Problems with your Land Rover can be expensive to fix. But you can often reduce the cost, as well as the damage by spotting these issues before they develop into something severe and costly.
One area in particular that causes significant issues is the head gasket. If this fails, you can soon see your Land Rover encountering a variety of leaks and engine problems that may cause lasting damage to your vehicle.
In this edition of our blog, we look at the Land Rover head gasket and how you could be aware it is failing as well as how you may be able to prevent it from wearing out before it should.
What is the Land Rover head gasket?
The head gasket of a Land Rover is an essential part of the vehicle that seals the engine block and cylinder. A head gasket fitted correctly, and in good working order, maintains a tight seal between these parts and, as a result, stops leaks of oil and coolant, regulates engine temperature, allows proper compression, and ensures the combustion chambers are sealed.
A faulty head gasket can very quickly see an engine overheat, harmful gases leak, and the vehicle lose compression and stall.
Spotting signs of these problems early can be a huge money saver and ensure your vehicle remains in good condition.
What can cause the failure of a Land Rover head gasket?
A variety of things can cause the head gasket on your Land Rover to fail. Most will exhibit clear signs that something isn’t right before the head gasket expires. Once we have covered the common causes of failure, we will dive into how you may recognize a head gasket is failing.
Wear and tear
As with any part of any machine, parts can suffer wear and tear and eventually succumb to deterioration. With your Land Rover engine being heated and cooled constantly, it can simply give up and stop working.
Your Land Rover engine may be put through its paces, but there are measures in place to ensure that it can handle what is thrown at it. It is when those measures begin to falter that the head gasket fails. The excessive heat generated by an engine is regulated to keep the vehicle running but when the radiator is faulty, there is insufficient coolant, the thermostat fails, or the cooling fans don’t work, there is nothing to keep the engine temperature down. Once it begins to overheat, the stress on the seal of the head gasket becomes so much that it will warp or crack. Fluids can then get where they shouldn’t, and cause a long-lasting and expensive problem.
Unfortunately, some models of Land Rover, whilst visually impressive, were not too great under the bonnet. Inefficient materials for the construction of the head gasket for example saw some editions suffer much more than others.
So how can you spot that your head gasket may be on its way out? Let’s have a look.
Signs your Land Rover head gasket is failing
There are perhaps three key indicators that the head gasket on your Land Rover could be on its way to the scrap heap.
If when you get the engine running you spot white smoke coming from the exhaust, there is every chance you have a coolant leak. Coolant burns up and produces white smoke, and as it leaks into the combustion chambers, it makes its way out through your exhaust.
Have you refilled your coolant a lot recently? You could be struggling with an undetected leak. When the engine coolant is too low, the engine will overheat. This should be given particular attention as if you can’t see the leak, the liquid could be heading anywhere.
The more a head gasket starts to falter, the more the system fails to keep temperatures regulated. If you spot that your Land Rover is regularly overheating or your temp gauges are much higher than normal, you could have a problem that needs to be dealt with.
Can you repair a Land Rover head gasket by yourself?
It would not be recommended. Instead, you should speak to a Land Rover service specialist. Many faults may be spotted by you quite easily. Treating them though is something vastly different. The engineers at a Land Rover service centre will use specific professional equipment to diagnose and fix the problem. This means your Land Rover is repaired to the best possible standards. In some cases, the same symptoms that illustrate a head gasket fault are also common with other engine faults. It could prove extremely costly if you were to attempt a head gasket repair yourself only to find that there is a totally different problem to actually contend with.
Some fixes you can do by yourself, but it would always be advised to seek advice first. Replacing worn hoses and adding cooling system additives for example, can go some way to enhancing the life of your head gasket.
How can I help prevent damage to the head gasket of my Land Rover?
Good vehicle care is paramount to ensuring your Land Rover doesn’t end up costing huge sums to maintain or end up on the scrap heap prematurely. There are a few things you can do:
- Check the water levels of your Land Rover weekly. Note if you spot unusual amounts being used up or whether oil has got into it.
- Check your oil level weekly. Look out for signs of water in the oil.
- Stick to the correct coolant for your Land Rover.
- Change the oil every 12,000 miles. Ideally, have this done professionally.
- Monitor the temperature gauge in the vehicle, noting if the temperature gets much higher than it should.
- Plan to change the head gasket approximately every 75,000 miles. Doing this, even if your Land Rover is running fine is likely to be more cost-effective than having it fail on you and require an expensive repair.
- Stop using your Land Rover if you notice regular overheating, you are losing a high level of water, or you notice the oil and water have mixed. The leaks are a clear sign that the head gasket is not working as it should. When these occur, book an engineer to look at your vehicle.
If you have noticed any of the problems we have mentioned in this blog with your Land Rover, you should definitely speak with Land Rover experts RCV. With over 30 years of Land Rover servicing experience, our team can advise on the best solutions to the problems you are encountering. We also offer Land Rover MOTs, ensuring your vehicle remains roadworthy at all times. Only using approved genuine parts, or those that are OEM, you can trust RCV to make sure your Land Rover is in prime condition.