Land Rovers are vehicles with a fascinating history of wars, functionality, and family transport since the 80’s. They are reliable, sturdy, spacious, and stylish too with plenty of luxury for those who enjoy comfort. However, no manufacturer can be held to perfection. Every vehicle line will have its own foibles and common parts failures. In the case of Land Rovers, one of their common faults is the head gasket. In this article we will take a look at some of the top reasons why your head gasket might fail in your Rover and where to go for help in trusted repairs.
What is the head gasket?
The head gasket makes an essential seal between the engine block and the cylinder head. It is situated between these 2 parts. Essentially, the head gasket is a machine casting for an internal combustion engine, which has circular bored holes that host the pistons. A fully-functioning head gasket is able to maintain a tight seal to prevent leakage between the two crucial engine parts, ensuring maximum compression. The head gasket needs to be structurally sound itself, as it comes in to contract with a variety of compounds such as water, oil, coolant, exhaust gasses, and fuel.
What causes head gasket failure?
There are 4 key causes of head gasket failure in Land Rovers: lack of water, poor coolant condition, deterioration of oil, and failure of the thermostat. Each of these deserve their own attention to understand better, so let’s break it down:
Lack of Water Can be Caused by:
- Poor maintenance (not topping up the water)
- Leaky water pump
- Leak in the coolant system hoses
- Pressurization of the water reservoir bottle
- Deteriorated head gasket, which causes water to leak into the oil
Poor Antifreeze (Coolant) Efficiency Can be Caused by:
- Incorrect antifreeze for your model of Land Rover
- Cheap antifreeze
- Expired/old antifreeze (coolant should be changed every 36,000 miles)
- Antifreeze running low
- Watered-down antifreeze
Oil Deterioration Can be Caused by:
- Old/expired oil (should be changed every 12,000 miles)
- Contaminated oil
- Poor quality/cheap oil
- Incorrect oil for your vehicle
- Oil levels running low
- Increase of heat in the engine, due to various reasons
- Fan not running appropriately
How to properly care for your Land Rover’s head gasket
There are many ways in which you can ensure you Land Rover’s head gasket is well-maintained, including both simple maintenance practices and professional servicing. Let’s take a look at seven of the easiest ways to maintain your head gasket:
- Routinely change the head gasket after 75,000 to a modified multi-layer gasket, as preemptively replacing the head gasket is far cheaper than waiting for it to fail first.
- Check your Land Rover’s water level on a weekly basis, noting any atypical usage as well as any contamination such as from oil.
- Always use the coolant recommended by your manufacturer and ensure the water reservoir is well topped up.
- Make sure to check your oil level weekly, keeping your eye out for contaminants such as water.
- Have your oil professionally changed every 12,000 miles for quality purposes.
- Get into the habit of watching your temperature gauge to ensure your Land Rover isn’t running hotter than recommended.
- Stop driving your Land Rover and seek professional maintenance if you notice your vehicle begins to overheat regularly, as this can cause all manner of severe issues such as severe engine wear or even failure. You should also seek professional help if you are losing an abnormal amount of water or notice your oil and water are mixing, as these are clear indications that the head gasket is allowing leaks to occur. This could mean severe damage to your Land Rover’s engine. Seek a professional mechanic familiar with your Land Rover immediately.
Mark Douglas MotorWerks
For over 15 years, Mark Douglas MotorWerks has serviced the cars of California, offering top-tier servicing to those living in and around the Orange County area, including: Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Laguna Hills and Laguna Nigel, CA. We are specialists in European cars to include Land Rovers. We offer a 24,000/2-year warranty and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all repairs. We have an overall 5-star rating across all of our reviews. Let us become your trusted Land Rover mechanic for all your repair and maintenance needs.