A Closer Look at an Engines "kidney"

by : Miranda Restelle

When a Volkswagen spews large amounts of white smoke out of its exhaust, it could mean a problem right at VW engine's kidney - the VW head gasket. Basically, VW head gaskets seal the cylinder heads to the engine blocks and also seal the coolant passages. When a gasket fails, coolants can enter the cylinder and will be turned to vapor as the engine ignites. Generally, a history of overheating results to eventual failure of head gaskets. Under extreme heat, the cylinder head can warp and prevent the engine head gasket from sealing properly.

Quality has never been stressed by German automobile manufacturer VW. Taking its roots from the progressive principles of the Nazi regime, VW has produced various lines of vehicles that embodied the high-standard and supremacy of old Germany. Today, in its quest for being the best, VW has endured the test of time and has become the fourth largest automobile manufacturer of passenger cars and Europe's largest auto-maker. VW is responsible for the sale and service of Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini. Known throughout the entire world for its blue VW logo, the company redefined innovation and efficiency in every vehicle that they have released in the market.

A head gasket can fail for a number of reasons - none of them good. Engine overheating is the most popular culprit, as mentioned in the introduction. In an event of engine overheating, the metal construction of the engine block and head expands beyond limits. Other major causes of head gasket failure are engine pre-ignition or detonation. The effect of these two conditions is out-of-time combustion occurring in the cylinders. Internal combustion is supposed to occur with both valves closed and with the piston at the top of its power stroke. Out-of-time combustion puts extra strain on the valves, pistons and head gasket. Ironically, engine overheating also increases the likelihood of pre-ignition and detonation. A pernicious sound of damage is characterized by the pinging or knocking sound of an engine.

replacement is not a job for the average VW owner. While a head gasket rarely expires due to age, it usually means everything else is worn out to the point of replacement as well. Cracking the head off and probing inside the engine may reveal that everything else were already "burned," too. Keeping the cooling system in top working order is the best way to prevent head gasket failure. It is also highly recommended to make sure that the engine is in tune and running correctly.Keeping the looks of a VW car will be put to a naught, if the internal problems are not addressed quickly. As probably one of the most sensitive part of the VW engine, the head gasket should always be on the maintenance list.