How To Test For A Blown Head Gasket (1.5L Toyota Tercel)

There are four easy tests that you can do to find out if the head gasket is blown on your 1.5L Toyota Tercel.

These four tests are the same ones that most auto repair shops will perform on your Tercel. In this tutorial I'll explain how to do them all in a step-by-step way.

Here are the contents of this article at a quick glance:

  1. Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket.
  2. TEST 1: Engine Oil Mixed With Coolant.
  3. TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out From Open Radiator.
  4. TEST 3: Engine Compression Test.
  5. TEST 4: Using A Chemical Block Tester (Combustion Leak Tester).
  6. More 1.6L Toyota Tutorials.

En Español You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar El Empaque De Cabeza (1.5 Toyota Tercel) (at: autotecnico-online.com).

Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket

The most common symptoms a blown head gasket are:

  1. Your Toyota Tercel is overheating.
  2. White smoke is coming out of the tail-pipe and it smells like anti-freeze being cooked.
  3. Your Toyota won't start. You've checked:
    1. All cylinders are being fed spark.
    2. All fuel injectors are injecting.
    3. Fuel pump is good.
  4. The engine oil is thick and tan to off-white color.

TEST 1: Engine Oil Mixed With Coolant

Engine Oil Mixed With Coolant. How To Test For A Blown Head Gasket (1.5L Toyota Tercel)

By far the easiest test to do, when checking for a blown head gasket, is checking the color of the oil.

What we're looking for is to see if coolant has mixed with the engine oil and caused it to turn an off-white color. The color looks like 'coffee with too much creamer'.

These are the test steps:

  1. 1

    Open your Toyota Tercel's hood and pull out the engine oil dipstick.

    What you're looking for is to make sure that the engine oil IS NOT mixed with coolant. If the engine oil is mixed with coolant, it'll be the color of ‘coffee with too much cream’.

  2. 2

    Check the color of the engine oil on the dipstick. You'll get one of two results: It'll be mixed with coolant and a creamy tan/ off-white color or... The engine oil will be its usual normal color.

Alright, let's interpret the color of the engine oil:


CASE 1: The color of the oil is a light tan, like ‘coffee with too much cream’. This tells you that the head gasket is blown.

CASE 2: The color of the engine oil is normal. This is good since it means that coolant isn't entering the crankcase via the head gasket.

There's still another test to do and this is to check to see if coolant shoots out of the radiator (with the cap removed) when you crank your Corolla's engine. For this test go to: TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out From Open Radiator.