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How do I confirm a bad head gasket - 1999 Lincoln Continental

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Take radiator cap off & look for bubbles in water or coolant with motor running

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To truely comfirm that, you would have to have the cooling system pressure tested. BUT, If your symptoms include white smoke, or steam from the tail pipe, oil in the coolant [ check cold]. Water in the oil [ pull dipstick out cold ]look for white or creamy spots in the oil. Smell the oil as well, you may smell gas in it. If you have any of these symptoms, it is almost a sure sign, but a pressure test is best. Hope this helps you, cheers from Nova Scotia!!

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Compression test and look for signs of leaking.

Posted on Jan 12, 2013

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My overheating is when the engine is ander stress like going up hill

Check for a bad head gasket . autozone has a tool that sniffs fumes out of your coolent tank and confirms a bad head gasket. the fluid for the tool is sold at autozone for about $9.00 . The tool is a free rental.

Oct 08, 2014 | Cars & Trucks

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Car died and mechanic tells me that the head gasket is warped

That won't stop ur motor only if coolant is entering the oil check dipstick if oil is well past the marks on the stick that might be the case but have a fuel pressure test an make sure it's getting spark before u go ahead an dish out thounsands of dollars on a head gasket might just be a bad fuel pump or it lost ignition spark those are a whole lot cheaper good luck an hope this helps ya out

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Water keeps pushing out top of raditor

If its on radiator, check the cap to see if it is bad seal, or you might have an cracked somewhere

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Water and white exhaust smoke

If this is coming from the exaust pipe you have one of the following problems: 1)a bad head gasket,
2) a warped or cracked head ,3) a cracked block. If you remove the head and it is the gasket you should be able to see where the leak(s) is. The other two will probably require a machine shop to confirm unless it is extremely bad.

Nov 19, 2010 | Oldsmobile Delta 88 Cars & Trucks

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Why does my engine emits white smoke when I press *** the pedal is the valvepiston ring sleeve at fault?

No. What kind of vehicle is it? White smoke in the exhaust is actually steam, which is caused from your engine burning coolant. The most common causes of this are blown head gasket or a cracked head. Check your coolant level and have a coolant system pressure test done to confirm.

Jun 21, 2010 | Cars & Trucks

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Suddenly started smoking white smoke and seems to be losing power

White smoke is coolant being burnt. That with your lose of power would suggest a bad head gasket. A compression test could confirm it. Hope this helps.

Nov 25, 2009 | 1995 Plymouth Voyager

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I have a coolant leak in my 1995 camaro. The mechanic said it was where the timing cover meets the block. He said it looks like a gasket, and it is a hugh job to fix. What should I do?

It sounds like a head gasket.Do you overheat? Boil Over? If you do it is the head gasket.It is a big expensive job.There are sealers I have used available only online Seal a Head worked great.There is a test called an Engine sniffer that can positively confirm a bad head gasket.You must confirm.Look for my response on other overheating,Head Gasket issue on this site.Good Luck.

Sep 21, 2009 | 1995 Chevrolet Camaro

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Overheating and blowing white smoke from exaust pipe

You have a blown head gasket. Have a compression teat done and it will confirm this. good luck.

Jun 12, 2009 | 1994 Honda Civic

2 Answers

My rx7 blows bule whight smoke when i let off

Hi Ross,

As a rule:
  • Black Smoke = Unburnt Fuel, incomplete combustion, bad mix
  • Blue Smoke = Burning Oil
  • White Smoke = Water Vapor, Water getting where it shouldn't be.
White smoke is common in cold weather when you first start your vehicle. It's from condensation. But it should stop as the engine warms up. If it doesn't, the moisture is from another source.


  1. Are the smoke episodes accompanied by a loss of power?
  2. Was your coolant level low before you changed the coolant?
  3. Did it overheat? Badly?
I'm leaning toward a partial failure of the head gasket. Here is some info, things to look for and tests to confirm.

  • Uncontained compression in one or more cylinders = lack of power
  • Coolant seeping into cylinders through the gasket breach creates white smoke
  • Oil seeping into cylinders creates blue smoke
Things to look for:
  • Coolant levels low. As the coolant is burned off, you'll notice the levels are lower
  • Oil in the coolant. If oil is present in the radiator, it's coming from the engine. Another indicator of a failed head gasket. Only a confirmation though, lack of oil does not rule out the possibility.
  • Water in the oil. Pull the oil dipstick. Is it milky and frothy, like it's been whipped? If so coolant is getting into the oil. Again, an indicator, not a confirmation of a blown head gasket.
  • Is the oil level dropping?
The quickest, easiest and (most importantly) cheapest confirmation of this is to run a compression test on each cylinder. I'm surprised your mechanic didn't suggest it.

The test should show high and fairly close compression (100psi or more) on all cylinders. If any of them are significantly lower, something is allowing the gasses to escape. Since piston ring failures would produce blue smoke, not white, that leaves the head gasket.

If you feel comfortable doing it yourself, testers are available at any auto parts store for under $30.00. If you don't, any shop can do it in under half an hour.

All this is to pin point the problem. Then you know what you are dealing with.

Comment me back with your findings.

Feb 03, 2009 | 1987 Mazda RX-7

1 Answer

White smoke coming from exhaust when accelerating

This is usually an indication of a bad head gasket.I gasket. The white smoke is the coolant leaking out of the engine and winding up in the oil passages, due to a bad head gasket. To confirm this,
1. check oil. Is level increased, or milky appearance?
2. Is coolant level dropping, but u don't see any signs of leaks?
The above indicates a bad head gasket, causing the white smoke u describe. Let me know how u make out.

Jan 03, 2009 | 1990 Nissan Pulsar

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