How to Tell If Your BMW Has a Blown Head Gasket

BMW may have the words “motor works” in their name, but no motor is impervious to damage. Many BMW fans prefer to keep older cars in their garage for the nostalgia and tactile driving experience they deliver. However, as cars age, they become more susceptible to breakdowns. One part that could break on older or higher mileage cars is the head gasket.

Head gasket failure is one of the most ominous issues that car owners deal with, but it doesn’t have to result in a totaled car. If you know what signs to look for to identify a leaking or blown gasket in your BMW, you can take steps to fix the problem before your situation becomes dangerous.

Here are a few signs to look for and some steps you can take to solve the problem.

Oil in All the Wrong Places

Your BMW’s head gasket has an important job to do. It serves to separate all of the passageways that move oil, coolant and fuel inside your car’s head.

When all of these fluids can do their jobs without mixing, your car is happy. A leaking head gasket can allow oil and coolant to mix, and that can result in some undesirable reactions. Your car may begin to misfire, and you may experience high engine temperatures for no reason. You may also notice white smoke coming from your vehicle’s exhaust.

Under the Hood

Additional signs will show themselves when you pop the hood on your BMW. When oil and coolant mix, the result is a white “mousse.” This substance is nothing like the one you put in your hair, but it’s very distinct. If you notice white residue around the head on your engine or floating on top of the oil when you remove your oil filler cap, it’s time to take some action to protect your engine.

Fixing a BMW Head Gasket

Like a severe disease, the key to successfully fighting head gasket failure is getting to it early. If you spot the signs mentioned here, but can still drive the car reasonable distances without overheating, you may not have to replace the head gasket.

Rather than performing an expensive replacement, you can try a liquid sealant. These gasket repair liquids have been developed over decades to remedy leaking heads, and some of them even use advanced reinforcing agents like carbon fiber or aramid. They’re easy to apply — simply pour in the liquid gasket and hold your car at a high idle for about fifteen minutes.

Replacement Gasket Costs

If you can’t drive the car for more than a few minutes without it overheating, you may need to seek out a new head gasket for your Bimmer.

While the part itself is only moderately expensive, the labor involved in replacing it will set you back a few shillings — the cost to replace a BMW head gasket can quickly climb to more than $2000. Depending on which model and year car you have, you may be required to visit the dealership to have the service performed.

Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid dealing with head gasket issues. To keep your BMW running cool and happy, keep an eye out for these signs and make sure to have it regularly serviced.