How To Test A Blown Head Gasket (1993-2002 2.5L Dodge Dakota)

If you suspect that the head gasket on your 2.5L Dodge Dakota is blown, then this is the tutorial that you need to be able to check it out.

Testing for a blown head gasket involves four simple tests. I'll explain each in a step-by-step manner in the following pages of this tutorial.

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

  1. Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket.
  2. TEST 1: Engine Oil the Color of ‘Coffee With Too Much Creamer’.
  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 2.5L Dodge Dakota Tutorials.

Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket

A blown head gasket can produce one of several different symptoms. The most common (in my own opinion) is that the engine appears to overheat for no apparent reason.

Although the following is not a complete symptoms, these are the ones that you will generally see:

  1. Your Dodge Dakota is overheating. You've checked and confirmed that the engine cooling system is OK (water pump is OK, thermostat is OK, etc.)
  2. White smoke is coming out of the tail-pipe and it smells like anti-freeze being cooked.
  3. Your 2.5L Dodge Dakota won't start. You've checked the ignition and fuel systems, and they're not behind the no-start problem.
  4. The engine oil is thick and a tan to an off-white color.

TEST 1: Engine Oil The Color Of ‘Coffee With Too Much Creamer’

Engine Oil The Color Of Coffee With Too Much Creamer. How To Test A Blown Head Gasket (1993-2002 2.5L Dodge Dakota)

It's been my experience that the most common end result of a blown head gasket is the engine coolant mixing with the engine oil.

When this happens, the oil turns the color of 'coffee with too much creamer'.

This first test is pretty easy and only involves checking the engine oil sticking on the engine oil dipstick. If the oil is a milky white color, then you've got a blown head gasket on your hands.

Let's get started:

  1. 1

    Open your Dodge Dakota'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

    What color is the engine oil?

    1.) Is it a creamy tan/ off-white color or...

    2.) 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 creamer. This result confirms that you Dodge Dakota's head gasket is blown.

CASE 2: The color of the engine oil is normal. The next test is to see if the engine coolant is being shot out of the radiator when the engine is being cranked over. For this test, go to TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out From Open Radiator.