The head gasket, this is the part of your radiator that should always be sealed. If there are leaks in the gasket, or worse, if the gasket has been blown, then the performance of your vehicle will definitely suffer. In most cases, your car will overheat due to the inefficiency of the radiator to cool your car. Obviously, if you are not a mechanic or do not have the basic working knowledge of a car’s engine, you may find it difficult to determine if the head gasket is leaking or is blown. In fact, you may not even now where the head gasket is exactly. Well, here are some things that you should know about that can alert you if the head gasket in your car is leaking. This way, you will know if it needs replacement.
- Pop the hood. The first step is to park your car somewhere where this is ample lighting. Once that is done, pull the lever near your brakes to pop the hood. Open the hood and stabilize it with the supporting bracket. Make sure your car is cool before proceeding.
- Locate the radiator and its cap. The radiator should be located at the front of your car’s engine for most models. Some models may have the radiator under the driver’s seat, more often than not, found in a lot of older vans. Anyway, on top of the radiator, there will be a cap labeled as “do not open when hot”. Turn the cap counterclockwise and it will unscrew and open your radiator.
- Start your engine. At this point, with the radiator cap loosened, enter your car and turn on your engine. This will test the radiator to see if the head gasket is leaking. You will have to wait a few minutes before you see the results, as you will want the radiator to start cooling the engine. If the radiator starts bubbling up at its spout, this means that your head gasket is leaking or blown. These bubbles are trying to get out but the radiator cap is hindering this a bit. At this point, you know that your gasket is blown.
- Have it replaced. Now that you already know that the head gasket is leaking, you will want to bring your car to a mechanic in order to have the head gasket replaced. Now, some mechanics may offer to find the leaks and seal it. While this may solve your problem for awhile, it is always better to have it replaced with a new one.
Aside from the tests explained above, you can find out if your gasket is leaking through other telltale signs or symptoms such as white colored smoke from the exhaust, poor idling and engine performance, the engine light on the dashboard constantly turned on, constantly disappearing coolant from your radiator without any signs of leaks at the bottom, and, of course, the consistent overheating of your vehicle as you drive. All these signs should alert you that something is definitely wrong with your head gasket.