Head gasket

hello I have a question. on my car which never overheated but one day the overflow for the radiator started girgling and I turned off the car fast and brought to our mechanic and he advised that it was head gasket after changing hoses and water pump. when I first realized the girgling and shut off the car and never ran it again did i save the engine and replacing the head gasket is a good thing. also did I save the head from warping by my actions?

hope this question makes sense

thanks to anyone who can answer

Your actions were correct but there is no way of knowing if the head or block were damaged until the engine is checked by the mechanic. My guess…and it’s only a guess is that your engine will be OK. I wish more drivers would do as you did and this includes stopping the engine when the oil light comes on or the engine loses oil pressure as indicated by the oil pressure gauge. You did the right thing but there are no guarantees in life.

There should be no problem. If there is - it isn’t your fault.

Are you saying the mechanic replaced the water pump and hoses based on gurgling into the overlfow?

Was there any loss of coolant, drips on the ground, etc.?

The info is limited but this has a hint of guesswork about it and a lot of times the head gasket gets the blame for overheating when that is not the case. Bad thermostat, inoperative cooling fans, clogged radiator, etc, etc are possibilities as is a weak radiator pressure cap.

First thing he should have done was pressure test the system and cap. Did he? If not I’d be looking for a new mechanic.

sorry ok4450 yes the thermostat was changed as well nothing was leaking at all this is why I find the car was very strange in its own actions.

texases you are so right about finding another mech but I live in an area where he is the only mech who is right most of the time on whats wrong with cars but he’s also good priced. as far as a pressure test im sure he did when I brought the car back to him after the hoses and thermostat where changed. you guys are great and fun to talk to thankyou for your response

Consider getting the pressure cap checked as texases mentioned or just buy a new one and stick it on yourself. They’re cheap and easy to do although this should be done on a cold engine. There are tests that can be done to verify a head gasket issue so it should not be guess work.

Just a short tale about a cap oddity. We had a customer at a Subaru dealer who had been told by an independent shop that her car had failed head gaskets. The complaint was a random overheating and very sporadic loss of coolant. Initial tests showed no problem so we kept the car for a few days to sort it out.

We found out that the cap was the cause of the problem even though it tested fine. What would happen (and this was very random) was that on a hot day after the car was shut off the cap would hold pressure fine. At some point after shutdown (usually 5 or so minutes) the engine temperature would climb a bit due to coolant not dissipating engine heat through the radiator and that heat surge so to speak would cause the cap to release suddenly and gurgle coolant out for a few seconds.

I’ll bring up my story about the bad new thermostat again . . .

A few years ago, I changed the thermostat on one of my cars, as preventive maintenance. The car had absolutely no overheating problem, prior to the new thermostat. I simply replaced it because it was several years old, and I know that thermostats often get stuck or sluggish as they age

Anyways, after replacing the thermostat and burping the air out, the engine operated much hotter than before. The gauge kept going up and went into the red very quickly. I shut off the engine.

I brought the thermostat back to the store, with my receipt, and asked for another one, because this one was defective. They said I’m full of BS, but they’ll do me the favor, just this once. And they made sure that other customers in the store heard what an idiot I was

Guess what . . . that second thermostat worked flawlessly. No overheating. Back to normal

I don’t know exactly what was wrong with the first, faulty thermostat, but it obviously wasn’t regulating the temperature, worth a darn

I fully expect they reboxed that faulty thermostat and sold it to another customer. And that poor guy was probably wondering what the heck is going on.


I wonder if the thermostat they sold you was a faulty return or even a shined up old one that someone passed back onto them as being a faulty new one.

Like any production item there is going to be a certain percentage of bad ones even if they’re known to be brand new. I seem to recall getting a bad thermostat once but I cannot remember the vehicle in question.

Pretty low class of the store to say that you’re full of BS. My daughter was up visiting today and just went something vaguely similar with a chain tire store but that’s another story which has left me pxxxxxx off. Next time I’m down at her place I may drop in and see if they will repeat the comments to my face. Probably not.

@ok4450 "“Pretty low class of the store to say that you’re full of BS.”

Interestingly enough, it’s the same store that . . . later on . . . sold me the faulty lug nut, with the incomplete threads, the one that damaged the stud, because I didn’t think to look at the threads first. The same store that had an entire batch of bad lug nuts. The same one that refused to give me a stud, because their bad part ruined my stud. The same store that lost me as a customer, after that fiasco. The same store I go miles out of my way to avoid


I got a “brand new” set of brake pads from a major chain store a few years ago that had apparently been returned in the box the real new ones came in. They were well used. At least the store believed me when I took them back. They said it happens every once in a while.

What the returner probably didn’t know was that that store keeps track of all returns by name, or business with a signed receipt, bar code and the time of the return.

At least they gave you the right pads :smile:

Years ago (perhaps 18 or so) I picked up a set of front shocks for my truck at Sears… they had a good sale price. Come Saturday morning, I jacked the front of the truck up, removed the first wheel, removed the shock (thank God I actually removed the nut from the top instead of just cutting it off… it was the type with the stud on top), and took the new shock out of the box… wrong part entirely!! I reinstalled the old shock and drive to Sears to return the shocks for the right ones. The parts counter guy looked up the part number, got the new parts out of his inventory, and gave them to me. This time I took one out of the box before leaving the counter… totally wrong shock AGAIN!!! Totally different mount!!! The clerk then proceeded to tell me I was wrong, it was the RIGHT shock!! I simply demanded a refund, went to the local parts store and got the correct shocks, returning home and getting the job done.

That adventure taught me two lessons:
(1) always check the parts before leaving the store counter
(2) don’t buy parts at Sears.

That just happened to me yesterday. My place that I favor is pretty good about giving/ordering the right parts. I went in Friday for a Water pump on a 2003 Trail Blazer 4.2 not in stock but they could have it by 8am Saturday. I went to pick it up and was surprised to see him put such a large box on the counter (bigger than a case of oil) and this is one of the ones that insert into the pump body and can barely be seen until you remove the pulley.
At least they had the correct one in stock and I got that back to the shop. I dismantled everything and when I went to put the pump in…the gasket was totally different. Back to the parts house and then had to wait for an hour for their driver to bring another pump from another store.

I don’t know what the counter person was looking at when he ordered that 1st pump.


If you can, always take the old part with you to the car parts store, and compare them right there on the counter. Working at those stores is not a high pay job, and some pretty uneducated people end up there, so you should check their work before you leave. Finding out you have the wrong part, when you are home, under the vehicle, just trying to get the job done, is just not a good thing.