Normally, a cylinder-head gasket lasts the life of a car. But external influences can shorten its service life, sometimes considerably. For example, a defective water pump or thermostat, as well as too little coolant, can cause the cylinder-head gasket to overheat. Likewise, poor assembly or incorrect torque when tightening the cylinder head bolts can cause the cylinder head gasket to become defective. Long idle periods, for example in seasonal vehicles, can also cause damage. In addition, irregularities in the combustion process have an impact on the cylinder-head gasket. This can be caused by low-grade fuel, for example.
Then either fluids get into the engine or combustion chamber, exhaust gases get into the fluids, or the cooling water and engine oil mix. If engine oil gets into the cooling water, channels can become clogged and cooling performance can drop. On the other hand, if cooling water gets into the engine oil, the oil loses its lubricating ability. In addition, it is also possible for the fluids to enter the combustion chamber. In the case of cooling water, it evaporates in the combustion chamber and is emitted with the exhaust gases as white smoke. However, if too much water enters the combustion chamber, it can damage the pistons, since the compression of the water has a higher density. The other way around, it is also possible for the combustion gases to get into the cooling water, causing bubbles to form there. If, on the other hand, engine oil is also burned, it produces a bluish exhaust smoke. In all cases, it can have direct and fatal effects on the engine. Therefore, pay attention to the following symptoms that may indicate a defective cylinder-head gasket:
If these symptoms occur, you can perform an initial visual inspection. To do this, with the engine switched off and cooled down, check whether fluids are leaking around the engine block. In addition, look in the expansion tank of the coolant, whether dark streaks run through the water, the coolant has an oily surface or foam has formed, then engine oil is in the coolant. If you open the cap and there is an odor of exhaust gases, gas from the combustion chamber has entered the coolant. A high pressure when opening the tank also indicates gases in the cooling system.
If there is cooling water in the engine oil, a yellowish foamy or gel-like substance will form on the cap and it can also be seen on the dipstick. If the above symptoms are noticeable or if one of the points is noticed during the visual inspection, it is urgently advisable to visit a workshop as soon as possible, as this can prevent subsequent engine damage.
Since a cylinder-head gasket is exposed to high temperature differences and high pressures, high demands are placed on material and fitting accuracy. Here it pays to use high-quality branded goods, as brand manufacturers always meet the specifications of the vehicle manufacturers. The important brand manufacturers for cylinder-head gaskets include:
When buying a cylinder-head gasket, it is very important to pay attention not only to the quality but also to the material thickness, as this differs from vehicle to vehicle.
Basically, it takes a lot of time to replace a cylinder head gasket, since you have to remove parts from the engine block and relevant assemblies. Depending on the vehicle, the timing belt and the water pump may also be involved. If these are already dismantled, it makes sense to change them directly with, because so only the material costs come with on top, but nothing changes appreciably in the work performance. The valve clearance of the intake and exhaust valves should also be checked in this context and readjusted if necessary. In addition, it is advisable to change engine oil as well as the cooling water and, if necessary, the valve stem seals. If oil residues are visible in the cooling circuit, cleaning of the cooling system is required before replacing the cooling water. Replacing the cylinder head gasket requires a high level of expertise, experience and patience.
To find the right spare part when buying cylinder head gasket, you can enter the part number in our search mask, if known. Otherwise, select your vehicle so that you will only be shown matching spare parts. In addition to the cylinder head gaskets of the above brand manufacturers, we also carry sets with the matching cylinder head bolts or the complete cylinder head gasket set. If you are unsure which cylinder head gasket to buy, please contact our customer service with the 17-digit chassis number. They will be happy to help you choose the right spare part.