In today’s time, modern vehicles are manufactured with an engine block and cylinder head bolted on top, which makes the head gasket a critical seal.
What is a head gasket?
The head gasket purpose is for sealing, the cylinders so that we obtain maximum compression from it. Hence it is an important component of the engine, which can be located between the engine and the cylinder head.
These gasket for cars can be used for a lot of other purpose as well.
The gasket performs the task and should be able to maintain the sealing and prevent the leakage between the crucial car engine parts when it is being exposed to compression processes. The head gasket of a car is exposed to many other elements.
Why is a head gasket important?
Before we dive straight into the functionalities or important parts of the head gasket, first let’s understand the working and building of an internal combustion engine. The internal combustion engine is just like an air pump. The intake air charge is pulled in and exhaust gases are pushed out of it.
Most important here to understand is that the intake air charge is mixed with fuel, compressed, and then ignited by the spark plug. This ignition process produces heat and rapidly expanding gases that force the piston down and creates the power to turn the motor and eventually move your vehicle.
For accomplishing this, a piston in a well-sealed cylinder that can move freely with a system of valves that open and close at the right time is needed with efficiency. This piston again seals the combustion gases and then releases the exhaust fumes. Now, if you wonder about the head gasket, and what is the head gasket actually, here is the thing.
The importance of the gasket can be shown by the fact that it has a compression ratio, within the combustion chamber of a car. Moreover, ahead gaskets purpose is also essential for performing tasks of separating oil passage and water passage through the block and cylinder head of engines.
In certain cases, when the compression in the cylinder creates a perforation, it might make a hole in the head gasket, causing blown cylinder head or blown head gasket.
Functions performed by head gasket
Now having a brief idea about why and how gasket can be essential of our vehicles system, let’s see what more to the functionalities of the gasket and how it is done,
1. Handles pressure
The main purpose of the head gasket is definitely to handle the extremes pressures and temperature that is a heavy lifting job in itself. For, this it requires utmost maintenance with the coolant in combustion chamber. The gasket is responsible for the smooth functioning of the engine.
This is why for the high performance they are indispensably made with research of the best materials.
2. Maintain the temperature
Subjected to extreme pressures and temperatures, gaskets are also responsible for oil and coolant requirements in engine parts. Preventing damage due to overheating the gasket seals the coolant channels located between the cylinder and head and engine block.
For any car, its temperature is controlled by the thermostat. when the engine is cold, no coolant flows through it. As the engine temperatures start reaching the optimal temperature of about 200 degrees, the thermostat opens. Thermostat reduces engine wear and accumulation of damaging deposits leading to the emission of harmful chemicals.
The material of the head gasket
The head gasket is known to do the heavy lifting in marinating car health, but the question arises, what is it made for to sustain such durability? Since the head gasket is in contact with the engine oil, coolant, air, and all, it should of some material that does not cause any reaction with oil & coolent.
To sustain all these factors, the head gasket of every vehicle is made unique, highly depending on the characteristics of the engine. Every year Tata Engine Parts and Maruti Suzuki Engine Parts are spent in millions of pounds to meet such goals. Mostly the materials used for gaskets are stainless steel, but graphite and a range of fibers are also suitable.
With the introduction of chemical composites, like silicone, neoprene, and polymetric resins, they have also found common uses.
Apart from the fact that gaskets perform the necessary functions expected, they can make cheaply as well, then its counterparts due to the mentioned chemical composites.
Failure of head gaskets
Any machinery part can undergo failure if not taken care of maintained properly. When ahead gasket potentially fails, it causes quick overheating in the engine. This leads to a massive risk of internal damage and causes a loss of compression inability problems.
Not only pressure is affected but the engine parts fail to get the correct amount of oil, water, and coolant mixture necessary for it. If you suspect head gasket failure in the car, you should not make an attempt to drive it, because this can ultimately worsen the pre-caused damage.
Hence immediate replacement and servicing are what you should be looking for rather than thrashing down. Which is definitely what you require.
How to identify failure signs of gasket?
Some of the points that you should be focusing on to identify damage done on gasket are:
- Oil and coolant expansion in bottle.
- Oil getting emulsified as a result of coolant seeping.
- Mayonnaise consistency findings in the oil filter cap or engine dipstick.
Another method that can be followed to identify such failures is by checking the head gasket by running the engine until it reaches the operating temperature. if you find fault in temperature maintenance, leave the engine in running state and check the cooling fan for its operation.
Steam escaping from the exhaust pipe, fluctuations of the temperature level indicator inside the car, interior heating blows at constant temperature are some obvious signs to look for.
Steps to follow if the head gasket fails
When you have checked parts of a car and are definite about the fact that there has been a failure, here are some very important and obvious steps that you should take in such situations:
Do not try to drive your car in such a failure case. If though you would feel the signs of failure are not strong enough, or it can be some other leakage issue you could get fixed by driving the car to a mechanic, never attempt doing it. This attempt might turn into a fatal one.
- Seek help from a mechanic. He is the best person to notice small signs and get to the nerve of it even when you feel the issue is not overriding. The repairing process might take 4-5 days of treatment which is eventually good in the long run.
- If you are a pro at house mechanic skills and don’t want your car getting towed to the garage, then all you will need is to arrange for a new gasket kit. Some other requirements might comply buying a new bolt for cylinder head.
- Testing and skimming of the cylinder head are as important. Sometimes the cylinder head can be repaired itself by first being pressure-tested to detect any cracking or warping, as a result of high temperatures in which it usually operates.
- Replacement of oil, filter and anti-freeze parts are required as they serve as maintenance parts and are prone to damage when the head gasket fails.
The head gasket is one of the most important parts of a car that undergoes a tough job in the engine dealing with slow and low, high-pressure problems along with high temperatures.
For the same reason, a failure in the gasket is quite normal and one should not panic when it happens. When someone quotes a car getting blown head gasket, it means that the car has developed a leakage. This leak can be external leak out of the engine, which means head gasket id allowing cooling water to leak from the engine.
This susceptibly can also be an internal leak which means the head gasket is allowing cooling water to be drawn into a cylinder during the intake stroke and exhaust gases to be allowed inside cooling passages at the time of combustion stroke.
Misunderstood facts about head gasket
Now, one of the most misunderstood problems about vehicles can get is about blown head gasket. It is also misconstrued on being a blown motor problem. But the question is, how can a single gasket have so many problem names, and the cost to fix it is as much as turning it to scarp with the entire engine.
Considerably some best solutions are directed to make an engine in separate pieces or acquire for smart parts export which is equally efficient. Separate block from the cylinder head, and then bolting them together with a seal in between can work along as a hack.
This seal works as a head gasket and is the most stressed seal in for an engine. The head gasket is included in the work of sealing in combustion gases during ignition and has to deal with the constantly fluctuating temperatures of air intake and hot exhaust gases.
The head gasket additionally has to seal the outgoing point of cooling water that circulates around the cylinder walls and cools the engine in turn. Most of the times it can get daunting to notice and tell about the leakage part, as discussed earlier, however as you drive with a blown head gasket, the cooling water and exhaust gases entering places that they should not cause severe issue.
This can be noted as the first breakdown point of failure identification point of blown head gasket problems. The temperature gradients over time can metal to wear or warp if the problem is not addressed. The problem caused by this process adversely affects engine health, though you make up the mind to disassemble the engine and then replace the head gasket.
The problem reaches deeper layers over time. Simply replacing it with another seal won’t work and will need a makeover. Wear areas and warping can cause a poor seal even if the heads are bolted back again into the new gasket similarly like it was attempted previously.
For the entire process, there is a considerable costing that is needed to be invested and manual or self- replacements methods can only prove to be beneficial for some time but not every time and in the long run, it is definitely not a good idea.
Extra measures to be taken
To replace the head gasket, the heavy working motor has to be disassembled with accessories removed along with all intake and exhaust manifolds together. This can result in a laborious job and is also expensive on the pocket, because smart motor parts have to be exported in extreme cases.
A head gasket serves as the most important machinery the aspect of all smart vehicles, with several heavy lifting it does on its part. Head gasket is situated between the engine and cylinder head, performing functionalities of oil and coolants, combustion chamber safety, and more.