The engine on a car represents a surprisingly delicate use of machinery; it can be put out of commission if even one important part sustains severe damage. A cracked or otherwise damaged head on the engine of your Oldsmobile Aurora will cause a number of problems and may lead to thousands of dollars in repair costs. Diagnosing a damaged head or a blown head gasket can be slightly challenging because it requires a certain amount of automotive knowledge and understanding.
Get in the car and attempt to start it. A car with a damaged head will not start properly or stay running for any length of time without overheating. Watch the dashboard gauges to determine if the car begins to overheat while it is running.2
Notice if the car's check engine light is on. If the car has a blown or cracked head, the check engine light will be on. Attach the error code reader to the vehicle's electronic control module, which is underneath the dashboard on the driver's side. Scan the car for error codes and decode any you get. Mechanics use error code readers as a primary form of diagnosing newer model cars. If the vehicle has a damaged head, the error codes will provide the specific diagnosis. For help decoding error codes, use an Oldsmobile error code decoder.3
Open the hood of the car and look carefully at the engine to see if fluid appears to be leaking in or out of the engine block or any other components. Look at the top of the motor carefully. You are looking for cracks or damaged spots in the heads themselves. The heads are located on the top of the engine. You will not be able view the head gasket.4
Open the radiator to see if the car is low on coolant. If so, there's a good chance the coolant is leaking through the damaged head or head gasket. In many cases, you can not see any external sign of an internal coolant leak. In this case, the only way you are going to know the coolant is going somewhere is to check the fluid level in the radiator to see if the coolant is low.5
Check the Aurora's oil. Examine the consistency of the oil carefully. The oil should be light to medium brown and translucent in color. If the oil appears milky it is probably contaminated with coolant that has leaked in through the damaged head or head gasket.