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Can you still drive a car with a blown head gasket?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 11 months ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Repair
Head Gasket

While many drivers will be aware of the head gasket, few probably know what it does or what happens if it breaks. Will it need repairing urgently? Can you still drive if it has blown, and if so, how long for? If you've ever wondered about these things, we're here to help.

Your car’s head gasket can be found in between the engine block and cylinder. Its function is to retain the compressed air and fuel inside the cylinder in order for it to be transformed into energy. It also works to keep both the coolant and the oil out of the combustion chamber.

A blown head gasket means that these once contained gases or fluids have escaped into places that they shouldn’t be. These escaped fluids and gases are where the biggest danger of driving with a blown head gasket lies.


Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket

  • Coolant in the oil.

  • Overheating engine.

  • Corrosion on surface of head gasket indicate a leak.

  • Coolant on top of a spark plug.

  • White smoke coming from the exhaust.

  • External leak; coolant or oil.

  • Radiator constantly needs to be topped up.

  • Increased engine running temperature.

  • Bubbles in the radiator and reservoir flow.

  • The oil under the fuel cap has a milky discolouration that resembles mayonnaise.


So….Can you Still Drive Car with a Blown Head Gasket?

Whether you can and whether you should are two very different things. For your own safety and the safety of your passengers, we would strongly recommend not driving if your head gasket has blown.

If you start to encounter any of the symptoms described above, you should seek mechanical assistance as soon as you can.

It can be tempting to put repairs off due to fears around the costs. However, putting off the repair could lead to extensive damage to your car’s other components and the engine at large, including parts like the catalytic converter, which will cost a lot more than a simple head gasket repair.

Get instant prices for head gasket repair at garages near you.