3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Keep Driving with a Faulty Head Gasket

The head gasket is one of the most vital components in your car. You'll find it between the engine block and cylinder head - it essentially creates a seal between them. Its main job is to keep compressed air and fuel within the cylinder, but it is also responsible for keeping coolant and oil out of the combustion chamber.

Unfortunately, gasket heads can start to leak, eventually resulting a blown gasket head. Many people simply keep driving, but there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn't.

Here are just three.

1. Coolant Can Leak Away

A leaking head gasket will allow coolant to escape from your car's engine. Coolant, as you might have guessed, is required to keep your engine from overheating, so rapid overheating is one of the most common symptoms of a faulty head gasket. If you keep driving when your engine isn't properly able to cool itself, you're risking damage to a myriad of very expensive parts. The remaining coolant can even heat up, and the heat can get high enough to start a fire in some cases.

2. Coolant Can Enter the Combustion Space

Any kind of coolant leak is a cause for concern, but it's far more serious if that coolant leaks into the combustion space. When it gets inside, it can burn against the spark plugs and leave them fouled. Air fuel ratios can be changed and sensors damaged due to the presence of coolant in the combustion space, and the liquid can even result in rusting across the cylinder wall, piston ring, and piston. Such damage will significantly reduce compression and almost certainly require an expensive engine rebuild or replacement.

3. Coolant Can Enter the Oil

Finally, coolant can seep into the motor oil. When that happens, the oil isn't able to lubricate the moving parts of your engine as effectively, which naturally causes wear across several key components. You'll be able to discern whether your motor oil has become contaminated with coolant by removing the oil cap and looking for a milky ring around the bottom.

A head gasket is unlikely to blow straight away. Instead, you should notice your coolant level drop slightly and white smoke clouding out from your tailpipe. If you think you might have a faulty head gasket, make sure you avoid the damage detailed above by bringing your car into a mechanic as soon as possible. Doing so could save a lot money in the long run.