Can We Reuse A Head Gasket? A complete guide
Do you have a car? Or you’re looking to buy a car? Then, this blog will help and address most of the queries related to the head gasket. Yes, we always have a great concern about the head gaskets. Even most of us don’t know what a head gasket is, why it is used, and the necessity to talk. The Head gasket is one of the significant components in the car. It is heart to drive the engine power. But many of us don’t know whether they can reuse or not. Because suddenly, when the head gasket either gets repaired or breaks, we will go for a new one to buy.
Well, do you know the secret? The average life cycle of a head gasket is around 45-55 years. People usually throw them away if they get repaired within 5-10 years or even more. Eventually, they undertake the same 45-55 years to get decomposed. Hence, reusing the head gasket may reduce the disintegrating process and increase its life span. In addition, we are running out of natural resources because head gaskets are made of mined metals. Ultimately, deploying the resources may lead to various natural calamities such as drought, flood, and erosion.
So, to overcome the above situation, it is essential to preserve them. One of the preserving methods is the reusing techniques. Reusing of head gasket will help us to handle the above situation. Also, it reduces metal manufacturing and lowers the debris by contributing to a zero-waste environment.
What is Head Gasket?
In a car, the engine is divided into two components, the cylinder head comprises components like spark plugs, valves, etc., and the engine block consists of the cylinder life and the piston. The head gasket is a significant element between the engine block and the cylinder head. The operation of the head gasket is to seal the internal combustion and retain fluids leakage and integration. Hence, these head gaskets play a vital role in sealing the engine’s explosion to construct your car to the proper compression to maintain the power of your car’s engine. In addition, it acts as a coolant by preventing the engine from firing and overheating.
Head gaskets are mostly thin layers made of steel. Though they have thin layers, they have high sustainability and durability. It acts as a heart to your car by sealing the gas combustion inside the cylinders and avoiding oil leakage into the cylinder because leakage may affect the engine’s efficiency.
Can I reuse a head gasket?
Most of the time, the answer would be No. But according to the expert’s advice, you can reuse a head gasket based on the following checkpoints. Because reusing the head gasket may need lots of discussion and concerns. If a head gasket is constructed with sealant, the combustion pressure will not consist of the gasket and will separate the sealant layer so that it can’t withstand the heat and combustion.
Checkpoint1: If you didn’t expose the head gasket to heat in an operating division, then it is entirely acceptable to reuse the gasket.
Checkpoint2: If you didn’t expose the head gasket to fluid and swelling in an operating division, you could reuse the gasket in this situation.
Checkpoint3: If you find the head gasket’s original thickness persists and it still has enough compressibility to seal, then you can reuse the head gasket.
Is it safe to reuse a head gasket?
Yes, it is safe to reuse the head gasket. However, you can reuse the head gaskets with proper cleaning and maintenance. In addition, ensure the above checkpoints and try to reuse the head gasket. If they don’t meet the criteria, it is better to seek expert advice. Because in most cases, the reuse and cleaning methods might remove or damage the seals. So, it is suggested to follow the steps correctly.
Types of head gasket
Most of the head gaskets are reusable. You can reuse them according to their life span and capacity.
(MLS) Multi-layer steel
Most vehicles have multi-layer steel (MLS). MLS consists of multiple steel layers combined with an adhesive or elastomer and coated with a rubber-like gasket coating. In a few MLS, the head gasket contains 2-3 layers. In some, they might have 4-5 steel layers. These gaskets are well-known for their capability to withstand high pressure that adheres to the cylinder head and engine block, and the inner layer is for resilience. Hence, you can reuse them until they break due to their capability.
Copper gaskets are very much reusable when compared to other gaskets. The copper gaskets have superior strength and protect against leakage. Due to the typical structure, copper gaskets need to be installed safely. Hence, a specific machine known as O-ringing installs the copper gasket at the proper position. This O-ringing are user friendly to reuse.
One of the oldest types of head gaskets was used in the era of 1980s. These gaskets are made of graphite or asbestos and prone to blowouts. Nowadays, these gaskets are not availed widely because of the emergence of MLS.
One of the best head gaskets is coated with steel core and elastomeric beads. The gaskets have sheets made of large steel and coated with silicone beads. These beads act as a barrier and aid in sealing the coolant and oil leakage to rescue the engine damage.
How to clean the head gasket for reusing?
Before reusing a head gasket, it is vital to follow the below steps for cleaning. Excessive cleaning sometimes may break the head gasket, and less cleaning makes the head gasket not suitable for reuse. Hence, the cleaning steps are essential to reuse them.
- Take a head gasket and check for the sealing surface before you start.
- It helps you to concentrate on the actual compression and don’t do deep scratches to avoid compression loss issues.
- Clean them using a towel or cloth.
- Now grit them lightly or even touch them using High rpm. Please don’t do it too aggressively.
- Use a Scotch Bite pad to clean them with uniform pressure.
How to Fix a Head Gasket Leak in Your Car?
- Step 1: To begin, you mainly want clean coolant in your radiator.
- Step 2: If it’s dirty, flush it out and add a new, clean coolant.
- Step 3: Take the two bolts off the thermostat housing and take the thermostat out.
- Step 4: With the thermostat removed, the sealant will flow better and have a better chance of sealing the leak.
- Step 5: Also, check all the spark plugs to confirm if any of them are burning the coolant.
- Step 6: Now pour the seal into the radiator, start the car, and set it for half an hour.
- Step 7: After half an hour, shut down the car. Let the engine cool down, and repeat the process 4-5 times.
- Step 8: Let it dry overnight, and you can start riding your car the next day.
When does a head gasket gets failed?
Usually, the head gaskets fail due to overheating, coolant, or oil leakage. Smoke (Blue or White) comes from the exhaust and loss of power.
Merits of the head gaskets
The earlier mentioned types of head gaskets are employed for various purposes. Each one of them has its benefits, such as
- Copper head gasket: It has high thermal conductivity, seals better and outstanding durability.
- Composite gasket: They are light weighted with tensile strength and pressure.
- Elastomeric gasket: It is employed in most modern cars because of its ease of installation and seals good.
- (MLS) Multi-layered Steel gasket: Due to their multiple layers, they are used in most cars, especially with heightened technologies. They are resistant to leakage and protect against overheating.
Demerits of the head gasket.
In general, head gaskets face lots of problems. We could discuss a few issues on the forum.
- Sealer: The head gasket sealer is operated to seal the gasket by pouring them on the engine. When the sealer is run, it may seal the engine firmly, resulting in water that pumps into the machine. Hence, it will be entrapped.
- Incompatibility: If you find leakage smell or harmful fumes, seek experts’ clarification on whether the leak is because of the gasket sealer. If the sealer is incompatible with your car, please replace or remove it immediately by calling a mechanic.
- Malfunctioning: Malfunctioning is one of the major problems because the silicone may trap the electrodes on the spark plug by forming a film that prevents the gap. Hence, as the spark plug is one of the components of the cylinder, it may resist starting the car. In addition, they may cause damage. So, seek expert advice for further steps.
Can head bolts be reused?
Most of the customers are concerned with reusing the head bolts. Yes, you can reuse the head bolts when your engine has a conventional bolt. Also, ensure the bolt is in better condition to reuse them, but you shouldn’t stretch them. You can reuse the bolts by cleaning them properly and oiling them lightly because the dirt bolts may fail to lubricate while installing and may cause false torque when they are tightened, resulting in leaking.
Is it possible to replace a blown head gasket?
Yes. It is possible to replace a blown gasket; however, it is a very challenging process. Also, when you try to replace the blown gasket, it costs expensive. Hence, ask your mechanic whether you can reuse them if they are in good condition.
What happens when a head gasket blows?
When a head gasket blows, it creates various problems. Sometimes they may get ruptured and broken. Gradually, the coolant in the cylinder may overheat and burn. Also, it results in oil leakage into the chamber and creates a foul smell which causes damage to the engine.
Why shouldn’t you reuse a new head gasket?
While installing, all the head gaskets should compress. In most cases, the gaskets used for the first time have been compressed; hence reusing them for the second time will not compress. However, you can reuse gaskets such as neoprene. They can compress for the second time.
What is the life span of a head gasket?
The average life span of the head gasket is 100,000 miles. So, you can reuse them by maintaining them correctly.
Why should we reuse a head gasket?
One of the most important reasons is the head gaskets are heat cyclers, where embossments don’t drag them to their original shape. In such a case, you can install, check for the clearances and reuse the head gasket.
We all wish and want to have a car at least once in our lifetime. But, before buying a car, you need to know the necessary components and parts for the vehicle. If you have a car with you right now, you must have a concise knowledge of what happens inside the car, why the engine gets failed, or what precautions you need to take. Because knowing all these kinds of stuff will help you’re way.
The Head gasket is one of the vital parts of the car. Without the gasket, an engine will not run properly. Excessive combustion makes the gasket blow up, whereas less compression makes the gasket affect the engine. So, it is essential to check them frequently. In addition, the life span of the head gasket is almost similar to its decomposition period.
Hence reusing them may lower the decomposing time. Also, deploying the natural resources will be reduced. Each of us holds responsibilities and duties to create a zero-waste environment. Our tiny contribution offers the next generation to have faith and hope in the environment. Otherwise, mother earth will face difficulties.
Think positive, reuse and recycle what you have, and we will contribute to the environment together. Stay tuned for more blogs and information.