The head gasket is the part of your car's engine system that contains all the heat and compression generated by your car's engine. The goal of the head gasket is to seal all combustion chambers, coolant and oil passages between the head and block, making the head gasket one of the most critical gaskets in your engine. The head gasket is placed between the cylinder head and the engine block.
Various car manufacturers produce their own head gaskets for the particular makes of their automobiles. So whatever your car's needs are, there's a head gasket set just for you.
Time will come that your head gasket will leak or blow. Symptoms of these include coolant in the engine oil, engine oil in the coolant, and overheating. If the cause is overheating, the thermostat, radiator, water pump, and EGR system should be checked to determine why the engine got too hot.
Always remember, when your head gasket fails, a replacement head gasket should immediately be installed. Head gaskets fail due to various reasons, which includes the design of the engine or the gasket itself, installation errors, and as mentioned, overheating. Replacement should immediately be done before the radiator gets damaged further, as a damaged head gasket transfers cylinder heat and pressure to the cooling system, blowing up the radiator.
Cylinder Head Gasket
- The cylinder head gasket is a type of seal that you can find sandwiched between the two main parts of your engine—the cylinder or engine block and the cylinder head.
- Keep in mind that for you to access the head gasket, you’ll have to separate the head cylinder from the engine block first.
- The cylinder head gasket helps in making sure all fluids running in your engine don’t intermix as this can cause engine problems.
- Cylinder head gaskets also make sure that the engine has a steady amount of pressure needed to keep these fluids flowing at proper rates.
- Head gaskets are meant to withstand normal heat expansions and pressure from the rubbing of the cylinder head and cylinder block.
- The cylinder head gasket can fail in a number of ways but all failures will always direct to a leak. This leak can either be internal, external, or both.
- Once you put the head gasket in use, it undergoes extreme temperature changes so don’t reuse old head gaskets.
- OE cylinder head gaskets on CarParts.com are priced from $3 to $530.
Modern internal combustion engines have come a long way since the 1800s. With the advancements came new components that improved how engines perform, even giving them hundreds of additional horsepower. One component that’s often overlooked by some is the cylinder head gasket.
Are you having trouble with your car’s cylinder head gasket? Are you experiencing a leak that traces toward a blown cylinder head gasket? Fret no more. This guide will help you learn more about how you can deal with head gasket leaks, what causes them, and what you’re up against if it gets blown.
What is a cylinder head gasket?
The cylinder head gasket is a type of seal that you can find sandwiched between the two main parts of your engine—the cylinder or engine block and the cylinder head. It is one of your car’s vital gaskets designed to keep all fluids inside your engine from intermixing.
Removing it from installation should reveal a panel with large and small round holes. Each large hole is for the cylinders while the small ones are metering holes for the coolant. Keep in mind that for you to access the head gasket, you’ll have to separate the head cylinder from the engine block first.
What does the cylinder head gasket do?
As mentioned, the cylinder head gasket helps in making sure all fluids running in your engine don’t intermix as this can cause engine problems. However, there is more to the head gasket than segregating these fluids. It also makes sure that the engine has a steady amount of pressure needed to keep these fluids flowing at proper rates. Compression is important for your engine to perform in its optimal state.
Head gaskets are meant to withstand normal heat expansions and pressure from the rubbing of the cylinder head and cylinder block. This does not mean the head gasket is indestructible. Length of service and extreme engine conditions can weaken its structural integrity.
What causes cylinder head gasket failure?
The cylinder head gasket can fail in a number of ways but all failures will always direct to a leak. This leak can either be internal, external, or both. One of the common causes of a blown gasket is pre-ignition. A burst of pressure due to untimed combustion can cause stress to your head gasket, resulting in breakage.
Internal leaks are called compression leaks and depending on where this leak is happening, you may experience misfiring, coolant overheating, blow by, and coolant-oil intermixing. External leaks, on the other hand, will cause your oil or coolant level to drop, which may lead to engine overheating.
Symptoms of a blown cylinder head gasket
Here are some of the inconveniences you may face if your head gasket is in bad shape:
Drop in Coolant or Oil Level
A drop in the coolant or oil level is a clear indication of an exterior leak, meaning your head gasket is blown outside. You may check this by doing an all-around inspection of the engine block.
Bubbles on the Radiator and/or Reservoir Overflow
An internal leak can cause the coolant and oil to mix. On top of that, it can also introduce exhaust gases into the coolant lines. These bubbles are exhaust gases escaping the pool of coolant. Check your radiator cap or reservoir overflow if you suspect a compression leak.
Thick White Smoke from the Exhaust
Thick white smoke may indicate a compression leak where the coolant is leaking into the cylinders. The smoke is created when the coolant touches a hot surface and burns upon contact, causing it to instantly evaporate and get passed onto the exhaust pipes—hence, the thick white smoke.
Increase in Engine Temperature
Engine temperature may start to rise if there’s not enough coolant to absorb the heat. However, it can also happen if the coolant gets contaminated by oil, as this can ruin the cooling system of your car.
Foamy Oil Consistency Under the Oil Filler Cap
Oil should look glossy even if it’s darkening. Foam topping your oil is never a good sign. Water causes this foam formation when it gets mixed with oil as they travel at high rates of speed to and from the engine.
Other Cylinder Head Gasket FAQs
Below are frequently asked questions relating to cylinder head gaskets.
Can a cylinder head gasket be reused
Short answer: No. Don’t fall for the traps you read on forums. A group of users may tell you that they’ve successfully reused their head gaskets. Regardless of whether they’re telling the truth or not, once you put the head gasket in use, it undergoes extreme temperature changes.
Heat causes the gasket to expand. And while you may think it springs back to normal once your engine’s cooled, the expansion has already caused permanent changes with the structure of the head gasket.
What is a cylinder head gasket made of
There’s a wide range of materials used in manufacturing head gaskets, with steel being the most common. Other materials include cork, fiberglass, silicone, rubber, felt, polytetrafluoroethylene, and nitrile.
Does a cylinder head gasket set include camshaft seals
The answer is it depends on the brand. It may also include intake and exhaust manifold gaskets, oil pan gasket, spark plug seals, and more. You just have to look for the description and read what’s included in the set.
How long do cylinder head gaskets last
There’s no definite time as to how long head gaskets last. However, the thing is it’s designed to last as long as your engine’s functional. That is if the engine is running smoothly all the time. That’s the reason why regular maintenance is important.
How to replace cylinder head gasket
You’ll have to secure more than just the basic equipment and tools if you’re planning to replace the head gasket on your own. The process of removing the cylinder head is a tedious task. Let a certified mechanic do the job for you and save yourself from possible inconveniences.
How much is a cylinder head gasket?
OE cylinder head gaskets on CarParts.com are priced from $3 to $530. You can buy it in single pieces, in sets, or as part of a kit. Find the perfect fit for your vehicle by indicating its year, make, and model in the filter tab under the search menu. This feature will narrow down your search to all parts exclusive to your car.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Cylinder Head Gasket
Keep oil and other contaminants away from your cylinder head. Make sure it contains a durable cylinder head gasket.
Most old folks would say that some things are better kept inside. That's true especially in the case of your car's engine. Your engine needs a seal to ensure its contents would stay inside it while it is in operation. And to ensure a well-sealed engine, you should have a quality cylinder head gasket.
Cylinder head gaskets seal the area between the cylinder heads and the engine block. This seal ensures proper compression is to obtain efficient combustion. Also, sealing is needed to prevent oil and coolant leaks to maintain efficient engine operation. Once you have leaks in the engine, you lose power in your vehicle, increase the risk of engine overheating and premature damage to engine components. Seals might be a simple thing, but it goes a long way if you're talking about your engine.
Using a defective cylinder head gasket would only cause you problems. As said earlier, leaks can mean the end for your engine. If you think your engine is leaking out any kind of fluid like oil or coolant, you better have its gasket checked by a mechanic right away. This way, you can address the problem before it gets worse. Plus, you would have enough time to search for a replacement for your damaged gasket. So always keep your cylinder head gaskets in top form. If you need new ones, better get them immediately.
Cylinder Head Gasket: Just the Facts
When your vehicle's engine overheats, the cylinder head is likely to be damaged as well. And not only that! Excessive engine heat can also cause the cylinder head gasket to become bent and warped. And simple and plain as it may seem, a damaged cylinder head gasket, when damaged can bring more serious problems. Topping the list, your vehicle's engine can suffer compression loss, which can lead to power reduction. Also, exhaust gases will be forced into the cooling system, allowing motor oil to mix with the antifreeze. To prevent the entry of engine oil, coolant and air into the cylinder, make sure that your vehicle's cylinder head gasket is in perfect shape. If you need to replace your stock cylinder head gasket, search no further. CarParts.com can give you the cylinder head gasket that's perfect for your vehicle's engine.
• Securely seals the cylinders to ensure maximum compression
• Prevents leaking coolant and engine oil from entering the cylinder
• Designed to endure extreme heat and pressure
Cylinder Head Gasket: What Every Car Owner Should Know
Your vehicle's engine uses a variety of seals and gaskets to ensure smooth, contaminant-free engine operations. Perhaps the most important sealing application in the engine is the cylinder head gasket set. If your vehicle is equipped with a 6 or 8-cylinder engine, then your vehicle's engine comes with two cylinder head gaskets. The cylinder head gasket acts as a seal between the engine block and the engine's cylinders. By making the engine's cylinders airtight, the cylinder head gasket ensures maximum compression and prevents coolant or engine oil leakage into the cylinders. Cylinder head gaskets are usually designed to hold their own against high amounts of pressure and heat in the engine bay. Overheating, however, could ultimately render the cylinder head gasket set useless. Extreme heat could cause both the cylinder heads and the cylinder head gasket to warp and expand, resulting in leakage and pressure loss. When this happens, a premium cylinder head gasket set must be ready to replace the stock. To get the best cylinder head gasket set, shop only right here at CarParts.com. Here, you'll not only be satisfied by the product's quality, you'll be happy with the low prices, too.
• A cylinder head gasket set from us is designed to provide maximum clamping force.
• A topnotch cylinder head gasket set is also computer-engineered to fit virtually all engine applications.
• No matter what type of cylinder head gasket you want, you can definitely find it at our extensive online catalogs.
How to Pick the Best Cylinder Head Gasket for Your Vehicle
Even a simple seal can contribute to the smooth operations of the engine. This is proven by your cylinder head gasket. It functions by keeping the pressure from the spark plugs to stay intact in the combustion chamber. In addition, because of your cylinder head gasket, the oil and coolant that passes through the cylinder and the engine will not be mixed. Hence, it must always be well-maintained to avoid engine malfunctioning. So if you need a replacement, do not hesitate to buy a new one. Here are the things that you must look for in purchasing a cylinder head gasket:
Which cylinder head gasket is fit to be used for your vehicle?
You can opt for an original equipment (OE) replacement for your cylinder head gasket. This is because this type is durably made for your driving needs. Thus, you can surely rely on it; however, an OE-replacement cylinder head gasket does not carry the label of your manufacturer.
A direct fit type of cylinder head gasket is also recommended. This one is made to be easily attached on your vehicle without any necessary modification. However, you must make sure that the direct fit cylinder head gasket will surely be compatible with your vehicle.
What are the types of cylinder head gaskets that you must look for?
There are several types of cylinder head gaskets that are appropriate for different types of vehicles. The first one is the solid material gasket. This type is made from durable metals, which has a feature that resists high pressure and temperature. Hence, its life can be extended to a longer period of time. However, it has a higher price compared to other types of cylinder head gaskets.
There is also the sheet gasket, which is less expensive than the first one. It is made of asbestos or stringy graphite. However, it is susceptible to becoming brittle when it undergoes extreme pressure and severe changes in temperature.
Another type is the solid copper gasket, which is a recent design for automotive use. It is durably made from a copper sheet, which is made for direct fit.
The important thing to be considered in looking for the type of cylinder head gasket for your vehicle is its ability to cope up with the pressure and other changes brought by the operations of the engine.
How to Replace Your Cylinder Head Gasket
If there are vital components that you must thank for contributing to the smooth engine operations, your cylinder head gasket would definitely be on the list. It is responsible for sealing the cylinder heads to the engine block so that the pressure will not escape upon the engine. Moreover, it helps to dissipate heat from the continuous operations. However, it can fail over time and once this happens, other engine components can be affected. Hence, you must know how to replace your cylinder head gasket. These procedures can help you to have a successful installation of a new one:
Difficulty level: Moderate
Things you'll need:
- torque wrench
- automotive manual
- fresh coolant
- clean water
- new cylinder head gasket
Step 1: Detach the negative battery terminal as a safety measure. In this way, you can avoid any electric shocks or short circuits upon replacing your cylinder head gasket.
Step 2: Before you can remove your cylinder head gasket, you need to loosen bolts from several components. With the help of a wrench, locate and take off the bolts from the air intake hose and the air box, the compressor, the clamp from the water pump hose, and the alternator.
Step 3: After removing the relevant bolts, you may now have access to the cylinder head. In order to remove its gasket, you must consult your automotive manual for the pattern of your cylinder head's bolts.
Step 4: Once the old or damaged gasket is removed from the cylinder head, you may now attach the new one. Make use of a torque wrench in order to fasten the bolts for your new cylinder head gasket.
Step 5: Reinstall the bolts from the other components you have taken off to have access to the cylinder head. Make sure that each bolt is tightened enough to maintain the smooth operations of the engine components.
Step 6: Fill the cylinder with a 50-50 percent ratio of coolant and water. Turn the engine on afterwards in order to test its working condition with the new coolant.
Step 7: Put the cylinder head in its proper position on your new gasket. Attach your new cylinder head gasket then on its mounting frame in the engine block properly.
Step 8: Make sure that the bolts of your new cylinder head gasket are tightly secured with the help of a torque wrench.
Step 9: Reconnect the negative battery cable, and start the engine once again for testing.