I think it's really important to know a bit about the internals of a car, so that when you are getting your car serviced you can talk intelligently with the auto technician. As well, there are many easy DIY jobs you can do on your car to save your some money which can make all the difference when you are young and starting out. This site is where I am recording everything I am teaching my kids about auto servicing, and because I think it will be useful to many other families as well. I hope you find it useful for your family.
If you have just inspected the coolant in your car or truck's expansion chamber and found that it has a strange, milky consistency, you will be wondering what is going on. Clearly, this is not the typical state of antifreeze or coolant, and it could be a sign of a bigger problem elsewhere. What could this problem be related to, and what should you do to fix it?
The Perils of a Blown Head Gasket
Usually, when the coolant has a milky colour like this, it signifies that you may be dealing with a blown head gasket. This gasket is situated between the engine block and the cylinder head and is a crucial component in helping to isolate fluids as they flow through the engine and keep the temperature in check.
How a Gasket Is Supposed to Work
The head gasket is made from copper or steel composite and will typically last for a long time. It's placed in between those two major engine parts when the motor is first assembled, and the technician will tighten the retaining bolts to a precise specification using a torque wrench. A head gasket is engineered to expand and contract to a degree so that it always creates the perfect seal regardless of the engine temperature. But primarily, it will also help to separate the oil from the coolant as they flow through their own segregated chambers and protect the engine.
When a Gasket Fails
Sometimes, the gasket may become compromised if the engine is allowed to run at an excessively high temperature for some time. This issue can be caused by a blockage in a hose, the radiator itself, or a coolant leak. When this happens, parts of the gasket may break, allowing fluid to flow into the opposing channel, leading to significant problems elsewhere.
Additional Problems on the Horizon
In this case, some of the engine oil has found its way into the coolant channels and onwards into the expansion chamber. Some of the coolant may have leaked into the combustion chambers as well, which can cause issues with overall performance.
What to Do Next
Either way, you now have a situation where both your coolant and engine oil are compromised and cannot do their job properly. Consequently, you could run into problems with increased wear and tear or significant overheating and will want to take action as soon as possible. Take the vehicle to a mechanic for them to address the issue. If need be, they will replace the gasket but will also give the motor a comprehensive service to ensure there are no problems elsewhere.
For more information about car services, contact a local auto shop.