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Signs of Blown Head Gasket

My '96 Honda Accord has about 174,000 miles on it. Three weeks ago I checked my oil and the oil was black and way above the full level. I had also been adding 8-9 ounces of coolant previous to checking the level.

My coolant temp gauge has never gone beyond normal range. Two mechanics said I had a blown head gasket. I decided to change the oil and filter and only put in 4 quarts of oil. The level is only up about 1/4 inch level and the rest of the dipstick is completely clear. My friends also checked and it is so clean, like there is no oil in the car, but I have no signs of oil leaking. My oil pressure gauge shows normal pressure.

I continue to add 2-3 ounces of coolant each week. Early in the morning the engine shudders a minute or two before calming to a normal idle. I only drive around town a little, 75 miles a week. Can I continue running the car in this condition? If so, for how long? There is nothing else wrong with the car. Is it worth repairing?

Thanks! Any help is much appreciated.

I would agee with the head gasket diagnosis. If the head gasket is bad, coolant is seeping into one or more cylinders and the coolant is getting on the firing tip of the spark plug of the cylinder. After the engine runs for a minute, the coolant is blown off the firing tip and the plug fires normally. I had a similar problem with a 1990 Ford Aerostar minivan. Fortunately the minivan was under warrranty. The dealer replaced the head gasket on the cylinder bank that gave the problem and the problem cleared up for about 6 months and then returned. When the dealer pulled the head the second time, the service department found that the cylinder head had a hairline crack. The service manager also claimed that enough coolant had leaked into the cylinder to score the cylinder wall. The entire engine was replaced at this point at no cost to me.
If you are lucky, you may only need a head gasket, but have it replaced before you ruin the engine as happened in my case.

@EdnCali I would say your headgasket is definitely blown.

There are several chemicals available that supposedly “fill in” the blown out portion. Of course it’s a gamble. At this point you have nothing to lose by trying some of that stuff. I’ve never used any of these things, so I can’t recommend a particular brand.

It might be worth repairing the car, in my opinion. Keeping that car going is cheaper than buying another one, I’d say. If you do get it fixed (and I’m not talking about that bandaid I mentioned), get the coolant system flushed, replace the cap and thermostat, and do another oil and filter change.

If you keep driving the car without doing anything, you might kill the engine.

I have seen firsthand that Bar’s Leak worked for a friend. No more coolant loss.
If it works, best $10 you’ll ever spend. Please update this thead.

No harm to try the Bar’s Leak or an equivalent product. It might yield tens of thousands of miles more use, but eventually you’ll have to replace the gasket based on the symptoms you report. Has this engine ever overheated? If so, that pretty much nails it.

There are testing gadgets that can be used to confirm a heat gasket is failing. Here’s one for example …