A faulty head gasket can produce a leak in your Land Rover, which is a highly troubling sign and will inevitably affect its performance. However, if the head gasket blows all together, this can lead to catastrophic engine failure. In this article we’ll go over how important the head gasket is to maintain, what to look for in a blown head gasket, and how you can best attend to the issue.
Located between the engine block and cylinder head, the head gaskets main function is to contain the process of combustion—this includes limiting the flow of engine oil and coolant so that they do not cross paths. Engine oil and coolant do very different things for Land Rover’s engine, and their chemical makeup naturally negates one another. In other words, if coolant comes into contact with surfaces lubricated by oil, the coolant will strip the oil from the surface. As you can see, the head gasket plays a critical function for your Land Rover, and when it begins to leak fluids (including oil or coolant), it can be very problematic.
There are a number of reasons why a head gasket will eventually spring a leak, but the main reason is ongoing wear and tear. Head gaskets sustain plenty of stress and damage over years of being exposed to the volatile temperatures within the engine. Head gaskets are made of a relatively pliable material that expands and contracts under certain environmental conditions. After years of expanding and contracting, the material wears out and can lead to leaks. If your Land Rover’s engine consistently runs hot, it can speed up this wear process much quicker. It’s important to pay attention to how your Land Rover’s engine is functioning and follow through with any concerning symptoms, such as heightened engine temperature.
A blown head gasket will produce several symptoms simultaneously; in other words, it is rare for only one of these symptoms in isolation to point toward a blown head gasket. Your Land Rover specialist should perform a through differential diagnosis to rule-out other causes of these symptoms first:
Coolant or engine oil loss or leaks is highly concerning. If you notice low levels of coolant but no visible leaks, the coolant could be mixing with the engine oil, which can cause severe engine issues.
Engine overheating is often undetected by drivers. If you see your Land Rover is running hotter than normal, the problem should be looked at right away. The longer an engine overheating issue goes unaddressed, the more damage it can do—including causing a blown head gasket in a short period of time.
White smoke coming from the exhaust or a saccharine smell can indicate a blown head gasket, but usually there is also some sort of condensation coming out of the exhaust as well when a head gasket has blown.
As we mentioned before, the head gasket is designed to keep coolant and oil flow separate, closed, and contained. When the head gasket leaks, it is letting fluid out and letting air into the system. It is common to find bubbles in the radiator or coolant tank as well as coolant mixed in with the engine oil. This issue must be treated immediately to avoid engine failure.
Land Rover head gasket leaks must be treated with efficiency, concern for time, and specialized skill and knowledge. Addressing a blown head gasket is critical to spare your Land Rover from total failure, but preventive care is the best way to stay away from the issue all together. Here at Pro Car Mechanics, we provide preventive care for each of our clients from all over the areas of Gardena, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Glendale, and Anaheim, CA. Specializing in European imports such as Land Rover we offer our expertise and skills at a significantly lower cost than nearby dealerships. If you’ve recently experienced issues in your Land Rover’s performance or would like to get a better handle on routine maintenance tasks to avoid issues like head gasket failure, please contact us right away.
* Land Rover Discovery 4 image credit goes to: teddyleung.