– What is a cylinder head gasket?
– Cylinder head gasket failures: what are the risks?
– Cylinder head gasket failures: symptoms and replacement
The head gasket is one of the minor parts of an engine and one of the most important. Therefore, it is essential to keep it in excellent condition and not wait for an engine failure to change it if it shows fatigue signs. It is fundamental to understand the purpose of this small element of your car to understand the failures linked to a cylinder head gasket. This post will explain all that below.
What is a cylinder head gasket?
The engine that makes a car work works thanks to small explosions, which take place in the combustion chamber:
– However, so that the hot gases resulting from the explosion do not damage the mechanics of your car, the combustion chamber must be tight.
– This is where the cylinder head gasket comes in, as it simply seals the combustion chamber.
Because of this strategic position, the head gasket must withstand significant stresses:
Good to know: some old cars, like the Citroën 2CV, do not have a head gasket. This is explained by technical choices, the composition of the engine making the head gasket superfluous.
Cylinder head gasket failures: what are the risks?
If a head gasket is damaged, it is said to “snap.” This failure can have several consequences depending on where the gasket has failed:
– a loss of lubrication, and therefore an excessive consumption of engine oil;
– an abnormal loss of power;
Most seriously, the presence of coolant in the cylinder prevents the engine from running at all.
Good to know: most head gaskets were not made of rubber or plastic, but of asbestos, before the law prohibited using this material.
Head gasket failures: symptoms and replacement
A failed head gasket causes a chain reaction, the most visible symptoms of which are:
– a large amount of white smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe;
– engine overheating;
– a drop in the coolant level;
– or even a drop in engine oil.
In any case, replacing a head gasket is not a trivial operation and must follow a strict and time-consuming procedure.
Note: This explains why changing a head gasket is so expensive. So expensive that most people change their car if it is not already out of order after the breakdown.
Good to know:
– During a service or a visit to a garage, you may have to pay for spare parts yourself if they have to be changed and do not fall within the terms of the warranty you have chosen.
– You can also buy your spare parts cheaper on the Internet, but beware of scams…
Hope this post has helped you better understand a cylinder head gasket, so if ever a mechanic talks about this issue, you’ll be able to grasp what he is talking about!
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