A blown head gasket causes the vehicle to lose compression and sometimes makes starting difficult. Continuing to operate a vehicle with this issue leads to complete engine failure as coolant and oil mix. Combustion gases cause corrosion of the cooling system while water causes corrosion in the cylinders, according to AutoRepairKey.com.
Other signs of a head gasket problem include unexplained loss of coolant, a sweet antifreeze smell and rough idle. As the coolant leaks, the engine is likely to overheat. Removal of the oil dipstick often reveals a milky or frothy look to the oil. Leaks into the cylinder often increase oil consumption. As oil leaks into the radiator, opening the cap or viewing the coolant recovery tank reveals oil floating on the coolant. Due to the vaporization of water in the cylinders, the car produces white smoke even after it reaches normal operating temperature.
The most likely initial cause of a blown head gasket is engine overheating. Replacing the gasket requires cleaning the remains of the previous one without leaving any remains of the gasket or scratches on the metal and tightening bolts in a specific sequence. Failure to follow proper procedure often results in a second blown gasket, creating more damage to the engine.