Why's the Engine in My Mercury Lynx Failing?
Most Likely, a Blown Head Gasket
Your Lynx has all kinds of gaskets; they seal everything from the oil pan and exhaust to the throttle body and intake manifold. They're how those parts maintain pressure and hold fluids in, and keep debris out of, for these examples, the oil system, exhaust, and air intake.
The head gasket does this job for the engine in your Lynx, and just how crucial it is to the engine running right can't be understated. It blows, and total engine failure follows -- and that'll mean one seriously expensive repair.
Stay on top of regular maintenance, though, and the Mercury you love shouldn't have any problems. Here's everything you need to know to do so -- about Lynx head gaskets, what's symptomatic of one failing, and, most importantly, what to do about a faulty one.
Head Gaskets 101
A head gasket is essentially a seal; you can find the one in your Lynx between the two main parts of the engine -- the core or block, where the pistons and cylinders are, and the cylinder head, where the valves, spark plugs, and camshaft are. What they do is enclose the engine cylinders.
This closure does two things. For one, firing pressure has to be maintained during combustion; it helps the cylinders keep that up. Secondly, coolant and engine oil need to stay out of the cylinders and the rest of the motor; sealing helps keep them both from leaking.
Put simply, when the gasket's in working order, your Lynx runs fine -- its coolant (the levels; the ratio in the engine) stays just right, and the digital temperature display or temp gauge on the dash reads normal (either centered or slightly cool).
Signs of a Bad Head Gasket
The surfaces of the engine block and cylinder head in a Lynx are always active, though; they expand and contract, and so, can warp and rub. This can put a head gasket under major stress, wearing it out over time. That happens, and the engine will start to overheat, causing both the head and block to expand -- sometimes, way too much. As causes of a blown head gasket go, this is the main one.
You'll know the gasket's failing, though, from:A Check Engine light on the dashWhite, smoky exhaustBubbling radiator and coolant reservoirsThe motor oil turning whiteOil and/or coolant leaks around the gasketLow coolant levels without an apparent leakEngine power loss
What to Do When a Head Gasket Blows
Turn off the engine and run a full inspection. This means test the cooling system in your Lynx, too, to rule out other issues. It's critical that you don't try to release any pressure; it's dangerous.
At any rate, you'll want to replace the head gasket ASAP. If your skillset's not up to it, or if you're just not sure what to do, contact a Ford dealer. (The brand owns the Mercury nameplate and services its vehicles.)
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