Why Did My Head Gasket Blow?

Your car’s head gasket seals the combustion chamber from oil and coolant passages between the cylinder head and block. Problems with your engine can cause it to fail. In this blog, we take a deep dive into the reasons behind head gaskets blowing and what you can do about it.

What Does A Head Gasket Do?


The head gasket fits between the top of the engine (the cylinder head) and the block. It creates a seal between the combustion chamber and the coolant and oil passages. The combustion chamber sees very high pressure during the power stroke.

If the seal fails, the head gasket is ‘blown.’ Depending on where the head gasket has blown, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Loss of power or misfiring (decreased pressure in the combustion chamber)
  • A milky residue in the coolant (from the oil and water mixing)
  • Coolant in the oil pan
  • Engine overheating (coolant leaking out from the blown gasket and burning in the combustion chamber)

Issues That Can Cause Your Head Gasket To Blow

A blown head gasket is a serious issue. If not repaired immediately, damage to the engine will be severe. If repaired right away, it may be possible to save the engine with minimal expense. The cost of the damage will come down to what caused the head gasket to blow in the first place.

Reasons Your Head Gasket May Blow

  • Pre-ignition causing excess pressure in the combustion chamber. Replacing the head gasket without addressing this underlying issue may cause it to blow again.
  • Engine overheating from a failed cooling system. The engine components may warp or expand to the extent that the head gasket can no longer maintain its seal.
  • Poor installation from: Insufficiently or overly tightened cylinder head bolts, incorrectly applied head gasket sealer, or failing to clean block and cylinder head surfaces properly.
  • Normal wear and tear. Head gaskets can fail on older cars and ones with high mileage.
  • Poor engine design. There have been engines made in the last 20 years in which OEM head gaskets were not of high enough quality to last a long time. These are typically turbocharged engines.
  • Engine modifications. If an engine is turbocharged, many people will increase the power output by increasing the boost pressure. The extra pressure can cause the head gasket to fail.

Is the underlying cause of your head gasket blowing engine related? Then that issue will have to be fixed before fitting a new head gasket.

Did it blow due to poor head gasket installation or simple wear and tear? You may be able to get away with a replacement head gasket if no engine damage was caused. Check out the video above for a review of a blown head gasket on a Ford 5.4-litre engine.

Powertrain Products Has The Solution For Your Engine Problems

Has your engine suffered a catastrophic failure, warped its head, or just done too many miles? No problem. Powertrain Products has a replacement motor for your vehicle. We stock a huge range of over 3000 rebuilt and used engines.

All our remanufactured engines are fully assembled and updated to correct any factory faults. We offer up to a 7-year million-mile warranty. And can deliver to most of the continental US in 1-3 days. Need a few more parts for your vehicle? We’re also the nation’s leading supplier of differentials, transmissions, and transfer cases.

Contact us at 888-842-0023 or leave us your details online. Our friendly staff will help get you a replacement engine in no time.

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