Head Gasket

What is Head Gasket?

The head gasket is one of the hardest but most important things in a car engine. The gasket is located between the engine block and the cylinder head, in addition to withstanding various temperatures, it also supports high and low-pressure levels. This seals the combustion gases into the engine and prevents coolant from entering which cools the engine cylinders.

In addition to sealing the combustion section of the engine for circulating oil and coolant, the cylinder head gasket also covers the combustion chamber of the engine. This allows the vehicle to generate enough energy to advance and prevent harmful combustion gases from escaping from the combustion chamber via the exhaust system. Modern car head cushions are combined with several layers of steel and elastomeric materials, making them more resistant and durable. Vehicles built in the past were equipped with graphite or asbestos washers. Conversely, washers today are better because they leak more easily and have almost no health risk than asbestos gaskets.

The cylinder head gasket is an integral part of the petrol engine. The cylinder head gasket ensures that the pressure generated by the spark plug, which ignites the fuel vapors, remains in the combustion chamber. The combustion chamber contains the piston and requires high pressure to ensure that the piston continues to ignite normally. Engine oil and coolant also have the same functions, but cannot be mixed together for efficiency. The head gasket keeps the chamber insulated to ensure there is no fluid contamination.

What Causes a Head Gasket to Blow?

The most common cause of cracked or damaged head gasket is usually engined overheating. High engine temperatures are often due to a lack of coolant in the radiator, which is usually due to a leak. Depending on the material, some joints can weaken faster than others. For example, aluminum expands faster when it heats up. Metals are more sensitive to heat with higher thermal expansion rates. Higher temperatures can cause objects to deform, which can lead to undesirable results. Expansion and deformation of the cylinder head due to heat weakens its integrity and prevents the cylinder head gasket from sealing.

When the head gasket is damaged, it is important to fix the problem immediately. Continued use of a vehicle with a broken head gasket can cause serious and irreparable damage to the engine. Since the washer is used as a gasket, maintaining pressure is key to engine power. When the washer explodes, it can no longer act as a seal, releasing pressure and greatly reducing engine power. This is one of the few signs that the cylinder head gasket is exploding. Also, the oil and cooling lines may start leaking in areas where there shouldn’t be leaks. As coolant enters the combustion chamber, it mixes and dilutes the engine oil, further reducing the cooling capacity of the cooling system, which can cause the engine to overheat.

What are the symptoms of a cylinder head gasket malfunction?

The most common symptoms of a head gasket are:

White or milky white oil: As the coolant seeps into the oil and the two are mixed together, the milky white liquid will be visible on the oil bar or around the engine fill cap.

White exhaust Smoke: When refrigerant flows into the combustion chamber, it burns/evaporates and turns into white smoke.

Loss of Power: – Perforated head gasket reduces the pressure in the combustion chamber reducing engine power.

Water or sweat smell from exhaust: This could be due to a leak in the ignition system

Engine Overheating – If the coolant cylinder head gasket leaks, the engine could easily overheat.

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