What are the signs I would need Head Gasket repair


Asked by Feb 09, 2014 at 05:26 PM about the 2003 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I was told I needed head gasket repair a year ago what does that do and I didn't do it yet
have I ruined the car  how do I know I need this work done.

23 Answers


Are you loosing any coolant? Is it smoking white smoke? Is it driving normally? The answers to these question will help us figure out if the head gaskets are bad. Why did they say you needed them?

18 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful

I did have a coolant leak my car was over heating but repaired and heater was not working

6 people found this helpful.

Also drives fine or normal no problems no white smoke

4 people found this helpful.

Ok so now you have heat and you are not loosing any coolant. Oh forgot to mention. What does your oil look like? Is it normal looking or does it look like a milkshake? If oil looks normal and car is not smoking or loosing any coolant then I would say you do not have a head gasket issue.

3 people found this helpful.

I also have same thing going on my 2002 nissan altima 2.5 automatic, I have coolant in the #2 cyc, the car was giving to me, but oil looks good, its little black but no milky whatsoever, but i guess still have a blown head gasket?, what are my options and what should I do to have it back on the road without the issue again. It has 106k miles.

15 people found this helpful.

Coolant on plug? Time for head gasket. Sometimes they just go. But most times it is due to overheating.

3 people found this helpful.

Had the same issue. there is a class action lawsuit against nissan for a defect in the engine that not only causes the head leak but also the catalytic converter failing resulting in the porcelean particles to be sucked back into the intake via the egr and initally sanding the engine down from the inside causing total engine failure. I took mine to a service shop for the cylinder head gasget issue and he thought he fixed the problem not knowing about the converter issue. within one week, my son complaiined he saw a puff of white smoke, then loss of power and engine died. I could not find anything wrong but a day or 2 later he called me and said he was fogging everyone behind him... had it towed to the service shop and they thought they missed something and assumed responsibilty for the mistake and put an engine in it no charge!!... my son ran it thinking it was ok and it started smoking again. towed again to the shop and ...total engine failure... nissan has screwed everyone and will not admit design flaw since it will kill them for a recall.

11 people found this helpful.

We bought a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 automatic in 2010. It had 95000 miles on it. We found there is no heat in winter. Later we fixed the heat problem by adding coolant periodically. In last four weeks, we started experiencing rough start problem. Now, we see smoke coming out of engine head when the engine just started. Guess that's the end of it. It has 145000 miles now.

10 people found this helpful.

While car is cold check radiator fluid. and motor oil if any of those has a mayonnaise looking grease. head gasket is bad mixing coolant and oil. there is different combinations of (b.h.g) water vapor coming from exhaust, lost of power. 100% bad head gasket.>>note << little white grease in radiator, sometime car mix a little transmission oil. because trany oil cooling run thru radiator. diagnosed all fluids before a conclusion.. I hope this information helps....

4 people found this helpful.

I have a question, I'm thinking of purchasing a 2005 Altima. The guy said the head gasket needs to be replaced and there's a little oil leak. Should I risk it or not?

10 people found this helpful.

@margi3308, Congrats for knowing in advance, pls don't go near that car especially if the head is gone, you will spend more to keep it running and you will regret going that route. You mechanic will also warn you or just ask any mechanic that is not after your money. I have one that I drive I.e Altima 2005 and I'm already counting down due to 240k mileage on it, I put a lot on it and I fix most things I can myself, presently I'm battling a well know vibration at idle problem, but @ 240k I can't complain. Lot of cars with head gasket problems in junk yards, don't waste your money.

1 people found this helpful.

Oh wow i am so sorry to hear a lot of people have had the same problem that i have just experience with mine. I bought a 2002 Nissan Altima from a guy. I have been driving the car for 6 months no problems until now. Two weeks before my car stop working it started to run hot. I made sure that i had enough fluid in the car but i was told i needed to fill the radiator with water..... So water was put in for the first time....A week later my gasket blew.....Water in my spark plugs.....Can you say upset i spent 2300 on the car cash....to me it was worth it nice body paint......I was told that the cadillac converter is what caused me to blow a head....My car did not tell me that it was over heating it just died.....Well i could go on and on about my nissan i don't really want to junk my car because i know that i won't get anything for it......It's paid for..... I think that i am going to replace that cadillac converter first then i will have to see if the head can be fixed i may not have to replace the whole motor......I just want to fix what caused the problem so it won't happen no time soon......I was told once again the cadillac converter has to be replace....I hope that i can get this car back running.

2 people found this helpful.

@Tandra don't waste your time


@Tandra unless you can do it all yourself which is this case it would be 1000-1500 worth of repairs and time. Now if you. Have to pay someone it'll be 2500-5000 just buy a new car in this case. Which I have the 3.5 SE as well I just chAnged all four of my catalytic converters just to get what I think is a blown header as well as faulty injectord and once again a failing spark plugs for the 6tth time and I already did tune up and everything they are such problematuc cars

1 people found this helpful.

I have a 2002 nissan altima 2.5 havent had this problem had work done to it my car was ticking when i started my car up on and white smoke was coming from my pipe.some said that its my motor.i put so much into my car i heard them are problem cars and they have recalls on nissan.i dont want to give my car up i want to fix the problem...

1 people found this helpful.

I just bought a 05 nissan altima with a 2.5 and it drove good for a day. Now at idle, it has heavy white smoke and even when I rev the engine. The oil is clean, no air bubbles in the radiator and no mixing of fluids. I am stuck and not too sure what direction to go. Please help!

7 people found this helpful.

Have 03 Nissan Altima just put water pump in and had both thermostats put in bled my car for 30 min heat was hot really hot then next day warmed my car up heat was nice and hot drove it all day til about later that day when I stop at light it started going cool then when hit gas it gets hot again I’m so lost and so is the shop please someone help me

1 people found this helpful.

I have a 2002 sentra spec v 2.5 and I have some sort of engine problem I believe. Car was running fine, I had a engine code for a bad cat, and got it fixed within about two months. About a week later my engine shut off while sitting a stop light. I can't really trace the problem back anywhere and now I have a no crank no start. Please help ?

I replaced my radiator, and fuel pump. My 2009 Nissan altima still want start but it will crank.no smoke or anything. Someone please help

Replaced radiator and will not crank and milky substance in oil stick.2007 Nissan altima

What is this white wheet like warning symbol in my 2008 Nissan Sedan Altima :::::: I just had my manifold welded for there was a crack in it ..... At first they thought that I needed a new catalytic converter. Apparently - The catalytic converters do NOT go bad ..... Usually something else like 02 sensors or something. So after the welding a new O2 sensor was put on ...... The whole idea was to remove all warning symbols - Especially the SERVICE YOUR ENGINE SOON and to pass the Emissions test. Well the dam SERVICE YOUR ENGINE SOON is on again with that little white wheel - What ever it is ...... Less than a week and before I have to take it back can someone suggest something to me .... Oh and I noticed that my engine coolant was low. Will this do that ???

White smoke out muffler? If you know you're head is not blown and you're blowing white smoke it's due to the spark plug seals that are built in to valve cover. Cost $130 or so for valve cover and could be done in 20-40 mins. Minimum mechanical skills required for this! Just watch what you're doing and work smart and cautiously.

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