An internal combustion engine like the one in your car needs to have a way to ensure that the maximum amount of compression gets generated in the cylinders. In your car, the head gasket performs that job. The gasket seals off the cylinders to make sure that there is the most compression possible and to make sure that no fluids leak into the cylinders. If something goes wrong with your head gasket, then your engine isn't going to work well. It's important to know the signs of a failing or blown head gasket.
Excessive Oil Use
One of the biggest signs that your head gasket is either failing or about to fail is that your car is starting to use more oil. That's because the gasket is no longer sealing off the pathways that the oil uses to get around the engine and cylinders. The oil also gets into the engine and starts to be burnt off. That will produce a whitish, smoky exhaust which may also smell bad.
One of the biggest problems with a failing or blown head gasket is that the engine coolant and the motor oil start to mix. This will negate the function of both fluids. The coolant thins down the motor oil, which means it won't be able to coat the engine bearings the way that it should. The coolant will also start to corrode and damage those bearings. The oil will start to look pale and milky as the coolant gets into it.
Engine Running Rough
Another sign that the head gasket in your car might not be working anymore is that your engine starts to run rough. That means that your engine might be skipping a beat, coughing, or losing power. The reason for this is that the cylinders in your car need to completely sealed in order for the compression to happen. As the gasket fails, things get into the cylinder and causing it to misfire or skip firing altogether. That's what leads to your car losing power or coughing.
If you start to see any of the signs of a failed head gasket in your car, you should immediately take it to a mechanic to get it looked at. That's because a blown head gasket can cause serious damage to your car, including a piston shooting out from the cylinder and out into rest of the engine block. That would mean that you have to completely have your engine rebuilt or replaced.
For further assistance, contact a local auto mechanic, such as one from Import Automotive.