How to Fix a Blown Head Gasket without Replacing it – The RIGHT Way!

Having a blown head gasket can make you scratch your head, especially when you don’t know the basics of mechanical repairs. But that’s ok. Emergencies can make you learn anything, trust me.

If you suspect you messed up the head gasket, just know that we have your back. In fact, you may have more options than you think. Repairing a head gasket may look tricky, but it’s not. But don’t take it easy, either. It can soak up your time and energy. So if you are ready to fix it yourself, you need to go through our ‘how to fix a blown head gasket without replacing it’ guide in the following.

No matter how strongly you want, we cannot let you pay thousands of dollars just to fix a blown head gasket. You may use the same amount to get a new sound system for your vehicle.

Summary:

Most blown head gaskets are repairable without taking your car to the repair shop. If your car heats up after driving for 15 minutes straight, you may have a combustion gas leakage. Grab a sealant and follow the steps in the following to fix your blown head gasket.

What is a Head Gasket?

A head gasket plays a vital role in a car’s engine. It is used as a covering shield between two surfaces of different materials. It helps stops liquid and gas leakages in a car. That’s its main purpose; other attributes include anti-vibration, increased hygiene, and sound reduction.

Gaskets can be of different flat materials like embossed steel, graphite, high-temperature fiber materials, rubber, cork, ceramic composite, interface materials, and other metals. It must be replaced and put on back during mechanical repairs.

What is the Function of a Gasket?

 As stated earlier, a gasket’s main purpose is to cover the convergence between two fixed surfaces. Other important properties include

  • prevent leakages
  • ensuring engine reach their maximum potential
  • promoting an efficient and consistent performance
  • preventing damage to surrounding components
  • Create eco-friendly operations
  • Slow down wear and tear of the surface they are used to seal

Why Do Head Gaskets Blow?

Diagnosing what happened to your gasket is essential, especially when you are dealing with the problem all by yourself. Usually, a perforated or blown head gasket occurs due to overheating.

Head gaskets’ job is pretty much stressful, due to which they are under incredible pressure, making them prone to failure. It can be potentially catastrophic as far as car performance is concerned.

The two main reasons a car’s head gasket fails include

  1. Combustion gases leak out
  2. A coolant leak in

If the car’s combustion gases leak out, it declines the overall engine’s performance. Similarly, if the coolant leaks in, the engine will overheat as the coolant will not be whirling around the cooling system to maintain its temperature. Hence, you have a blown gasket.

How to Fix a Blown Head Gasket without Replacing it?

Coming back to the main point, how to fix a blown gasket without replacing it? Well, we tried our best to bring you the best possible repair options to save your run to the mechanic.

So, how do we repair a blown head gasket? First, no, you don’t have to disassemble and reassemble the car’s engine to fix your gasket. In fact, you need to have some chemical sealant products, and your job will be done in a few steps. You can use that sealant to seal the head gasket’s leaking parts and fix it without replacing it.

What is a Head Gasket Sealer?

In layman’s terms, a head gasket sealer is a chemically formulated compound used to seal leaking components of a metallic surface. Sealants are widely available in the US and come in different qualities and price ranges. Some popular options for sealers include: Steel Seal, Blue Devil, K-Seal, etc. all of them come in liquid form and are sold in gallons.

You can easily grab a good quality sealer from online platforms like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc. they are also readily available at your local auto repair shops. The best thing about these sealants is that they are extremely easy to use. You just need to pour them into your car’s radiator, and it will stream with the coolant to the gasket and seal the affected parts.

That said, some head gasket damages are difficult to fix at home. Pouring a sealant would not be enough to bring them back to working normally. In such cases, we would recommend considering your replacement options. The sealant can buy you some time until you strike a good deal with the replacement.

4 Steps to Apply Head Gasket Sealers

Here is a method to use head gasket sealers so that you know in which direction you need to work to fix it.

Step 1:

Get a good head gasket sealer, preferably Steal Seal or Blue Devil, from a local repair shop or an online store (as per your convenience)

Step 2:

Open your car’s hood and pour the sealant into the radiator and let it mix with the coolant.

Step 3:

Ignite the engine to start the car and let it idle for about an hour.

Step 4:

The sealant would flow with the coolant in the meantime and fix the blown components.

That’s all you have to do. See, wasn’t it surprisingly easy?!

Note: While looking for the sealant, you must keep in mind the size of your engine as that way, only you can get the perfect compound for your engine. Typically, sealants work for small engines rather than large ones. Lastly, if you still face the same blown head gasket issue after using the sealer, you might need to replace it.

How to Replace a Blown Head Gasket at Home?

We totally understand that you didn’t search for it, but if the above method doesn’t work out for you, then, unfortunately, you need to go for a replacement. And since replacing a head gasket at an auto repair shop would dent your wallet, we have come up with a much more affordable alternative: doing it yourself at home.

Step 1 – Disconnect the Battery Cables

Regardless of what car model and engine you have, replacing a head gasket are the same for all vehicles. That said, if your car’s engine has an overhead camshaft, you might face a little complication in carrying out the process. So coming back to the topic. First, you need to remove the battery cables, which is important because it will ensure you don’t have any sparking during the process. This will also avert you from accidentally igniting the engine while it’s disassembled.

Step 2 – Drain the Coolant

In the next step, you have to drain the coolant which surrounds your car’s head and engine block. Remove the coolant with the help of the block drain and radiator.  If you don’t drain the coolant, you will end up with water in your engine oil.

Step 3 – Dislodge Electrical Components

Next, you need to disconnect any electrical connections hindering removing the head, like injector clips, temperature sensors, coils, spark plug wires, and other wires connected over the head.

Step 4 – Detach the intake and Exhaust Manifolds

In this step, you may need to remove lots of intakes and exhaust piping. Don’t rush. It’s slightly complicated so take your time. We aim to remove as much as possible to get you more space to work.

Tip: Once you remove the intake and exhaust manifolds, you have to separate your timing belt if your car has an overhead camshaft. Those whose cars don’t have it can simply skip this step.

Step 5 – Remove the Cylinder Head

Now we need to give all the attention to removing the cylinder head. For that, remove the valve covers and head bolts. Now loosen the valves to separate the push rods first. Once you remove the head, it’s essential to look for any cracks and neaten them before placing the new head gasket.

Step 6 – Put everything back together

In the last step, you need to assemble everything you disassembled in the previous steps. And you are good to go!

Fortunately, not every case of a blown head gasket is a dent in your wallet. If your vehicle can run straight for 15 minutes without overheating, you don’t need to replace your head gasket, some chemical repair products, also called sealers, will do the job. What they basically do is, seal the leaking parts without requiring you to dissemble your engine.

Will a Car still run with a Blown Head Gasket?

Are you planning to drive your car with a blown gasket? Then you must gear up for further car troubles. Technically you can drive with failed or blown head gasket, but we would not recommend so. Get a sealant and seal the linking parts before it cause your vehicle further damage.

Conclusion

A blown head gasket is not the end of your car. In fact, your car is still drivable with a blown head gasket. However, the damage it causes to non-lubricant bearings and the overheating problem can cost your car its engine. Therefore, it’s advisable to use sealant in the early stages, and if the problem persists, seek professional advice to get it repaired before it affects the other parts of your car.

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