A car, truck, or SUV has many gaskets that seal certain parts of your vehicle to keep fluids intact, prevent debris from entering the engine, and maintain pressure. All gaskets are essential to the engine’s maximum performance.
One of the most important gaskets is the cylinder head gasket. It’s not much to look at and has no ultra-intricate structure that tells you it’s a VIP (Very Important Part) of your Subaru car. It’s flat, thin, and easy to lose in a garage if you’re not too careful. But you can’t take it for granted because it’s special.
Located between the cylinder head and the engine block, the head gasket’s main mission is to seal the surface of the engine’s top and bottom halves for optimal internal combustion. It keeps the oil and coolant from mixing and prevents exhaust gas in the air/fuel mixture from escaping.
Since the head gasket seals the combustion process, the coolant, and the oil, its all-important function must be maintained. After all, good combustion means excellent performance for your car.
Reasons Oil and Coolant Mix
Broken head gasket — The head gasket could break with increased use or due to an accident. A torn gasket will be unable to prevent leakage and the potential mixture of oil and refrigerant. Without a proper seal on the cylinder head, the pressure from the air-fuel combination can also escape each time the pistons rise. This lowers the compression inside the cylinder and, in turn, lessens the power of the engine.
Damaged cylinder head — Accidents or overheating can cause the cylinder head to crack, letting the coolant flow into the chamber and mix with the fuel.
Overheated engine ; — At very high temperatures, car engines may overheat and burn the head gasket. It would cease to do its function after some time.
Damaged engine block — The engine block contains most of the engine’s moving parts, where the oil goes. If the engine block is broken, the fluid outside can enter the chamber and mix with the oil.
Passing through a flood — When your car passes through a flood, water can enter the engine through the top cover and other openings or via the exhaust pipe. Water mixing with oil can damage the engine.
Signs You Have a Damaged Gasket
Gasket damage is common in Subaru vehicles. You’d need immediate repair for your leaking Subaru head gasket if this is the case. If you don’t address the problem quickly, the mixture of fluids could ruin your engine and require you to overhaul the machine.
How will you know you have a cracked head gasket? Watch out for these symptoms:
- Too much smoke in the exhaust. When too much coolant ends up in the cylinder, the smoke produced by the combustion process goes out of the exhaust pipe.
- Misfiring engine. An engine misfire can be a sign of coolant leaking into the cylinder of your engine.
- Milky engine oil. Did you discover your dipstick or engine oil cap with whitish oil? The refrigerant might have leaked into the combustion chamber and beyond the pistons, blending with the fuel to produce the milky color.
- Dropping level of coolant. If you or your mechanic discovers that your coolant drops rather quickly, it can indicate pressure loss in your cooling system, implying a head gasket leak.
- Engine overheating. If your coolant level keeps on dropping, your engine’s temperature will likely rise. Overheating, however, can be caused by many other things, so don’t always be quick to conclude that the culprit is a leaking head gasket.
A handful of things can go wrong if your cylinder head gasket breaks and cause leakage. Primarily, your car’s oil and coolant might mix, or you might lose pressure in your combustion process. Either way, the result is sub-par engine performance. A visit to a vehicle repair center should be first on your list.