Determining whether or not your vehicle has a blown head gasket, cracked head, or some other serious engine problem can sometimes be a difficult task. A compression test can tell you that cylinders are low but don’t always indicate what the problem is and can lead to wasted money. This article will discuss a method on how to test for a cracked head or blown head gasket. This method is extremely simple and can be accomplished in several minutes with the right tools. To understand how this method works we will have to discuss how your engine’s cooling system works. Your engine’s cooling system works by flowing coolant through a radiator and allowing air to pass through thus cooling the coolant. The coolant then travels through a hose to the engine block. The engine block has many coolant passages that flow through it. These passages flow through the block itself and through the heads. If you have a blown head gasket or cracked head, you will end up having several situations occur. The first is that you can end up burning coolant in your engine. This is not good and can lead to premature bearing failure. When engine oil and coolant mix the coolant displaces the oil and your engine lacks lubrication because in place of oil there is coolant. Another thing that can occur when you burn coolant is that you can cause a severe overheat condition for your engine. This can lead to piston’s reaching excessive temperatures and expanding and touching the cylinder walls. This will cause scoring of the cylinders and pistons. The last common problem that can occur is that combustion gases escape into your cooling system. This can cause a decrease in power, and if in excess can cause cooling system problems. With all of these problems at risk and now that you understand how your engine’s cooling system works, we can now discuss the simple procedure to determine whether or not your engine in deed has a cracked head or blown head gasket.