Small as it may be, a Mini Cooper is well known for holding its own when it comes to excellent performance. Like all European models, your Mini needs regular specialized care to ensure that you continue to enjoy excellent performance. Without this care, several parts of your Mini are left susceptible to wear and tear. One such part is the head gasket. This gasket ensures the Mini’s engine works as it should.
The head gasket in your Mini is located between cylinder heads and the engine block. This engine component is what is responsible for sealing the cylinder in order to prevent coolant and oil from leaking into the cylinders. By sealing the cylinders, the head gasket is also responsible for ensuring the engine maintains its compression.
A typical head gasket is made of three layers; two outer thin ones and a middle thick one. The outer steel layers are coated by a rubbery polymer that is meant to prevent the seal from grinding against the cylinder heads and the engine block.
The head gasket in your Mini wears out mainly because of overheating. The engine in your car produces a lot of heat when it runs. While part of this heat is used to power the car forward, the rest is cooled off in the radiator. When any part of the radiator doesn’t deliver as it should, the engine becomes too hot and the rubber polymer expands and contracts too often, causing it to dry out and start cracking. This heat can also cause warping in the cylinder heads and in turn blow out the head gasket.
When the head gasket in your Mini wears out there are some common signs that you’ll notice. Below are a few of these signs.
Because the head gasket prevents coolant from leaking into the engine cylinders, when it fails, overheating can happen. As a result, there won’t be enough coolant to take heat away from the engine to the radiator. There will be a build up of excess heat in the engine compartment. This is dangerous to the integrity of your Mini’s engine because excess heat can cause permanent engine damage. This could necessitate an engine rebuild if it warps or bends metal.
You may notice a puddle of a sweet-smelling, colorful fluid under your Mini after having parked for a long period. This could be coolant leaking out of your car’s radiator due to the inability of the head gasket to contain it in the cooling system.
If the leak causes the coolant to mix with transmission fluid, the pink, milky sludge can result in catastrophic engine damage. These two fluids mixing leaves your engine exposed to poor lubrication and cooling, not to mention the blending of oil in your coolant system, where it does not belong, ever. This can cause extensive damage to your engine and create expensive repairs.
When you have a worn head gasket, white smoke can become visible coming from the exhaust of your Mini. When the head gasket wears out, coolant fluid can find its way into the cylinder. Here, the coolant is turned into steam, which is then released out of the engine through the exhaust as white smoke.
White smoke from the exhaust of your Mini is enough reason to seek the help of a specialist immediately to prevent further damage to your car’s engine.
When the head gasket is unable to contain the oil in the cylinder heads, the oil may leak onto other parts of the engine or out to the ground. On the ground, you may notice a dark brown fluid pooled under the front of your Mini after having parked for a while. This fluid will have a rainbow hue on it if hit by light at certain angles. Oil leaking in the engine can be dangerous, as it can spark and start a fire in your engine.
Hagan’s Motor Pool for Quick and Professional Repairs
Give us a call if your European car is having head gasket issues or you have other concerns about car trouble. We will diagnose and fix any problems before any more significant damage befalls your engine. Call us today.