What are Blown Head Gasket Symptoms? Know in Detail

Is your car engine overheating and producing white smoke? Chances are you might be dealing with a blown head gasket. It’s a common problem many car owners face, but they often don’t know how to diagnose and fix it.

A crucial part of the engine, the head gasket keeps the cylinder head and engine block sealed. The aim is to maintain pressure and prevent oil and coolant from mixing. However, when this gasket fails, it can cause severe damage to the engine and the car’s performance.

A blown head gasket is something that you can only ignore for a short time. It can lead to costly repairs, engine damage, and even a car breakdown.

However, the good news is that it’s possible to identify the signs of a blown head gasket early and fix it before it causes further damage. In this article, we’ll discuss blown head gasket symptoms and the steps you can take to fix them.

What is a Head Gasket? 

The engine head and the bottom portion are sealed by head gaskets, a very straightforward component of the engine block. They consist of various holes, each designed to serve a specific purpose. 

While all those around the gasket prevent fluids and lubricants from leaking out, the large ones in the centre seal the pistons’ movements. 

In contemporary automobiles, head gaskets are typically constructed of steel or fibreglass. However, other materials, including silicone, rubber,  cork, and nitrile Teflon may also be used. 

They are relatively efficient and inexpensive to purchase by design, but the labour cost to bolt them back into the engine is significant.

What are the Possible Signs of a Blown Head Gasket? 

White Smoke from the Exhaust

Moving to the back of the car, you can see clear white smoke rising from the exhaust pipe, which is another typical indication. This also happens after the issue has progressed past the initial warning indications. 

White smoke can only be brought on by fluids, notably coolant seeping into the combustion chamber.

However, you shouldn’t mix this with the morning’s tiny puff of white smoke.

Condensation may cause a small amount of smoke, but if coolant has burned in the combustion chamber, you will notice excessive white smoke coming from your exhaust. 

This may become more apparent when tapping the accelerator pedal, so you can ask someone to confirm this. 

Loss of Coolant

A loss of coolant is one of the most typical indicators of a burst head gasket. This can be due to an external or internal leak, where the coolant is burning off in the combustion chamber. 

If you’ve noticed that your car needs more coolant than usual, this could be a sign that the head gasket is failing.

The coolant may appear to be boiling due to combustion gas leaks if there is continuous air movement from the bottom. You might also perform a rev test to check suspicions about compression leaks.

Have someone hit the accelerator while you watch to see if the container with bubbling coolants leaks. 


An overheating engine is another common symptom of a blown head gasket. The coolant may seep into the combustion chamber and be burned up when the head gasket fails, raising the engine’s temperature. 

If your vehicle begins to overheat, this is a red flag that your head gasket may be damaged.

Oil Contamination

This occurs when the coolant mixes with the oil in the engine, causing it to become dark and thick. It may also be accompanied by a sweet smell or visible signs of corrosion in the oil pan.

 If you notice these symptoms, you must take your car to a mechanic for further inspection.

Low Compression

The last symptom of a blown head gasket is low cylinder compression. This happens when the gap between the cylinder head and the engine block isn’t correctly sealed, allowing air to enter the combustion chamber and reduce compression.

 If you experience misfires or feel a loss of power while driving, this could indicate that your head gasket is failing.

Misfire of Engine

Engine misfires are incredibly damaging to an engine’s internal workings. Misfires can affect the head gasket and possibly ruin the engine if uncontrolled.

If you notice any unusual sounds originating from the engine or any kind of shudder or splutter, it is advisable to stop driving immediately and have the engine inspected for issues. 

Misfires can have a wide range of causes, but they are typically relatively simple to solve when addressed promptly. 

Fluid Impairment

A complete jumble of vehicle fluids is another symptom that can indicate a potentially blown head gasket. A head gasket is crucial for ensuring that all of the fluids in your car follow their intended paths and remain contained in the system. 

Your car contains many different fluids, each with its passageway.

The head gasket contains several holes strategically placed throughout the sheet. It is made to allow fluids to pass through them. A cascade of issues in the engine could result from any of those cracks. 

The fluids won’t be well contained, and you’ll see that some of them are mingling with one another.

The Concluding Thought 

A head gasket repair is pricy and not recommended for those weak in heart.

Since various problems with a vehicle’s engine or cooling system might produce symptoms similar to head gasket failure, accurate diagnosis calls for expertise and an organised strategy. 

If a blown gasket is the cause of the problem, repairs must be addressed immediately to stop further harm and a total breakdown.