Your car’s head gasket plays a vital role in the engine’s combustion process.

Helping to maintain engine power and prevent it from overheating, it is essential that you act quickly if you suspect the head gasket is failing.

Read on and find out what a head gasket is, what it does, and what happens when it goes.


What Is a Head Gasket?

A head gasket is a seal between the engine block and cylinder head, which prevents fluids such as the coolant and oil from coming into contact with one another.

By sealing the internal combustion chamber, the head gasket helps the fuel ignition process to run smoothly.

A blown head gasket means costly repairs, poor engine performance, and the possibility of the car overheating. 

Be sure to take care of your head gasket and book a replacement when needed.


Don't know your vehicle registration?
General Repair



Internal Combustion Chamber – Fuel and air are burned off inside the combustion chamber.

The chamber is made up of the cylinder head, cylinder walls and piston.

Cylinder Head – The cylinder head creates the combustion chamber by sealing the top of the cylinder.

It contains passageways which allow coolant and oil to travel safely.

Engine Block – The engine block houses the main parts of the internal engine.

This includes the crankshaft, cylinders and water cooling system.

The engine block is made from a strong metal, which gives it the ability to transfer heat from the combustion process over to the main cooling system.


What Does the Head Gasket Do?

As your car’s engine is split into two parts – the engine block and the cylinder head – your head gasket has a vital role to play in protecting the components that reside within these halves.

The cylinder head contains the valves and spark plugs.

The engine block contains pistons and connecting rods and is sealed to the cylinder head by the head gasket.


Where Is It Located?

Your car’s head gasket is located between the cylinder head and the engine block.

A mechanic will need to remove the cylinder head and other engine parts to gain access.

This is the most challenging part of a head gasket replacement, as the head gasket is buried deep within the engine.


What Is My Car's Head Gasket Made From?

Head gaskets can be made from a range of materials, including steel, copper and Elastomeric.

Multi-layer steel head gaskets are the hardest to install, but they provide a great deal of durability and thermal conductivity.

Copper is the material most often used in modern cars, but it is likewise not that easy to install.

Elastomeric head gaskets are made out of rubber or silicone. These are much easier to install but offer less durability overall.


What Is Head Gasket Sealer?

Head gasket sealer is a substance which you can pour into your radiator to seal small cracks in the head gasket.

This should only be seen as a temporary solution to the problem.

You must have head gasket issues looked at by a professional mechanic to properly fix the issue.


Don't know your vehicle registration?
General Repair


How Does a Head Gasket Become Faulty?

Head gasket failures tend to be caused by an overheating engine.

Other reasons for a faulty head gasket include:


What Happens When the Head Gasket Goes?

When the head gasket goes, pressure in the combustion chamber will be lost, and you will feel a significant loss of power.

If your head gasket blows, this could cause coolant to leak, meaning your engine is much more likely to overheat.


What Can Be Mistaken for a Blown Head Gasket?

The most common misdiagnoses of a blown head gasket are disappearing coolant and an engine that seems to be overheating for no apparent reason.

You may also notice a rough or poorly running engine, which you could easily misidentify as a blown head gasket.

To be certain, you must have your vehicle looked at by a professional mechanic.


Don't know your vehicle registration?
General Repair


What Happens During a Head Gasket Replacement?

As the head gasket is difficult to access, the mechanic first needs to remove the battery and the engine.

They will also drain off the engine oil and coolant.

The process can vary depending on the specific model in question.

The mechanic will then remove your old head gasket, cleaning and preparing the area so that the replacement head gasket can be fitted.

The new head gasket will be fitted, with sealer being used to close any small gaps.

The mechanic will also reassemble the engine and any related parts that were removed during the process.

This is a time-consuming process, and the labour costs can drive up the price.

Be sure to do all you can to keep your head gasket in good condition so that you can avoid any unnecessary repair costs.


Don't know your vehicle registration?
General Repair


We hope you have enjoyed learning about head gaskets.