Over time, your car’s head gasket can age and break down, resulting in a leak which could cause extensive engine damage.

Read on and find out more about head gasket leaks, how to check for one, and if you can drive with a leaking head gasket.


Is My Head Gasket Leaking?

When liquids and gases in the engine block leak into areas they aren’t supposed to be in, this is known as a head gasket leak.

Oil and coolant are not meant to leak into the cylinders. When your car’s head gasket is working well, it will keep these liquids separate.

However, as the head gasket is exposed to extreme temperatures and pressures, it can begin to deteriorate over time.

A leaking head gasket can, in turn, lead to a blown head gasket if you do not have the issue addressed by a professional mechanic soon.


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How Do I Check for a Head Gasket Leak?

You may smell a sweet scent coming from the exhaust if there is a leak in the combustion system.

Your engine may also overheat if the head gasket leaks coolant.

Coolant is a clear liquid with a coloured tinge to it – likely green, blue or yellow.

Unlike water, coolant has a slimy texture, so you should be able to identify it.

You can remove the spark plugs - if applicable to your model – and look for signs of oil and water.

If you notice oil and water on the plugs, this can be an indication of a faulty head gasket.

You can purchase a head gasket tester – a block tester – and place it in the water expansion tank with blue dye. If the dye changes to a green or yellow colour, this can indicate a combustion leak.

You should also look out for a white cloud of smoke coming from your exhaust - as opposed to clear smoke – which may be caused by excessive water vapour.


Why Is a Head Gasket Important?

Inside the engine block there are pistons and connecting rods that transform the force of expanding gases into mechanical power.

The cylinder head contains the valves and spark plugs, which are responsible for delivering the spark that ignites the mixture of air and fuel in the combustion chamber.

Your head gasket needs to seal the gaps to stop any leaks and prevent fluids from mixing inside the engine.

If these fluids mix, you could find yourself with engine failure.

This is why it is important to have your head gasket looked at if you think you have a leak.


How Much Does It Cost to Fix?

A head gasket repair in the UK can cost anywhere from £500 to upwards of £1,500.


Is a Head Gasket Leak Serious?

Yes, a head gasket leak is a serious issue which can cause major engine problems if left unchecked.


Can You Drive with a Leaking Head Gasket?

Whilst you can drive for some time with a leaking head gasket, you cannot drive with a blown head gasket.

This is because your car’s engine might not be able to generate significant compression, and oil and coolant may continue to leak.

If you continue to drive with a faulty head gasket, you will cause serious damage to the engine block.

You should have your leaking head gasket repaired by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. 


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We hope you have enjoyed learning about head gasket leaks.