Are blown head gaskets inevitable?

If so can we be expected to know when it will happen other by noticing leaks? The average driver cannot be expected to notice leaks regularly so can we blame them for not catching blown gaskets in the first place.

This is the second time I've had one.

  • Uh if it overheats or is running at high temps. If it blows out white smoke (antifreeze) or blue smoke (oil)
    – Kobi Daye
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 7:49
  • I don't get the question. It seems If its not leaking then it is good.
    – agentp
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


Blown head gaskets are not inevitable, it's not uncommon for example to see PSA diesel engines with nearly 1,000,000 (yes a million) miles on the original gasket.

Signs of a head gasket are:

  • Overheating

  • Water pressurising and blowing water out of the header tank

  • Oil in the Water

  • Cold heater

  • Loss of water

  • Pressurised water pipes (usually with other symptoms though)

  • White smoke (actually steam) from the exhaust

Things that can cause a head gasket failure:

  • Bad design (some engines just suffer from head gasket problems such as the Rover 1.4 petrol engine or the PSA 1.1/1.4 petrol aluminium block engines.

  • Warped cylinder head

  • Warped block

  • Incorrect fitment

  • Weak or faulty water pump causing the engine to run too hot

  • Faulty thermostat causing the engine to run too hot

  • need to add poor maintenance to the list - low cooling water level etc
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 17:21

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