You’re sitting in traffic, minding your own business, when suddenly you see it: a cloud of white smoke billowing from under the hood of your car.
Does this mean you have a broken head gasket on your hands?
Or how about this scenario: open the hood of the car to see the engine and notice that the cylinder head gasket appears to be slightly deformed. Does this mean you have a broken head gasket? Or should normal wear and tear on a car be considered, especially if it’s an older model?
You don’t need a mechanic to properly diagnose this problem; in fact, if you detect any of these symptoms while driving, it is very likely that you have a blown engine:
The first symptoms
To avoid major engine problems, and save yourself a surprise bill from your mechanic! – Then watch out for some key preliminary symptoms, which arise when the head gasket is about to fail. Your car will occasionally overheat, white smoke will appear from the exhaust, and there will be a slight rumble sensation when your car is idling.
If you haven’t spotted these preliminary symptoms, watch out for the important signs: your car is overheating, your air conditioner blows hot air or your heater blows cold air, there are clouds of smoke coming from under the hood, your car will jerk sharply while it is idle, or it won’t boot at all. In any case, take a look under the hood at your engine. A warped or slightly bent surface can be easily repaired by a mechanic for a nominal fee; however, a crack in the block surface will indicate that the head gasket needs to be completely replaced.
Another major symptom of a blown engine is oil getting into the coolant. If your vehicle has been running, it is very important to let it cool down before removing the radiator cap. This can take between 20 and 30 minutes. Then use a rag to remove the cap. If your liquid looks like chocolate milk, then you definitely have a broken head gasket.
If you repair an engine, be sure to take your vehicle to an experienced mechanic with a stellar reputation and customer service.