Will Car Start with Blown Head Gasket?

Head gaskets sit between the cylinder head and the engine block. It keeps the engine oil and the coolant inside the engine separately from mixing. It also ensures that motor oil and the coolant pass through their galleries without entering the combustion chamber.

If the head gasket blows, it will present some ugly situations. Such ugly situations are the car will easily overheat, mixed coolant and oil, visible white smoke from the exhaust pipe, and rough idle. It may also give some starting issues.

This article will answer the question, ‘will a car start with a blown head gasket?’ We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions regarding the subject.

Will Car Start With Blown Head Gasket

This question is a significant concern for many motorists and those who want to purchase a vehicle. It is a critical question considering the effects of head gasket failure in a vehicle. Will a car with a bad head gasket?

A failed head gasket will not stop your vehicle from starting. As mentioned above, it provides seals between the cylinder head and engine block. If it fails to provide this seal and coolant and water floods badly into the combustion chamber, it’ll prevent the car from starting.

How To Start A Car With A Blown Head Gasket

A car with a blown head gasket will lose combustion pressure. This means the engine will run rough and may experience other operating issues.

Start your car in the usual way. If it fails to start, try it the second and third time. It should start at this time. But if it fails to start, allow the car to cool down before starting it. I bet the car will be running by now if there are no other pending issues.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket?

A blown head gasket will notify the driver by presenting many signs, which can aid in diagnosis. The effects of these signs vary greatly depending on how bad the head gasket is. Here are some of the signs of a blown head gasket.

The following are the head gasket symptoms you should watch out for.

White smoke

If a blown head cylinder gasket allows coolant to creep into the combustion chamber, the vehicle will probably emit white smoke.

This comes from a burnt coolant during the combustion cycle, and the system exports it through the exhaust tailpipe.

Coolant lost

If your coolant level continually drops without visible leaks, you may have a faulty head gasket.

There’s a tendency that the coolant is creeping into the combustion and burnt in the process. It can also leak into the engine fluid.

Milky coolant

As mentioned above, coolant can mix with the motor oil. Once the head gasket is burnt and allows the engine oil and coolant to mix, the coolant and the engine oil will change color. You’ll notice milky substances in the engine oil and radiator.

Visible coolant or oil leaks

In some cases, a blown head gasket will cause visible oil or coolant leaks. You’ll likely see the leaks between the head cylinder and the engine block. The oil leaks can make their way to the exhaust tailpipe.

In rare situations, some bubbles will accompany these leaks, as a small amount of compression is also purged.

Engine overheating issue

Head gasket issues lead to engine overheating. However, several other reasons like faulty water pump, bad radiator, and lousy thermostat can lead to overheating.

The escape of combustion gases into the coolant reservoir can also lead to engine overheating.

Poor engine performance

If a compromised head gasket causes a compression pressure leak, it’ll cause a loss of engine power. This is especially true when a head gasket leaks between the edges of two sleeves and escapes through open valves.

Fouled or wet spark plugs

If the head gasket is compromised and allows water or gets into the cylinders, it’ll wet or foul the spark plugs. 

What Causes Head Gasket To Fail?

Engine overheating

It is proper to keep your coolant at the recommended level at all times. This will help prevent catastrophic head gasket failure. But even when you fill the coolant and maintain the proper level, overheating can occur and blow the head gasket.

Cracked or warped cylinder head or block

An overheated engine can crack or warp due to the excess heat in the system. This can affect how the head gasket seals the engine and prevents overheating. This mostly happens on aluminum engines.

Aging

The head gasket can break over time and fail to properly seal the engine and leak. It’s best to replace it when the manufacturer says you should do so or before it gets to that mileage. 

Improper installation

If your head gasket fails after replacing it or working on engine components that involve removing it, there’s a chance the mechanic did not reinstall it properly. Internal and external leaks can become a bigger problem.

How To Fix Blown Head Gasket Without Replacing It

Replacing the head involves separating the engine block apart from the head cylinder. You’ll need to disconnect some electrical components, remove the timing cover and head bolts, take off the timing chains or belt, and many other components.

This takes several hours and requires an experienced mechanic to carry out the task. You may ask, can I fix the blown head gasket without replacing it?

Considering the blown head gasket repair cost because of the hours of work involved, it is not always worth replacing the head gasket if it is not fully blown. Instead of spending several hours removing the lousy gasket, use a head gasket sealer.

I recommend using BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer. BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer is a non-particulate, formulated gasket sealer that seals gasket leaks. It has stood the test of time. It is safe, easy to use, and guaranteed to stop gasket leaks.

Get a can and read the instructions on it. Follow the instructions on the can, which direct you on how to pour the sealer into the coolant reservoir.

FAQs

How much does it cost to fix a blown head gasket?

Repairing a blown head gasket is not work for amateurs. The gasket and the labor charges will cost you around $1,000 to $2,000. The repair price can go as high as $2k when there are other components to repair or replace.

Sometimes, the repair cost may be more than the car’s value. It’s best to compare the value of the car and the repair cost before proceeding with the repair.

Can you drive a car with a blown head gasket?

While a blown head gasket will not stop you from driving at the initial stage, do not drive with it. A blown head gasket can cause several engine problems. The oil and coolant may mix, and coolant creep into the combustion chamber through the Piston rings and causes severe damage. It can also lead to engine overheating.

Will a blown head gasket ruin an engine?

If you notice the signs of a blown head gasket and fix it on time, it won’t cause significant damage to the engine. Luckily, the symptoms of a blown head gasket are easy to identify.

How hard is a head gasket repair?

Yes, a head gasket is inexpensive. However, it requires an experienced mechanic to do the job. It’ll take pro-DIYer several hours to access the head gasket. Then you have to find the cause of the damage. What if it is a cracked or warped cylinder head or block? You can’t fix it at home. Therefore, it’s important to leave the job for experienced mechanics.

Final Words

Looking at the effects and dangers of a blown head gasket, you’d be proactive to determine the signs and fix them at the initial stage. Always check your coolant levels before going for that early morning drive.

At this juncture, you won’t be asking, ‘will a car start with a blown head gasket?’ It can prevent your car from starting, but that’s not always the case.

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