat-stress, which can cause major damage such as engine failure. Be attentive and act on it!


Be watchful in preventive maintenance – safe driving

Hanru Reyneke

Founder @Car Inspection

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