Author Topic: How long can I drive on a blown head gasket?  (Read 12135 times)

cksmd2010

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How long can I drive on a blown head gasket?
« on: April 19, 2011, 11:26:54 AM »
The head gasket in my 96 Saturn SL1 blew a few months ago. The repairs ended up being like $800 for a a $1200 car and now I think that the gasket is blown again. Its showing all the usual symptoms, overheating, milky sludge in the coolant reservoir, leaking coolant, and today white steam started coming from the tail pipe when I started it up. There is no way I can afford to put anything else into this car at this point, so my question is, how long can I keep driving this thing before it dies? I wouldn't be making any long trips. I work 3 miles from my house and probably wouldn't have to drive much more than 5 miles at a stretch. If I'm careful and make sure that I'm not driving when the engine temperature is in the red, and keep it topped off with oil and coolant, will it last me for awhile? Is there anything I can do to increase this car's lifespan that won't cost me a ton of money? Any advice anyone cares to give me would be most welcome.

Linkback: http://www.trustmymechanic.com/forum/b1/how-long-can-i-drive-on-a-blown-head-gasket/33648/
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by cksmd2010 »

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conniecartech

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Re: How long can I drive on a blown head gasket?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2011, 12:25:45 PM »
thats realya hard thing to say. it could last a little while, or it die for good tomorrow. theres realy no good way to tell.

what can happen is if u get too much coolant in the oil, it can score the cylinder walls and wear the walls and piston rings to the point where theres no compression and the car wont start or run. or if coolant gets in the combustion chamber, u can get a 'hydrostatic lock' which will seize up the engine and most likely throw a rod.

if u do keep driving it, for sure keep the oil and coolant full, and try to be as gentle as u can with it. but if u aint gonna put more money into repairs, its days is definately numbered, and u need to be prepared for it to just give it up at any time.

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dn4192

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Re: How long can I drive on a blown head gasket?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2011, 02:58:37 PM »
I had a 97 Ford Taurus that lasted over a year with a bad headgasket, i just kept a close eye on it, never took it up on the freeway's and such but mine did last a year and when I traded it in it was still running...

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discretesignals

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Re: How long can I drive on a blown head gasket?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2011, 06:13:17 PM »
You won't be going very much longer in that.  The coolant in the oil will destroy the bearings in no time.  You might even get to the point of hydro-locking and blowing a rod.  Start saving up for another engine.

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way2old

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Re: How long can I drive on a blown head gasket?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011, 06:37:04 PM »
Check the warranty on the repair.  A lot of dealers have 12 months 12,000 mile warranty on parts and labor.  If it was done by an independant shop, ask them about their warranty.  At least they may help some on the labor.

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