Q: How to know if my head gasket is blown

asked by on September 11, 2016

I've had problems with losing coolant buy can't find a leak. I replaced the water pump cause it went out. Today i changed the thermostat and for the first time my car blew thick white smoke out of exhaust. It slow went to a constant white smoke but not so thick. My low coolant light is on now. The coolant reservoir starts to overflow right away. And now it's having a high idle and stalls after idle comes down. Smells like burnt antifreeze. Still no coolant mixing with oil or vise versa. Please help.

My car has 192000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Smoke from engine or exhaust Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

Hello. The white smoke coming out of the exhaust is a sure sign that the head gasket is blown or the head is cracked. This engine is very common to have cracked heads between the valves when the engine has been overheated. You may find cracks in the heads when the engine is torn down to check for blown head gaskets.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

Missing lug nuts

It may be possible someone stole the lug nuts. If you had some kind of recent service done, where the tire and rim were removed, like a tire rotation for example. Then the mechanic may have not tightened the lug...

Good morning Patrick, I have a 2007 Pontiac torrent. It refuses to accelerate and when u try to give full acceleration, it starts

Your computer is trying to protest the motor by going into failure mode and limiting the throttle opening. The overheating is the cause of the problem. You need to have the cooling system checked to see if there are any...

Every three months, catalytic converter and muffler must be replaced

I would start with checking the O2 sensor. This is what relays exhaust gas changes to the vehicle's computer. When this sensor is not working correctly, incorrect or misdiagnosed air/fuel mixtures are relayed to the vehicle's computer causing incorrect changes...

Clicking sound upon startup

Hi there. I have come across this many times on this engine. If the clicking noise comes up when the vehicle is first started, then check the engine oil first and replace it if it is old. I have also...

Fuel filter leaking

Hi there. Fuel leaks are dangerous so it is important that it be repaired right away. If it is at the fuel filter, in some cases, replacing the fuel filter will take care of it. Your car uses quick connect...

My car overheated with smoke coming out, I found antifreeze all over the engine and the temperature gauge was high

This can be caused by a number of things such as low coolant levels, a faulty thermostat, or a failing coolant fan switch. As you may know, the coolant fan switch helps to maintain the proper coolant temperature by turning...

Car is struggling to turn over

Hello. Thanks for writing in. To start, lets determine what you mean by "struggling to turn over". Does it sound like the starter is working at its prime, and the problem is with the engine? Or does the starter lag...

I have a coolant leak at the bypass pipe, where the hose from throttle body to the bypass pipe. 2000 Chevrolet Venture

Hi there - I suspect there is a tiny crack in the coolant bypass tube that is, against all odds, sealing itself as coolant temperature comes up. I recommend a coolant bypass tube replacement by a mobile, professional mechanic, such...

Spitting coolant out of reservoir

You need to have the cooling system checked for overheating by pressure testing the system and checking for fan operation. The overflow reservoir should not spit out coolant even if you ran it hard. The engine is either overheating from...

Related articles

Can Bad Roads Damage an Exhaust System?
We We tend to only think about the exhaust on our cars when something goes wrong, but it’s a critical system that we should be paying attention to on a regular basis. While it’s pretty durable, it can be damaged...
How to Buy a Good Quality Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Tube
Exhaust Exhaust gas recirculation tubes (EGR tubes) are responsible for moving a very small amount of gas from the exhaust manifold to the intake manifold in order to help reduce emissions of nitrous oxide. This tube is the key point...
How to Troubleshoot and Replace a Leaking Valve Cover Gasket
Valve cover gasket leaks usually start when not much oil leaves the engine. It should be repaired before it causes serious damage and costly repairs.