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What causes a head gasket to need to be replaced?

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Answered 2011-09-13 22:21:39

Automobile engines consist of two major assemblies, the block, and the head(s). The block is the major part of the engine, housing the cylinders, where the pistons are, and the crankshaft, which transfers power from the pistons to outside the engine. The head contains the valves, which are used to seal the cylinders between strokes of the pistons. Through the valves pass the air used for combustion, and the spent combustion products, which travel out the exhuast.

The head gasket is the seal between the head and the block. It is subject to very high pressures and temperatures, and also expasion and contraction as a result of temperature changes.

AnswerIn addition to the above great answer, may I add. Normally a head gasket will never leak. If it does then it is because of a defective gasket, incorrect installation, warped head, and the number one cause, overheating of the engine. Most engines today are made of aluminum. Aluminum does not handle excessive heat very well and as such is very susceptible to blowing the head gasket when the engine gets too hot. Once the head gasket leaks, it will allow coolant to enter the combustion chamber and or the oil pan. This will destroy the engine if not corrected.
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