But not of the ranting kind...
If the gasket fails, a variety of problems can occur, from compression loss (leading to power reduction, or a rough engine [uh, yeah! chug-a-lug, baby! But hey, at least I saved some cash on going for a massage!]), to exhaust gases being forced into the cooling system, leading to the engine overheating [the needle up past the red "OK, I'm really really hot and might blow up at any minute" zone is a BAD thing, right?] and increased engine wear due to the motor oil being mixed with antifreeze. Coolant can leak into the cylinders, causing the exhaust to issue steam [great heaping billows of white noxious steam, yeah] and the catalytic converter to be damaged. If a very large amount of coolant does this, hydrolock can occur, causing extensive engine damage. Sometimes, all that may happen when a head gasket is blown is excessive steam erupting from the tailpipe [excessive is an understatement, baby!] and the engine may act and drive like normal... [though apparently with the damage to my head gasket, my mechanic is stupefied that the thing could even run.]
Driving with a blown head gasket (if possible) can cause additional extensive damage [Here's hoping the rest of the engine isn't shot, now! Heh... um? Pretty please?] due to overheating or loss of lubrication.
So. July. The water pump blew, causing the car to overheat. Water pump fixed.
November. There was a problem with the fan, which blew the new water pump, causing the car to overheat. Or something. Fan fixed. Water pump fixed.
First week of January. Computer that regulates the fan was screwy, causing the fan to work inconsistently, causing the water pump to break, causing the engine to overheat. Computer fixed. Fan fixed. Water pump fixed.
Second week of January. All this overheating caused the head head gasket to blow (actually it blew a while back), causing the water pump to blow, the timing belt to go wonky, and a host of other things. Head gasket fixed. Timing belt fixed. Host of other things fixed. Water pump fixed.
Found out that every head gasket ever made for this model of car/engine has blown. They have since redesigned it, but lucky me, I still get to pay for it. The parts are expensive, but the three days of labour my mechanic has put into it? All he's charging me is $100. This fix is costing me HALF what it would cost me normally because my mechanic is my hero! How he makes his money, I'll never know.
Actually, I do.
He'll probably charge some other poor shmuck an arm and a leg next time HE goes in. A poor shmuck like... maybe my dad.
Um, neener neener?