Engine Head Gasket

If you've been told that you have to have your engine head gasket replaced you may not even be sure what this means, you just know that you are going to have to pay for what could be a costly repair, depending on your vehicle and your mechanic. A head gasket is something that is important and you should not overlook if it is in need of repair or even if you suspect that it is in need of repair.

The engine head gasket is a seal of a mechanical nature that is designed to sit between the engine block and the cylinder head in your internal combustion engine. The job of the engine head gasket is to that there is maximum compression within and also to help avoid the leakage of coolant and engine oils into the cylinders.  Most mechanics would agree that the engine head gasket is the most important, if not one of the most important, seals in any other part of the vehicle. If the engine head gasket fails it can cause disaster for the whole vehicle.

There are many different types of engine head gasket offerings, depending on the vehicle and the engine. The most common type of engine head gasket that you will see today is the MLS, which is short for multiple layers steel and as the name would suggest, these gaskets are made up of three layers of steel. The faces of these gaskets are usually coated with a rubber type material that will help them adhere to the cylinder block.

There are also solid copper engine head gasket offerings, thought these are not as common. These gaskets are made from solid sheets of copper and they usually have to go through a machining process called o-ringing. The result is a very durable engine head gasket, though it is much more expensive with the rising costs of copper. The composite head gasket is an older technology and is generally not seen in more modern vehicles. These engine head gasket offerings were made from asbestos or even graphite but they have been done away with mainly because they were much more prone to blow outs than the newer offerings are.

There is also the elastomeric engine head gasket. This is not generally seen any more because the gasket was not all that stable due to the joint interface but it was used by the Land Rover company in their K Series engines. This type of gasket had a steel core plate with molded in place rubber beads that were mean to seal oil as well as coolant passages.

The head gasket is not an area of the engine that you want to fail, also known as a blow out. When a engine head gasket fails it can cause a wide variety of problems depending on how significant the blow out is, what type of gasket it is, and also what type of engine you are dealing with. The result of a blown engine head gasket may include compression loss, exhaust gases in the cooling system, increased engine wear, and more.

Depending on the extent of the damage catastrophic engine damage can take place, leading to costly repairs and even an inability to function properly. Driving with a damaged engine head gasket can prove to be very dangerous as it can lead to over heating. If you suspect that you have a blown out head gasket you should take your vehicle into your mechanic immediately so that the head gasket can be replaced before any further engine damage takes place.

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