Why Does the Engine Lose Coolant When the Head Gasket Cracks?

The head gasket sits on top of the cylinder block and serves two functions. First, it seals off the block so that compression can build up inside of it. This compression helps the engine produce combustion. Second, it creates a seal over the cylinder block so that the coolant and motor oil cannot leak into the cylinders. Consequently, Urb’s Garage advises that if the head gasket cracks, the seal is broken and coolant leaks out of the engine into each cylinder in the cylinder block. A low coolant level is just one sign that you’ve got a blown head gasket underneath the hood. Here are other signs.

Overheating All the Time

Naturally, because the engine loses coolant, the temperature will start to rise. The engine needs the right amount of coolant circulating through it in order for the temperature to stay under 220 degrees Fahrenheit. If the engine is leaking coolant into the cylinder block, it will overheat every time that you drive your automobile. Adding coolant to the engine will not solve the problem because this coolant will also leak into the cylinder block. You need to replace the head gasket.

Coolant That Begins to Boil

In fact, the engine can get so hot that you can cause additional damage to it if you continue to drive your automobile. One of the things that can happen is the coolant that remains in the engine can start to boil. This causes unnecessary pressure in the radiator that will blow the radiator cap. Continuing to drive your automobile when the engine is overheating can also crack the cylinder block.

White Engine Exhaust Smoke

As we have already mentioned, when the head gasket cracks, the coolant will leak into the cylinders. When it is in each cylinder, it will mix with the fuel and oil and burn away when the spark plugs ignite the mixtures. Anytime coolant is burned in the engine, the engine will release white exhaust smoke out of the tailpipe. This white color is distinctive to burning coolant.

Milky-White Motor Oil

Finally, it is not only dangerous to drive your engine when it is running too hot. A cracked head gasket is also going to mix the motor oil and coolant together. This dilutes the oil and inhibits its ability to protect the engine as it circulates through it. This can damage the engine to the point that it cannot be repaired.

Urb’s Garage in Burlington or Erlanger, KY, would be happy to help, so call us today to set up a service visit for your automobile. Have the vehicle towed if you believe the head gasket is blown.

Photo by skhoward from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

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