The Vauxhall Mokka is a popular small SUV in the UK, known for being comfortable and practical. However, as with any vehicle, it can experience mechanical issues. A common problem that may develop is with its head gasket. In this guide, we explore the Vauxhall Mokka head gasket problems in depth, including their causes, how to spot them, how to fix them, and how to help prevent them.
What is the Head Gasket?
The head gasket is a vital seal found between the engine block and cylinder head in all internal combustion engines. Its job is to seal the cylinders to ensure the best compression and stop oil or coolant from leaking.
On the Vauxhall Mokka, the head gasket seals where the cylinder head and engine block meet. This gasket is under a lot of stress from the high temperatures and pressures in the engine. Over time, this can lead to the gasket warping or breaking down.
Head gaskets are usually made of steel or copper between layers of rubber. However, some engines use lower quality materials like plastic, which fail more easily.
Why Do Mokka Head Gaskets Fail Prematurely?
Vauxhall Mokka head gasket problems are fairly common. Here are a few reasons why:
- Overheating: Running all the time without rest would tire anyone out. That’s what happens when a Mokka engine overheats often. It puts the gasket through constant stress, causing damage over time.
- High mileage: Everything has a lifespan, even tough parts like a Mokka head gasket. After 60,000 miles, the gasket has gone through many heat cycles.
- Poor servicing: Skipping coolant changes or engine servicing leads to faster head gasket damage.
- Manufacturing flaws: Sometimes it’s not the owner’s fault. Issues during production can lead to an imperfectly sealed gasket from the start.
A broken head gasket spells trouble for a Mokka. But knowing the warning signs helps find a solution. That’s what we’ll look at next.
Symptoms of a Failing Vauxhall Mokka Head Gasket
Here are some common indicators that the head gasket on your Vauxhall Mokka is failing:
- White exhaust smoke: After starting the engine, white exhaust smoke indicates that combustion gases are escaping into the cooling system. This is a sign of a failing head gasket.
- Engine overheating: The engine overheating is a sign that coolant is leaking internally instead of staying in the system. This indicates a head gasket failure.
- Oil contamination: Oil that looks milky brown means coolant has leaked into the oil. This points to a damaged head gasket.
- Coolant loss: Losing coolant with no leaks outside means compressed air is leaking into the cooling system. This suggests a blown head gasket.
- Misfires or rough running: The engine running unevenly or roughly shows that compression has dropped in the cylinders. This is a symptom of a deteriorating head gasket.
- Bubbles in coolant: Bubbles in the coolant mean exhaust gases have escaped into the cooling system through a breach in the gasket. This confirms a faulty head gasket.
Don’t ignore these signs or you risk damaging the engine further. Have a professional inspect your Mokka as soon as you notice any issues.
Diagnosing a Faulty Head Gasket
There are several ways to properly diagnose a leaking or blown head gasket on a Vauxhall Mokka:
- Visual Examination: I always start by thoroughly examining the engine bay, looking closely around the cylinder head for any obvious signs of external coolant or oil leakage. Outside leaks usually mean the gasket has failed.
- Pressure Testing: I pressure test the cooling system to check for improper pressure drops. Losing pressure means combustion gases are likely leaking inside past the head gasket into the coolant.
- Combustion Leak Testing: This involves adding fluorescent dye to the coolant, running the engine, and then checking for traces of the dye in the oil or exhaust. Finding the dye confirms the head gasket is allowing combustion gases to leak through.
- Compression Testing: A compression test on each cylinder can find compression loss from a bad head gasket. Compression should be the same in each cylinder – any differences show where the gasket has blown.
- Cylinder Leak-down Testing: This checks how much air is leaking into the cooling system from each cylinder. Isolating leaking cylinders pinpoints where the head gasket has failed.
These tests clearly show if the head gasket is faulty and needs replacement. I can then recommend the proper repairs to customers and provide an accurate quote for parts and labour costs. Accurate diagnosis is key to any engine repair.
Can Head Gasket Sealers Fix the Problem?
I never recommend using chemical sealers to try to permanently fix your Vauxhall Mokka head gasket problems. Sealers work by blocking holes in broken gaskets, but they can also clog coolant passages, radiators, and build up on sensors. Most sealers wash away over time too.
The chemicals may buy you a few weeks or months, but the bad gasket damage remains. Gases will find another way to leak.
The only way to fully fix a broken Mokka head gasket is by properly replacing it. There are no shortcuts. While costly, a new steel gasket and good installation will fix the problem for good.
Think of quick sealers as just an emergency fix. Only use them to temporarily stop a leak so you can drive the Mokka to the garage for repairs. But don’t expect sealers to fix the real problem.
Fix the head gasket properly as soon as there’s trouble. Don’t wait for engine damage. Let me know if you need help choosing the best option for your Vauxhall – I’m always happy to discuss the pros and cons!
How Can Drivers Prevent Head Gasket Failure?
The Vauxhall Mokka has some problems that can cause the head gasket to fail too soon, but drivers can take steps to make the head gasket last longer:
- Check the coolant level regularly and change the coolant every 2-3 years. Fresh coolant prevents corrosion.
- Watch the engine temperature gauge closely. Never ignore overheating. Let the engine cool down properly before starting again.
- Get regular tune-ups, fluid changes, and repairs to prevent too much strain.
- Consider replacing the head gasket around 70,000 miles before leaks start. This avoids getting stranded with a blown gasket later.
- Only use high-quality coolants and oils to prevent sludge and reduce corrosion. Don’t save money on fluids.
Avoid aggressive driving, high revving, and towing heavy loads which add stress to the gasket. Go easy on the engine.
With good cooling system maintenance, careful driving, and early repairs, Mokka drivers can maximise how long the head gasket lasts. But watch for any signs of failure as the miles increase. Prevention is the best cure.
In summary, premature head gasket failure is a known issue with several Vauxhall Mokka models.
Watch out for signs like overheating and white exhaust smoke. Check any problems right away to avoid worse damage to the engine. While sealants may briefly slow small leaks, I recommend that Mokka owners pay for a proper gasket replacement as soon as issues come up. This will help the engine last longer.
With careful maintenance and understanding of this common Vauxhall problem, Mokka drivers can hopefully avoid expensive gasket repairs later on. But if there are issues, deal with them quickly to protect your investment and keep your Mokka running well.
Related Articles: Vauxhall Mokka Electrical Problems
What are the symptoms of a faulty head gasket in a Vauxhall Mokka?
The symptoms of a faulty head gasket in a Vauxhall Mokka are white exhaust smoke, engine overheating, loss of power and oil/coolant leaks around the engine. If the vehicle is using more coolant, it could indicate a faulty gasket.
What causes premature head gasket failure in a Vauxhall Mokka?
How long does a head gasket typically last in a Vauxhall Mokka?
In normal conditions, Vauxhall Mokka’s head gaskets typically last 60,000 to 120,000 kilometers. However, frequent heating/cooling and lack of servicing can reduce this.
How is a head gasket problem diagnosed in a Vauxhall Mokka?
A head gasket problem is diagnosed in a Vauhall Mokka through checking for leaks, testing the cooling system pressure, putting dye in the coolant to check for combustion leaks, and testing each cylinder’s compression.
What are the repair options for a faulty head gasket?
Replacing the gasket is usually best for a damaged one. Using sealants or quick fixes is not advised, as these often cause more problems later. It’s best to ask a reputable mechanic for help. Regular servicing helps prevent such issues.