How To Test A Blown Head Gasket (2.5L V6 Dodge Stratus, 2.5L V6 Chrysler Cirrus)

A blown head gasket on your 2.5L V6 Dodge Stratus (2.5L V6 Chrysler Cirrus) can be easily diagnosed with four easy tests.

These four test can be easily done by the do-it-yourself'er without having to take the car to the auto repair shop.

In this tutorial you'll find each one explained in a step-by-step manner so that you can find out if you have a bona-fide blown head gasket condition on your hands.

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: Using A Chemical Block Tester (Combustion Leak Tester).
  5. TEST 4: Engine Compression Test.

Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket

It used to be that a blown head gasket was a direct result of engine overheating. That's not the case anymore.

Modern head gasket design will cause the head gaskets on your 2.5L V6 Dodge Stratus (2.5L V6 Chrysler Cirrus) to fail at any point after 100,000 miles.

Sadly, it doesn't matter how well you look after your car's engine to avoid overheating it, the head gasket will fail sooner or later.

If your 2.5L V6 Dodge Stratus (2.5L V6 Chrysler Cirrus) has a blown head gasket, you'll see one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Your Dodge Stratus (Chrysler Cirrus) is overheating.
  2. White smoke is coming out of the tail-pipe and it smells like anti-freeze being cooked.
  3. Then cranks but don't start. You've checked and this no-start is not being caused by a problem in the ignition or fuel system.
  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’

How To Test A Blown Head Gasket (2.5L V6 Dodge Stratus, 2.5L V6 Chrysler Cirrus)

This first test is a fast one and in around 90% of the cases, it will pinpoint a blown head gasket condition on your car.

What we are trying to confirm, is if the head gasket is letting the engine coolant into the engine crankcase. When this happens (and if it is happening on your specific car), then the oil will look like coffee with too much creamer.

All that we have to do, to confirm this, is to pull out the engine oil dipstick and check the condition of the oil stick into it.

If your car passes this first test, then the next step is to check to see if the coolant is being shot out of the radiator (with it cap removed) while we crank the engine.

Alright, here are the test steps:

  1. 1

    Open your vehicle'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 confirms that you've got a blown head gasket on your 2.5L V6 Dodge Stratus (2.5L V6 Chrysler Cirrus).

CASE 2: The color of the engine oil is normal. This is the correct and expected test result.

Your next test step is to see if the coolant will get shot out of the radiator when the engine is being cranked. Go to: TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out From Open Radiator.