How do I know that I need to repair my Head Gasket?


Asked by Jun 05, 2017 at 05:46 PM about the 2004 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I couple of weeks ago my starter died in my car. My dad and i replaced it
and he drove it home. Well as soon as he started it and began to drive,
there was alot of white smoke coming from the exhaust pipe. It was running
really hot, and i didn't have and water in my overflow tank. I let the car sit
for a couple of weeks, and today i started it and drove it. I didn't notice any
smoke, but i noticed that it was getting hot. I put some water in the over
flow tank, which made it cool off some. But, i'm not sure if its something i
can temporarily fix, or if i need to replace it all together.

10 Answers


White smoke is a bad sign. Is there oil in the coolant or coolant in the engine oil?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I noticed that my oil was a little lighter then normal. But it's not overheating as bad as it was now. I just drove it some and I noticed when it gets really hot my engine will die. I just changed the starter but it's having trouble turning over.


Try some anti-leak in the radiator which MIGHT buy you a little time.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Is there a specific brand you would recommend?


I use Alumaseal but other people on this forum have their favorites.


I'll have to try it. I noticed that if I run my car for a bit and it gets real hot, my car has a lot of trouble starting. I keep checking my radiator to make sure there's water in it but so far each time I've checked it it was gone. There's water in my over flow tank but I'm not sure what's going on.


Don't over heat your engine! You may end up with a $5,000 repair.


I won't. I've limited my driving to only a have to. I just notice it when I drive a long period of time.

If white smoke is coming out of your exhaust ( bad head/gasket ) If oil is over full it can cause it to smoke also Check plugs for fouling , or clean plug if plug is cleaner then other. Leaking coolant into piston will clean plug and cause a misfire to that piston If coolant is in oil it will be extra full and turn milky If oil is in coolant it will be in the radiator also ( bad head/gasket) Please don't use radiator/head stop leak) it can clog heater core, radiator,and make car run hot with no heat inside the cab of car

If you are replacing head/gasket it is good to replace the timing chain also

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