The reason of a puffy head gasket can likewise be due to a production defect or just high mileage. Some vehicle engines to be poorly designed where the head gasket falls short from common operation and also not early to any other causes. 


Common indicators that you have actually a puffy head gasket include:

Engine overheating

Overheating can be brought about by a swollen head gasket. The engine"s heat can obtain so high that it melts the head gasket, deforms the cylinder head, and also can additionally cause a crack in the engine block. This causes the coolant come leak into the burning chamber or mix with oil. As soon as this happens, you shed coolant. If there is no more coolant in the engine, the engine won"t cool down. Just like a swollen head gasket can cause overheating, overheating can also blow her head gasket. 

Low coolant

When the head gasket fails, it will allow the coolant come escape when the engine it s okay hot. Thus if friend are including coolant constantly, there is a great chance the you have actually a puffy head gasket. 

Bubbles in the radiator

If you eliminate the radiator cap (only in ~ startup, never when the engine is hot), girlfriend will notification bubbles comes up. If the engine is hot, don"t eliminate the radiator cap, or you will get melted by the hot coolant. Instead, you can use caution and remove the overflow reservoir cap and check because that bubbles there. That"s much safer than remove the radiator cap once the engine is hot. 

Milky oil color

A swollen head gasket allows coolant come mix v oil, causing the oil come look milky. If you check the oil, girlfriend will discover that the oil is milky or white-looking in color. Inspect the oil via the dipstick and not by looking at the oil cap. Vehicles the make brief trips will regularly have white oil under the oil cap because of condensation mixing through oil in ~ the cap. Water and oil mixing under the oil lid don"t constantly mean the head gasket is blown. 

You can still have actually a swollen head gasket but no evidence of coolant mixing v oil or the "milky" white oil. That"s because the head gasket can fail in a way that only permits the coolant to gain into the burning chamber or leak come the external of the engine and never mix with oil. 

Other symptoms of a negative head gasket encompass the rough idle and, the course, no start or intermittent starting. 

Just due to the fact that you are experiencing one or 2 of these symptoms doesn"t necessarily average that you have a puffy head gasket, as there might be other difficulties causing comparable symptoms.

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Before you decision to change the head gasket, that is necessary to perform suitable testing.

Do a compression test or have actually an auto mechanic diagnose the problem. 

How to inspect for a blown Head Gasket

You can"t diagnose a negative head gasket through looking in ~ the head gasket unless you remove the cylinder head. There are simpler and far better ways to examine for a puffy head gasket.

Check Coolant

One that the easiest means to check for a swollen head gasket is to turn on a flashlight and point it at the coolant overflow reservoir. Do you see any bubbles? Watch this video to watch it in action. 

Yes, the is a puffy head gasket. 

You deserve to perform a couple of other checks without any kind of tools to check out if you blew your head gasket. If girlfriend aren"t sure if the head gasket is blown, you can perform pressure testing using one Engine press Test Gauge, which us will talk about below. 

To verify the you have actually a blown head gasket, we first look in ~ the symptoms to check out if you are experiencing 2 or more. 

Check for bubbles in the radiator.

Let the engine cool down totally only if the engine is cold open the radiator. Do not open the radiator cap if the engine is tho hot.

Startup the engine and also rev increase the engine to 1500 RPMs. Do you see any kind of bubbles comes up? 


Check exhaust 

If the coolant is gaining into the combustion chamber as result of a swollen head gasket, it will certainly burn through the gasoline and also cause the exhaust gases to have a white color and an inexplicable "sweet" smell. 

Check oil color


To execute a compression test, girlfriend will require a compression check gauge. You will must remove the engine cover, which is easy, the ignition coils, and the spark plugs.

Install the gauge right into the spark plug hole and see what push reading you get. A healthy engine should gain a push reading of well over 100 psi in every cylinders.

If you have pressure under 100 psi, you most likely have actually a swollen head gasket. Friend may additionally have a blown head gasket if the press difference in between two cylinders varies substantially by more than 10 PSI. 

If the head gasket hasn"t failed near the cylinders, yet in various other parts, you might get great compression but yet notice oil mixing with antifreeze. 

If your inspect engine light is on, make certain to review the password and resolve them as well. In a couple of cases, an engine v timing troubles may be advanced too much to the point that the valves don"t fully close once the piston get the top dead facility (TDC). Not really common, however it"s essential to keep in mind. 

Can I usage a sealer to resolve my blown head gasket? 


The Head gasket sealer may have the ability to fix a puffy head gasket temporarily. Over there are plenty of DIY head gasket sealer kit out there.

Keep in mind the If the head gasket is damaged past repair, no head gasket sealer will be able to fix it.

Two that the best-rated head gaskets kit are: 

The BlueDevil head gasket sealer has been about for a lengthy time, and also if you execute a rapid search, girlfriend will uncover a the majority of positive reviews around it. Note that the BlueDevil head gasket sealer calls for removing the thermostat and completely flushing the cooling system. 

Bars head gasket fix is also an excellent head gasket sealer. It has plenty of positive evaluate and, most importantly, doesn"t need the thermostat come be gotten rid of or the cooling mechanism to it is in flushed. 

It is necessary to realize that the earlier you address the overheating issue, the greater chance you have actually of the head gasket sealer come work. 

Do head gasket repair additives work? 

Note that there is no guarantee of just how long a head gasket sealer will last. Together a fix might last a week, or it deserve to last numerous years.

In ours opinion, a DIY head gasket fix is still worth trying since a bottle of BlueDevil or Bar"s Leaks solve is a lot of cheaper than replacing the head gasket.

Don"t expect a head gasket sealer to occupational every solitary time. Often car owners wait as well long before they try a head gasket sealer, at which allude the damage is non-reservable, the cylinder head has warped, or the engine block has actually cracked. 

How lot does it price to repair a swollen head gasket?

The usual cost to resolve a blown head gasket different from $1000-$1300. The yes, really price to fix a swollen head gasket different by make and model and the hours required to replace the head gasket.

It may cost as lot as $5,000 or $6,000 to repair the head gasket on particular vehicles. Don"t it is in shocked if you got a man expensive quote for a head gasket repair. Instead of the head gasket is a very labor-intensive job.

The head gasket component is cheap and also usually only costs between $100 and also $300. Instead of the head gasket can take everywhere from 5 hrs to 20 hrs of labor or also more.

In some cases, through V6, V8, and V12, the engine might need come be gotten rid of from the engine bay to repair the head gasket. That"s why you an alert that numerous mechanics in her don"t also want to carry out a head gasket repair.

They won"t call you that directly, yet once girlfriend ask as soon as they obtain to repair your head gasket, they will frequently say they room too liven at the minute or are booked for several weeks.

Replacing the head gasket you yourself will cost you approximately $200 come $400. Instead of the head gasket would be taken into consideration a difficult job.

Six and eight-cylinder engines room more difficult than four-cylinder engines. A skilled home mechanic should adjust the head gasket themselves within a couple of job if you have the appropriate tools.

Make sure you have a shop repair hands-on on exactly how to readjust the head gasket on your car. In part cases, it may make an ext sense to fully replaced the engine through a offered engine rather of do the efforts to fix the puffy head gasket. 

Can friend drive with a swollen head gasket? 

It is not recommended to drive v a swollen head gasket uneven you know specifically how the head gasket has actually failed.

If it only enables oil, coolant come leak from the engine to the exterior, you have the right to drive the as lengthy as you store topping those fluids every day. If the failure is in between oil, coolant passages, and also the burning chamber, girlfriend shouldn"t drive the car. 

Do no drive a automobile that has actually a puffy head gasket and also is overheating. You will cause much more damage to the engine to the suggest that the may end up being dangerous or the engine have the right to seize up.

If you have a blown head gasket, you may ask yourself how long will certainly my auto last with a blown head gasket.

If you journey a car with a puffy head gasket, girlfriend may have actually a running vehicle for only a few more minutes. Prevent driving a auto if friend think it has a puffy head gasket. 

Is a blown head gasket precious fixing?

If your car has to be diagnosed v a swollen head gasket, you should look at your options. If you acquired a quote to get it repaired because that $800-$1200, you might have come bite the bullet and also get it fixed if your car is worth numerous thousand dollars.

If the quote is over $2000, think about replacing the engine through a used one.

Typically friend can discover a supplied engine for roughly 500-1000; check prices on a supplied engine.

If you have actually an older auto diagnosed with a swollen head gasket, in some cases, it may not be worth fixing. The expense of head gasket repair might be much higher than the price that the vehicle itself. A head gasket sealer might be your just hope yet don"t intend it to work miracles every time or last forever.


A blown head gasket can be challenging to diagnose and also even harder to repair. 

The symptom of a swollen head gasket vary and also aren"t constantly the same. You may notification the lose of power. Girlfriend may have a blown head gasket but not establish it together there is no coolant mixing v oil or leaking oil.

You may have actually a swollen head gasket between cylinders, which might be tough to diagnose, and also the only symptoms may be an engine misfire.

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The head gasket may fail so that the engine transforms over, but it won"t begin or struggles to start. A puffy head gasket deserve to keep your car from starting. As soon as you have a blown head gasket, girlfriend may have actually no heat, no white smoke, no start, no examine engine light, or also no overheating in some cases.

Get a second opinion from your auto mechanic or your dealer if you space in doubt.