Diagnosing Cracked Cylinders or a Blown Head Gasket in Your Car

12 May 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Your car's engine is made up of cylinders, inside of which are pistons that move up and down to create combustion. That combustion is what powers the engine. Those cylinders have a cap on one side, and that cap has a gasket or rubber piece between it and the cylinder itself.

A cracked cylinder or a blown head gasket, meaning it's come apart or come off somehow, are both very serious repairs for your car. Continuing to drive with a cracked cylinder or without a gasket in good repair means permanent damage to your engine and, in most cases, needing to have it replaced. The engine also typically overheats and can damage the radiator. It's good to note the following symptoms of a cracked cylinder or a blown head gasket in your car.

1. Oil and coolant mixed

When your car's engine has a cracked cylinder or blown head gasket, oil can easily escape these cylinders. This oil can then seep back into the radiator and mix with your car's coolant. At the same time, the coolant that is delivered to your engine to keep it cool can then seep into the oil pan because of a cracked cylinder or blown head gasket. If you check your radiator fluid levels or check your car's oil and notice that these fluids have mixed, it's good to then check your cylinders or the head gasket.

2. External oil leaks

When oil leaks out a cracked cylinder or blown head gasket, it may drip down the side of your car's engine and then pool around the driveway, or it may cling to the outside of the engine. An oil leak can be coming from a number of different spots under your car's hood, but if you notice that you have a noticeable oil stain on your driveway or your car loses oil pressure, check the cylinders and head gaskets.

3. Overheating

A cracked cylinder or blown head gasket can allow coolant to leak from your engine so that it more easily overheats. As with oil leaks, overheating can be caused by a number of factors including a leak in the radiator or a failing water pump, but it's good to check the head gaskets of your engine's cylinders when you notice consistent overheating of the engine. Note if you can see coolant pooling around the cylinder heads; the fluid has a greenish tinge to it, so it's often visible when it's leaking from a blown head gasket. For more information, contact a professional such as Reconditioning Services.