Your car's engine is made up of cylinders, inside of which are pistons that move up and down. Their movement creates the energy needed to power your car and keep it moving. These cylinders are sealed by what are called cylinder heads, and between the cylinder heads and the cylinder itself there is a gasket. This is a rubber piece that helps to keep those cylinder heads sealed so that the cylinder is closed and protected.
Having a cracked cylinder head or blown head gasket can be very serious and you should never drive your car when you need to have this repair done. Note how to diagnose some common problems with your car's cylinder heads and gaskets so you know to get your car to a mechanic as quickly as possible.
1. Oil in the engine's coolant, or vice versa
Your car's coolant system keeps the engine from overheating and this works with a certain fluid that runs through the system. This coolant should never leak into the oil gasket, where the car's engine oil is stored. If this happens, your car usually has a crack in the cylinder head which is allowing that coolant to leak where it doesn't belong.
At the same time, the oil may be leaking from the cracked cylinder head or head gasket and it too can be contaminating the coolant that is circulating through the engine's system. If either fluid is leaking where it doesn't belong, this is usually a sign that you have a cracked cylinder head or blown head gasket.
2. Engine misfire
The engine may misfire when you have a cracked cylinder head or blown head gasket because air is leaking into the cylinder. In turn, the pistons may not move as they should or may not create the energy needed to run your car's engine. Just as air can put out or diminish a fire in your fireplace, air in the cylinder can reduce the power the piston in a particular cylinder produces.
Coolant leaking into the cylinder can also cause this misfiring. The coolant dilutes and in turn interferes with the petrol used by the cylinders to create the energy needed to power the engine. The coolant can also leak onto the spark plug so that the engine misfires on startup.
If you notice any of these issues with your car, it's good to have it checked by a mechanic such as Reconditioning Services as soon as possible. Ignoring a cracked cylinder head or blown head gasket can lead to a cracked engine block, which is a very expensive repair job.
I've been running an auto service shop for the past 30 years. The trends in cars have changed a lot over that time, and cars are becoming a lot more complicated and automated. People can't fix many items on their own cars any more as you need a computer to diagnose most issues. People use their cars a lot more these days as we live further away from workplaces and schools so it's important for me to be able to get cars back quickly. I have had to keep learning about how the new cars run and I keep a lot of hints on this site so you can all learn the things you can do to make your cars run better.