Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

asked by on

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.

A: Hello there. Head gasket failures can cause...

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.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: I poured antifreeze in my car and it's still blowing out cold air when I turn the heater on

Hello. There are a couple of things to check here. When the antifreeze was added, was the cooling system thoroughly bled (with the heater turned to "Max" heat and fan? There could be air bubbles in the engine or heater...

Q: Car is making a knocking noise. 2006 Toyota Corolla

Hi - your engine could be knocking from bad fuel, ignition problems or bad bearings. Check your engine oil level first - a low oil level could be the most damaging. If the Check Engine light is illuminated, have the...

Q: Key getting stuck in the ignition

The problem is the battery is not supplying enough voltage to the ignition lock to release the ignition key. I recommend having a qualified technician perform a battery test to see what the output of the battery is. If it...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...