Volvo models hardly get leaking head gaskets. They are simply designed to perfection. But like you are about to find out, it can happen when you least expect. It may look like something you can ignore at first. With time, you’ll quickly realize how dangerous the problem is. So as much as you can drive for a while with a leaking head gasket, it is a problem that you should by all means fix as soon as you can.
The Risks Involved
Driving for a while with a leaking head gasket will not damage your engine. You never know though when the head gasket will snap. It will then fully fail before dumping coolant into combustion chambers or onto the ground. The longer or the more you drive with the gasket damaged, the riskier it gets. It gets even worse with the fact that repairing a head gasket that is severely damaged can cost as much as $1000.
Before looking for signs of a damaged head gasket, always remember that driving at a high speed with a broken gasket can easily cause an engine seize or overheating. Your best bet here is to first identify signs of a leaking head gasket or one that is about to leak. The most common ones include:
- Low coolant levels in the reservoir
- Puddles of coolant under the vehicle
- Acrid smell coming from the car vents when the engine is hot
- White smoke emission from the exhaust
Remember that a coolant leak on the ground can be traced to a leaking radiator or a hose. In some cases though, a broken head gasket will allow corpus amount of coolant to escape from the engine. Either way, take action as soon as you notice any of the signs mentioned above. Repairs done on time can be both effective and pocket friendly as opposed to replacement especially in new Volvo models. That’s because your mechanic will be forced to first remove the engine head so as to replace the blown gasket.
The engine cylinder head as well as the combustion chamber are often affected once you drive for too long with a leaking gasket. It is easy to understand why these two parts get affected. Take the combustion chamber for instance. It is where fuel, spark, air and compression take place. This means the gasket should be strong enough to withstand extreme pressure and temperatures. That explains why the combustion area is the most common are to have a gasket failure or a completely blown gasket.
The Volvo head gasket is also designed to seal coolant passes between the head and the cylinder block. This area doesn’t often have a lot or pressure. Occasionally though, the engine coolant can become corrosive mainly because of lack of regular service. At this point, the coolant will begin to eat away the head gasket until it eventually causes a leak. With that in mind, always take your car for regular servicing or scheduled maintenance. That way, it will be easy for your mechanic to quickly notice any of the aforementioned signs of a leaking gasket.