What Should You Do if the Engine Oil in Your Car Doesn't Look Right?
If you check the oil in your vehicle to find that it doesn't look right, consider if the engine temperature gauge has also been running high and if the car seems a little light on power. If not, you may simply need an oil change. However, if you've noticed the above issues and the oil has a milky brown look to it, then you probably shouldn't drive the vehicle. If you're comfortable doing major engine work in your garage, now is when you start investigating the dreaded possibility of a blown head gasket.
There are a lot of symptoms for a head gasket that needs replacement because this part is integral in keeping engine oil, coolant, and the combustion chambers separate. When a head gasket fails, oil and water can not only blend with each other, but they can also enter the cylinder's combustion chamber.
How Do You Know if a Vehicle's Head Gasket Needs to be Replaced?
Often, a cloud of smoke coming from your tailpipe, especially when accelerating from a stop, is a solid indication that something is entering the engine's cylinders that shouldn't be there. If the coolant and oil are not kept separate, then neither one is doing its job. This often results in the engine running hot. There is also a test available for engine coolant that determines if oil has gotten into the system.
What's Involved in Fixing a Bad Automotive Head Gasket?
Ultimately, replacing a head gasket means removing the cylinder head, installing a new gasket, and reassembling everything while precisely tightening the bolts in a specific pattern. Replacing a head gasket in a modern car is a bit different than in vehicles of past generations. Today's engines have advancements like variable valve timing, turbochargers, variable intake, and other systems that also must be moved or disassembled to get to the head gasket. This is why we recommend leaving big jobs like this to the experts who do it every day. That's what you'll find with the factory-trained technicians in your local authorized Volkswagen service center.