Manifold gasket

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How to Tell Your Car Has a Bad Intake Manifold Gasket

A car's engine creates power through the combustion of air and fuel. In most modern, fuel-injected systems, the air and fuel mix together inside of the component known as the intake manifold. One end of the manifold consists of a single tube through which fresh air flows. The other end consists of multiple smaller tubes, each of which connect to one of your engine's cylinders.

Between the intake manifold and the engine block sits the intake manifold gasket. The intake manifold gasket seals off the small gap between the manifold and the engine, preventing air, coolant, and oil from leaking. Over time, the intake manifold gasket endures a lot of wear and tear. Eventually it may crack or warp in ways that allow leaks to occur.

Unfortunately, many car owners fail to recognize the symptoms that they may be dealing with a bad intake manifold gasket. If you would like to improve your skills at diagnosing this common engine problem, keep reading. This article explains three common symptoms that you may have a bad intake manifold gasket.

1. Misfiring Engine

Engine misfires involve one or more cylinders that fail to produce combustion in a given engine cycle. In other words, although air and gasoline flow into the cylinder, the mixture fails to catch on fire. Instead, the uncombusted mix passes out of your engine through the exhaust system. As a result, misfires lead to poor fuel economy and other problems.

Misfires may stem from a large number of problems, including poor ignition timing, excessively worn valves, and corroded spark plugs. Yet damaged intake manifold gasket tend to be one of the most frequently experienced causes of engine misfires. A damaged gasket often fails to create an airtight seal between the manifold and the engine.

This seal failure allows air that should be entering the engine to escape instead. Such a leak alters the engine's air–fuel ratio — one of the most important factors in promoting complete combustion. A bad enough leak may allow enough air to escape that combustion cannot occur at all.

2. Difficulty Accelerating

A leaky intake manifold gasket often makes it more difficult for your car to accelerate, even if the problem has not reached the point where it causes misfires to occur. Such power loss stems from the air leaking out of the intake manifold. Not only does this decrease the amount of air that makes it to your engine, but it also creates a vacuum leak for your entire air intake system.

A vacuum leak reduces engine air pressure, no matter how wide your throttle body opens. Thus, depressing the gas pedal often fails to generate the expected acceleration. Instead, your car seems to poke along at a fixed, sluggish rate.

3. Leaking Coolant

As noted above, the intake manifold gasket protects against more than just air loss. It also creates a seal for your coolant system. When intake manifold gaskets become damaged, coolant may begin escaping from its system. Eventually even a relatively small leak will eventually cause coolant levels to drop to dangerous levels.

Be sure to take note of any signs that your car may be experiencing a coolant leak. Look out for any puddles of coolant in your garage or on your driveway. While these may stem from a variety of different cooling system problems, a damaged intake valve gasket may be among them.

All car owners should know how to recognize the signs of a problematic intake manifold gasket. Those who don't may end up dealing with far worse problems. For more information about dealing with a bad intake manifold gasket,  contact Saltillo's auto pros  at Midway Garage & Wrecker Service.


About the intake manifold gasket

This brings us to the intake manifold gasket. Typically made from aluminized steel coated in a carbon-based rubber compound, the intake manifold gasket seals the intake manifold to the engine. High-quality intake manifold gaskets, such as Fel-Pro®, are constructed as one-piece with reinforced edges and linings around each port or runner opening. They must be resistant to decay caused by oils and coolants. The performance of your engine depends upon the quality of the intake manifold gasket.

Symptoms of bad intake manifold gasket

If you notice any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign that your intake manifold gasket is wearing out. Consult your professional mechanic for a definitive diagnosis and repair.

  • Coolant leaking from vehicle
  • Engine overheating
  • Green, red or yellow leaks under the car
  • Check engine light comes on
  • Engine starts to run rough

Learn more about Fel-Pro quality gaskets that are designed specifically for the repair environment, find your car part, or find where to buy your auto part today.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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Symptoms of bad or failing intake manifold gaskets

The intake manifold gaskets are some of the most important gaskets found on an engine. Gaskets are the seals placed between engine components before they are assembled in order to provide a reliable seal. They can be made of paper, rubber, metal, and sometimes a combination of the three.

The intake manifold gaskets are responsible for sealing the intake manifold against the cylinder head(s). Apart from sealing engine vacuum, certain designs will also seal engine coolant. When the intake manifold gaskets have an issue, they can cause drivability problems and even engine overheating. Usually a faulty intake manifold gasket will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. Engine misfires and decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel economy

One of the most common symptoms of an issue with intake manifold gaskets is engine performance issues. As the vehicle acquires mileage, the intake manifold gaskets may wear out and eventually leak. This can cause major performance issues, as the intake manifold gaskets seal engine vacuum and pressure. A vacuum leak caused by a bad intake manifold gasket can throw off the engine’s air-fuel ratio and cause engine performance issues such as misfires, a decrease in power and acceleration, a reduction in fuel efficiency, and even stalling.

2. Coolant leaks

Another symptom of a faulty intake manifold gasket is coolant leaks. Some intake manifold gaskets also seal engine coolant, and if the gasket wears out it may lead to a coolant leak. This may produce a distinct coolant smell, along with steam, and drips or puddles of coolant underneath the vehicle. Coolant leaks should be addressed as soon as possible, in order to prevent them from becoming a greater issue.

3. Engine overheating

Engine overheating is another symptom of a possible issue with the intake manifold gaskets. A coolant leak will eventually lead to engine overheating when the coolant level drops too low, however there are instances where overheating can occur without any visible leaks. If the intake manifold gaskets leak coolant into the intake manifold the engine may overheat as a result, without any visible external leaks. Any coolant leaks should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent the possibility of serious engine damage occurring due to a bad intake manifold gasket.

While a faulty intake manifold gasket will produce symptoms that quickly alert the driver of an issue, there can be instances where a leak is difficult to detect. If you suspect that your intake manifold gasket or gaskets may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician from YourMechanic to determine if the gasket should be replaced.

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This article originally appeared on as Symptoms of bad or failing intake manifold gaskets.

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