Blown Head Gasket

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Hi Bob,
Today, on my way to work, a big plume of white smoke came from the tail pipe of my car and then it just died. I had it towed to the dealership where I bought the car and a pricey extended warranty. Calling ahead to let the dealership know it was on the way, I told them that I thought it was a blown head gasket and asked them to find out if this would be covered under my warranty.

After they had checked my car, they said it had a contaminated gas tank and they needed to clean the gas tank and gas lines. They had also suggested that the spark plugs be changed as well. I authorized them to do so.

When my husband went to pick up my car, they told him that the car had a blown head gasket and the contaminated gas tank caused it. Therefore, it would not be covered under my warranty. My husband and I have never heard of a contaminated gas tank causing a head gasket to blow.

My car is a 4-year old Pontiac Grand Prix GT with 70,000 miles. Prior to this happening, my car had no spitting or sputtering or other sign of a bad head gasket. My car was running like a new car. I make sure to have all the maintenance work done according to the manual. Can a contaminated gas tank cause a head gasket to blow? And if so, what other possible damage should we look for? I am at my wit's end with this whole car problem. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!

In all my years, I have never heard of contaminated gas causing a head gasket to blow. If the gas was contaminated with water to the point of being so diluted that the car would not run, then your car would not have been running when it happened.

However, let's suppose that you just started driving that day and that the car was sitting for a while. The water and gas will separate into layers. So, with that in mind, it is possible that you started your car, drove down the road, and then sucked up some water. But that would not cause a head gasket to blow! I think the dealer is trying to get out of the warranty.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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