Q: Can I take a 600 mile trip with a blown head gasket?

asked by on October 07, 2016

I have a 2004 Pontiac Vibe with 164,000 miles. In August it overheated for the first time. I added about a gallon of antifreeze to the cooling system, and every thing was back to normal, except for a very faint smell of burning rubber. I've driven it at least 1000 miles since then. Last week I noticed that the heating system is not emitting much heat. Three days ago a pressure test was done on the cooling system. It was determined that the engine has a blown head gasket, and that the price of fixing the car is more than the car is worth. But it runs as well as ever! Good pick up; no smoke coming out of the tailpipe. Yesterday I drove it more than 150 miles from Baltimore to Fredericksburg Va and back. No problem. No overheating. No smoke out the tailpipe. Today, however, I added about a 1/4th gallon of antifreeze to the cooling system for the first time since August. But the runs as well as ever. I'm planning a 600 mile round trip to North Carolina on Monday. Should I do this?

My car has 164000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Hello there. Head gasket failures can cause much larger issues with your 2004 Pontiac Vibe. It is not recommended to drive a vehicle with a faulty head gasket as it can cause the engine to fail if overheated severely. In many cases, the head gasket problem is not able to be detected until the engine is warm and then the head gasket will start to leak. When head gaskets leak oil and coolant mixes this results in a sludge that ruins internal parts inside the engine. To have this taken care of, a qualified technician, like one from YourMechanic, will be able to inspect the vehicle to determine what actions may be needed to prevent issues on longer trips.

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