Signs Your Head Gasket Is Blown - Service Information at Capitol Subaru in Salem, OR

Nobody wants to pay for a blown head gasket, but there are worse things. Things like having to pay to fix a cracked engine block, or perform a whole engine swap! But, not only is a head gasket leak a significant problem in its own right, a blown head gasket will quickly lead to show-stopping damage to your car if it's not addressed right away. If you detect any of the five symptoms detailed below on your car, head right to Capitol Subaru. We can perform a long-lasting head gasket repair so you can continue to enjoy reliable performance from your Subaru.

Left unaddressed, an overheating engine due to a blown head gasket could suffer a cracked engine block 

5. Contaminated Engine Oil

We know that oil and water don't mix, but if coolant gets into the oil in your engine, the resulting mixture loses its lubricating qualities. A head gasket leak can let engine coolant mix into the engine oil system. The resulting thick, frothy mixture can collect under the engine's oil filler cap, so if you suspect a head gasket leak on your car, that's a great first step: unscrew the engine oil filler cap, and look on the underside. If a foamy, pale oil build-up has collected there, then coolant is likely contaminating the engine oil.

Steam rising from the engine is a dead giveaway that your engine is severely overheating 

4. Rough Idle/Engine Knock

A bad enough head gasket leak will cause the engine to lose compression. This can lead to the engine running roughly at idle, knocking and even stalling.

However, other problems can cause the engine to run roughly or knock. To determine if your vehicle has a head gasket leak, our technicians may perform a compression leak test on your vehicle. If combustion gasses are mixing with the engine oil, that's an indication that your head gasket may have failed internally.

3. Low Coolant Level

If the head gasket fails between a coolant channel and one of your engine's combustion chambers, the engine may start to consume coolant. This can lead to the engine overheating, too, due to an insufficient coolant level. An engine that's burning coolant has other symptoms, too...

The coolant level in your car should be constant. If it's low, you may have a head gasket leak 

2. White Smoke From Tailpipe

Engine coolant is mostly water, and when coolant is burned in the engine, water vapor will come out of the tailpipe as visible white smoke. This is a sign that coolant is being consumed by the engine due to a leaking head gasket.

If coolant isn't being consumed in the engine, but the coolant level is still chronically low, you may want to look for a leak elsewhere in the cooling system or leaking around the engine on the outside, where the engine block meets the cylinder head.

1. Engine Overheating

The most common sign that your vehicle has a failing head gasket is an engine that chronically overheats. A failed head gasket means the engine will have to work harder to create power. Furthermore, a blown head gasket can cause your vehicle to lose coolant, causing the engine cooling system to underperform, making the overheating situation even worse.

Usually, as a head gasket starts to blow, you'll experience one of these symptoms as an early warning -- but the rest are sure to follow soon. Head to Capitol Subaru if you suspect your vehicle has a head gasket leak. We can repair it and make sure the repair lasts you a long, long time. Hurry in and prevent further damage to your ride!

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  1. Capitol Subaru

    3235 Cherry Ave Ne

    • Sales:(888) 698-1973

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Capitol Subaru of Salem

920 Auto Group Ave NE
Directions Salem, OR 97301

  • Sales: 503-587-5500
  • Service: 503-587-5500
  • Parts: 503-587-5500


  • Monday 9:00am - 8:00pm
  • Tuesday 9:00am - 8:00pm
  • Wednesday 9:00am - 8:00pm
  • Thursday 9:00am - 8:00pm
  • Friday 9:00am - 8:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am - 8:00pm
  • Sunday 10:00am - 7:00pm