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Your Options for Fixing a Blown Head Gasket

Your car’s head gasket is a simple piece of metal coated in a rubber-like material, and yet head gasket failure is one of the single most crippling ailments an engine can face. We talk to customers every day about it. To understand why this is such a big deal, you need to understand the important role your head gasket plays in your engine’s health.

Your Options for Fixing a Blown Head Gasket

What Does a Head Gasket Do?

In the simplest terms, your engine can be separated into two major sections. The top of the engine, where valves control airflow in and out of the cylinders and fuel is introduced to the cylinder bank, is called the head. The bottom of the engine is much larger by volume, and is where the cylinders and pistons that convert fuel into forward motion live.

For proper engine function, there must be an airtight seal between these two sections. Your head gasket ensures that seal is maintained, but after years of wear and use, gaskets can dry out, crack and fail. When this happens, oil, coolant and fuel end up in the wrong places and the risk of overheating becomes extremely high.

Paying a mechanic to repair the gasket with a new part can be extremely expensive (and may not be worth it if budgets are tight or the car is not worth the cost of repair), but depending on the severity of the failure, there are some alternative options to consider.

As you can see, the first step if you believe your car is suffering from gasket failure is to evaluate the severity of the damage. If your car overheats in a very short time ( les than 15-20 minutes), you will most likely need to have a mechanic replace the factory gasket, which can cost up $1,500 to $3,000 (possibly more for some luxury brands.)

With such a high cost, you can see how a gasket failure can effectively total a car.

Repair Options

Not every case of head gasket failure is a guaranteed dent in your wallet, though. If your car can run safely for longer than 15 minutes without overheating, there are chemical repair products designed to seal the leak without the need to disassemble your engine. In fact, even those with hardly any mechanical knowledge can install the fix themselves.

Bar’s Leaks offers a line of do-it-yourself fixes designed to help victims of gasket failure avoid breaking the bank. Our Head Seal (HG-1), Head Gasket Fix (1111) and Head Gasket Repair (1100) products can all be installed at home and are designed to make your escape from head gasket problems as painless as possible.

Installing the Correct Bar’s Leaks Product

The strongest of our head gasket solutions is the HG-1 Head Seal Blown Head Gasket Repair formula, and it’s a commercial/pro-strength product. This is what recommend for cars that can run between 15 and 20 minutes without overheating. Tech-proven HG-1 Head Seal Blown Head Gasket Repair is formulated with carbon fiber that reinforces the seal once applied, and is safe to use with all types of coolant. Installation is done by pouring the liquid into your car’s coolant tank and then allowing the liquid to circulate by holding the car at a high idle for about 15 minutes. There is no need to drain the cooling system first.

Make sure you apply HG-1 Head Seal in a well-ventilated area. Performing installation in a closed garage not only exposes you to potentially harmful fumes, but can also put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If your car can run without overheating for longer than 15 minutes, Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Fix (1111) and Head Gasket Repair (1100) offer more affordable options.

If you’re seeing signs of a minor-to-moderate gasket leak, but can drive for a decent amount of time without overheating (around 20 minutes), consider Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket Fix (1111). Head Gasket Fix is incredibly easy to install — just ensure there’s room in your car’s coolant tank and pour it in. Things don’t get much simpler than that, and for this reason Head Gasket Fix is the bestselling head gasket product we’ve ever developed.

Those in the borderline area of just over 20 minutes should use Head Gasket Repair, which requires the removal of your car’s coolant to apply. Head Gasket Repair is reinforced, much like HG-1. However, it uses Aramid — a high-tech fiber similar to the Kevlar found in bulletproof vests — to form a stronger bond. It’s a very strong product, but installation is just a little more demanding (but still easy enough for most to do at home.)

Every car is different, and you’ve got to be smart about how you choose to repair yours if you suspect a blown head gasket. Technology hasn’t solved head gasket problems entirely just yet, but our line of Bar’s Leaks chemical sealants has gotten pretty close – so much so that they’re used by race clubs, off-road clubs, and even in military applications. If you’ve got a head gasket leak that needs fixing, we can help. Contact us if you have questions or would like some feedback on the problem you’re dealing with.

Why Does an Automatic Transmission Leak?

1420An automatic transmission is a hard-working part of any vehicle. Multiple gears are spinning at high speeds as you drive, and these gears need constant lubrication. That’s what your automatic transmission fluid is for — to help dissipate the heat generated from the mechanical movement.

Many modern automatic transmissions are sealed and shouldn’t require regular service, but that doesn’t mean they can’t suffer a leak. Older transmissions are obviously more prone to leaks and need to be checked frequently for the proper transmission fluid level.

Running an automatic transmission with low (or no) fluid is a big no-no. Your transmission isn’t designed to operate without fluid, and when the oil isn’t present to lubricate the gears, metal-on-metal contact occurs immediately. The result is damaged gears that necessitate a transmission rebuild that can run into the thousands of dollars. In some cases, the cost is so high that a new or rebuilt transmission is the only option, which still costs thousands of dollars for most vehicles.

All that can be avoided if you use Bar’s Leaks automatic transmission fluid leak products as soon as you detect a leak. Be sure to check your ATF level often and inspect it for leaks. At the slightest hint of a leak, seal it up for good before it even becomes a problem. That will help ensure your transmission always has enough fluid to keep it running smoothly, durably and efficiently.

There are a few symptoms that can indicate an automatic transmission fluid leak, including a visible puddle of oil under your vehicle, a rough-shifting transmission or decreased fuel economy, especially on the highway. If you detect any of these problems, you can always get a second opinion from a transmission repair shop.

Our only suggestion? Don’t let them tell you that you need a physical repair to your transmission! While damage can occur after prolonged driving of a car with low automatic transmission fluid, always get a second opinion before agreeing to transmission repairs. If you catch your leak when it first starts, chances are you don’t need to physically repair your transmission.

1420Instead, choose from these different automatic transmission fluid leak solutions:

  • One Stop Leak Repair: This multi-use product works equally well on automatic transmission fluid, engine oil and power steering fluid.
  • ATF Repair: Carefully formulated for automatic transmission fluid leaks, this product is the fast and sure way to get back on the road.
  • ATF Repair Concentrate: Our most powerful automatic transmission fluid leak product, it will seal mild to moderate leaks in just a few minutes.

You’ve identified your leak, chosen your product, now all that’s left is to place your order. If you have any questions, our professional, knowledgeable staff will be more than glad to answer them for you. We want you to come to trust Bar’s Leaks for all of your automotive and hydraulic fluid leaks. We’ve built our reputation over nearly seven decades by providing great value and a reliable product. Find out for yourself today!

Symptoms of a Power Steering Leak

1600Modern cars come equipped with a power steering system to make driving at low speeds a breeze. While some make use of electric steering assist, the bulk of cars on the road today use a hydraulic oil to provide power assist when you turn the steering wheel. Like with any fluid under your hood, your power steering fluid needs to be at the right level to function properly. There are several symptoms of a power steering leak you can watch out for as a hint that your system needs attention:

  • Low fluid level: Most people check their oil and coolant level frequently, but they forget to check their power steering fluid level. However, it is critical to safe steering and the longevity of your power steering rack. Driving your car with low or missing power steering fluid can result in costly repairs. Your power steering reservoir is equipped with a level indicator, so be sure to check it from time to time. Since your power steering system is sealed, missing fluid means there’s a leak somewhere.
  • Leaking fluid: It can be tempting to ignore a few drops of oil under your car. You might assume it comes from an oil change or oil level check, but it’s always important to try and identify the type of oil and source of the leak. Wipe down your power steering reservoir and lines as well as possible and check frequently for new traces of leaking oil. Many of the oils under your hood appear the same color, so look closely at your reservoir and lines to determine if it’s coming from your power steering circuit or not.
  • A squealing noise: Older cars are especially susceptible to ‘power steering squeal’ when the fluid level gets low. It can vary from an occasional chirp to a shrill, eardrum-popping shriek, especially during low-speed maneuvers when parking. Other times it will be more of a dull whine when you have your steering wheel turned all the way left or right. In all cases, this means your power steering fluid is getting low, and you need to top up your fluid and stop the leak, wherever it is.
  • Decreased steering performance: At this point, it means your power steering fluid is dangerously low. You might not notice much steering performance difference on the highway, but in town and when parking, you’ll have to put in a lot more effort to turn your steering wheel. You risk damaging your steering fluid rack if you operate your vehicle at this stage, so make sure you get off the road and parked safely as soon as possible. Often this means you have a moderate power steering fluid leak that needs attention.

1630Once you’ve detected your power steering fluid leak, the repair is simple. Choose one of our Bar’s Leak power steering products and get back on the road in just a few minutes:

You don’t need automotive expertise. You just need a bottle of one of our proven leak seal products. Trust Bar’s Leaks for all of your under-hood oil and fluid leak concerns!

How to Fix an Antifreeze Leak in Your Car

1150Have you ever started your car to find the ‘Low Coolant’ light come on or discovered a large pool of coolant under your vehicle? Have you been driving down the road and noticed the ‘Check Engine’ light come on?

If you have, you know what a hassle it is. Running low on coolant is at the very least an inconvenience, and in extreme cases, it can damage your engine and result in high repair costs. It’s important to frequently inspect your vehicle for coolant problems and make sure you stop them as soon as they start. There are several ways to fix an antifreeze leak in your car, but you have to start by identifying the source of the leak.

Antifreeze can leak from your car:

  • At the radiator: The most common source of leaks is your radiator itself. Many modern radiators have an aluminum core (the tubes and fins) and crimped-on plastic tanks. Older vehicles may have welded aluminum tanks, while even older cars might have a copper radiator. In all cases, a leak can occur at any of the joints in the radiator itself or where the tanks connect to the radiator.
  • At the reservoir and hoses: Antifreeze leaks are also common at the various connections between your rubber hoses and the engine, antifreeze reservoir, heater core, thermostat housing or radiator. Over time, hoses can get hard and brittle, and clamps can loosen slightly, allowing antifreeze to leak out. Some of these are easy to inspect, while others are difficult to access and inspect from under the hood.
  • At the head gasket: This is one of the most troubling locations for an antifreeze leak. Often when a cylinder head gasket leak starts, it’s not long before you have major coolant loss. And while it’s bad enough if the coolant leaks outside of your engine, if it leaks inside, you will see a reduction in power, increased emissions and the potential for major engine damage due to mixing oil and coolant.

G12BPOnce you’ve identified the source of your antifreeze leak, you’ll be glad to know that the hard work is done! All that’s left is to choose the right Bar’s Leak product for your type of leak. We have proven chemical formulations specifically formulated for all the possible antifreeze leak situations under your hood:

With these and other Bar’s Leaks products available to you, fixing your car’s antifreeze leak is a cinch. We’ve been making ‘3-minute mechanics’ out of customers for 69 years, and we can make one out of you, too! Order your Bar’s Leaks antifreeze leak solution today, and you’ll be ready at a moment’s notice to take care of any antifreeze leak that sneaks up on you.

What Can Cause an Antifreeze Leak From Your Car?

1150Antifreeze is critical to safe operation of your vehicle. It protects your engine from overheating by taking the heat from your engine and cooling it with the outside air flowing through your radiator. It also keeps your cooling system water from freezing in cold temperatures. Additionally, it acts as a rust inhibitor inside your engine, piping and radiator. As an important under-hood fluid, your antifreeze needs to be checked regularly, especially on older vehicles.

An antifreeze leak can be caused by many different things:

  • A blown head gasket can allow your coolant and engine oil to mix. This is dangerous for your engine and can cause a major catastrophic failure. Even if it doesn’t cause a breakdown right away, you will see your fuel economy drop, your engine performance suffer and your emissions go sky-high.
  • A blown head gasket can also allow coolant to leak to the outside of your engine and onto the ground. This will result in a low coolant level and decreased cooling of your engine. If you drive even for a short time without enough coolant, your engine can seize or die altogether.
  • An antifreeze leak can occur through a hole in your radiator. Corrosion of your radiator tubes or damage because of stones or debris can create a leak. You may also see a leak between the tank and radiator body over time, as the sealing gasket wears out.
  • You can also have antifreeze leaks at the various hose attachment points. Over time, your hoses get hard and brittle, and as a result, coolant can sometimes leak out where they join with your water pump, heater core, radiator or engine.

1196No matter what the cause, the result is the same: potential damage to your engine if you drive without the correct amount of coolant. This isn’t just a problem in winter, either. The name ‘antifreeze’ might make you assume it’s only critical in winter, but your antifreeze (also called engine coolant) is critical when it’s hot out as well to remove the heat generated by your engine. Your coolant needs to be in tip-top condition all year round.

In the case of a small leak at a radiator hose, it might be possible to tighten the clamp and stop the leak. In most antifreeze leak conditions, however, you only have two options: repair with expensive, time-consuming physical repairs to the hoses, gaskets or parts that are leaking or use a bottle of Bar’s Leak.

HDCWe carry many different products for various antifreeze leaks, including these popular solutions:

We can stop mild to moderate antifreeze leaks with our affordable, easy-to-use Bar’s Leaks products designed to work quickly and give you years of leak-free driving. Trust the company with 69 years of experience in the business and some of the most advanced chemical formulations on the market.