Presented by Dan Ritchie:
The gasket sandwiched between the engine block the cylinder head helps ensure maximum compression and prevent leakage of either oil or coolant into the cylinders. The likelihood of gasket failure is increased by the fact that aluminum cylinder heads thermally expand at a somewhat higher rate than cast-iron cylinder blocks. Because the cylinder head moves slightly across the gasket’s surface as the engine warms up to operating temperature, stress is placed on the head gasket. Auto manufacturers have addressed this issue by supplementing head-gasket surfaces with non-stick coatings. Still, if a head gasket were to fail, the resultant compression loss, leakage of exhaust gases into the cooling system, and/or mixing of oil with coolant all warrant immediate attention. The engine is the heart of your vehicle and probably the most costly to repair when something goes wrong. Following a routine maintenance plan can help protect your automotive investment and save you time, money, and aggravation in the long run. One of our ASE Certified Technicians can perform a visual inspection of your vehicle to evaluate needed maintenance.
HINT: When a head gasket fails and exhaust gases leak into the coolant, engine overheating results.