Mazda 626 2002 - Piston Rings or headgasket?

Asked by GSI02626 Jul 02, 2020 at 02:58 PM about the 2002 Mazda 626

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hi there,
I have a 2002 petrol 626 and it started having excessive smoke coming from
the exhaust, the mechanic I went to said it can either be piston rings or
headgasket. What do you guys think?
If it is a headgasket I might try fixing it up in the summer and finally take it out
of sorn (Link for video)

1 Answer


Is the smoke black, gray, or white? I'm guessing black as you're dealing with a mechanic who should know. I'm surprised he didn't tell you to do a compression test. Dry, a compression test will show compression loss. Wet seals the rings with oil and if this causes compression to register proper, you have bad rings. If this doesn't change readings, you have leaking valves or a head gasket problem.

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