Skip to main content

This Is Where the Head Gasket Fails on a Prius

Do you ever have to worry about your Prius developing a blown head gasket problem? While the Prius is a well-made and well-designed vehicle, just like any motor under high compression and high heat conditions, a blown head gasket is always a possibility---but especially if it is a 3rd generation Prius. Here’s what a blown head gasket and the engine block looks like on a 2013 Prius with some special caveats to its repair you need to know about.


Prius Head Gasket Problem
If you own a Generation 3 Toyota Prius, there is a good chance you will eventually discover some morning upon starting your car that it will struggle to start with some combination of rattling, shaking, and misfiring, all the while giving you an instrument panel warning light that something is amiss with the engine.

Other times, the signs and symptoms might not be so exaggerated, but you will notice other problems that include any one or all of the following: loss of coolant in the reservoir, overheating, loss of power, a sludgy milkshake-like oil contamination on the inside of the cap or on the dip stick, white smoke coming out of the exhaust, and external leaking.

The bad news is that you are likely experiencing a blown head gasket. The good news is that it is often repairable, and you will continue to enjoy your Prius for many more miles and years.

A Warning to Prius Owners
However, there are caveats to this. Chief of which is ensuring that the repair is done correctly and by someone who is knowledgeable and experienced working with Toyota Prius models.

Related article: Avoid Getting Scammed with This Blown Head Gasket Tutorial for Non-Mechanics

That was the primary message behind a recent Toyota Maintenance YouTube channel episode where the host does a show and tell of a 2013 Prius Hybrid with approximately 176,000 miles on it that developed a characteristic blown head gasket problem at cylinder #2.

The blown head gasket problem manifested as a consistent misfiring of the #2 cylinder presumably due to coolant leaking into the cylinder and interfering with the combustion process.

In addition---and in worst case scenarios---that coolant leaking into the cylinder could also lead to piston connecting rod deformation because liquids i.e., the coolant, will not compress which potentially may cause enough forces within the cylinder to bend the connecting rod. In other words, major engine damage that might not be reparable.

In the case of the video example, the problem has not gone that far, and the engine is easily-enough repaired without undue expense.

Related article: What a Used Toyota Engine Rebuild Can Cost

The Value of Watching the Video
The value of taking the time to watch this short video is that Peter explains how repairs are done on a Prius with this type of problem and focuses on the importance of how the soft aluminum metal block should be treated to not only ensure no further damage is done, but what is the best way to wind up with a new block and cylinder head surface that will last the remainder of the vehicle’s life.

More to the point---A good example of where technique is everything and you are better off finding and paying a little more for an experienced Prius mechanic rather than relying on a garage that is experienced only with blown head gaskets on other makes and models of vehicles.

Related article: Prius Owner Repair Warning from Toyota Mechanic

That said, here is the video posted below that will be very informative for Prius owners and those looking to buy a used Prius.

This is where head gasket fails on Prius

And finally…

For additional Prius-related articles here are few for your consideration and enjoyment:

Toyota Prius Hybrid Battery Replacement Warning

The Once in a Lifetime Toyota Prius Maintenance You Will Ever Have to Do

Fuel Efficiency You Can Expect from an Old Toyota Prius

COMING UP NEXT: Can a Robotaxi Break the Rules of the Road?

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Unsplash