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Signs You Need A New Head Gasket

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Your car's head gasket plays important roles: It acts as the seal between the cylinders and the engine, it keeps motor oil separated from engine coolant as they flow through the motor, and it keeps the internal combustion created by ignition contained. Without it, your car won't run. And if yours needs to be replaced, you'll know by the following warning signs:

Overheated Engine

An overheated engine can be cause by several factors. It could be a faulty thermostat, or it could mean that your head gasket isn't functioning as it should. A blown head gasket is no longer capable of creating a tight seal in the combustion chamber and allows the intense heat to seep out. This, in turn, causes your temperature light to turn on and your engine to overheat. 

Constantly Low Coolant Levels

Both coolant and oil flow through channels that are sealed in place by the head gasket. When it becomes compromised, one or both may leak. If you're constantly replacing the coolant or the oil in your vehicle because it's continuously low, your head gasket may be to blame. 

Stalling, Stuttering Engine

There are all kinds of reasons why your car might suddenly begin running rough -- stalling out in traffic or stuttering along when it's in gear. It could be an easy fix such as a spark plug or water in your gas. But it could also be that your head gasket needs to be replaced. The best way to determine whether it's the gasket that's causing the problem is to look for other symptoms as well. If the stalling and stuttering are accompanied by leaking fluids and an engine that overheats, odds are good that the head gasket is the culprit.


If coolant is allowed to penetrate the combustion chamber via a faulty head gasket, thick, gray smoke will result. It won't form under the hood, however. Look for this telltale sign of gasket trouble at the rear of your vehicle where the exhaust exits. If you notice a cloud of gray fog following you everywhere you go, it's time to go see a mechanic.

If you suspect that your vehicle's head gasket is damaged, make an appointment with a professional right away. This isn't a repair that you want to put off; doing so could cause damage to the entire engine. And replacing an engine is costly and time-consuming. If you notice any one of these signs of a failed head gasket, tell your auto mechanic today. If you know how to make gasket repairs yourself, you may want to contact a local supplier like FB Wright of Cincinnati to order the gasket you need.