5 Leaky Intake Manifold Gasket Symptoms You Need To Know!
Five of the most prominent symptoms that your car has an intake manifold gasket leak. See how to spot a symptom, narrow down the cause and treat it.
Did you know that your car “breathes” too? Let me explain: Your car's engine needs oxygen to create explosions within its cylinders to drive the car. It is the role of the intake manifold to provide this oxygen. Coolant is also distributed to the cylinders in this way.
The intake manifold gasket is made of rubber or plastic and attaches the intake manifold to the engine. Due to strain from heat and the resulting contraction and expansion the gasket can get cracked. Coolant and air can leak through these cracks, heating up and suffocating your engine!
A typical intake manifold gasket:
Not only does this lead to less performance, but your engine will suffer damage in the long term. Let’s look at 5 symptoms of a leaky intake manifold gasket you need to know!
#1. Engine overheats or temperature readings jump
Read this article for some more signs that your car is overheating.
#2. Engine does not perform as well
Unlike the coolant that we want to keep in, a gasket with a crack or leak let’s too much air get sucked in. When there is too much air in the cylinders, not enough gas is let in. This leads to weaker explosions, which affects the speed of the pistons and the power of your engine.
Starting your car, letting it idle and listening is a good way to pick up many different warning signs.
True, all these symptoms can have many different causes. Keep reading to find out how you can detect a leak and confirm whether it is the cause.
#3. Higher fuel consumption
Because of the number of misfires and the decreasing power of the engine, it will need to use more and more fuel to keep going. You will most likely also accelerate harder and harder to try and drive as fast as you usually do.
In the beginning, the difference in petrol usage might be too small for you to notice, but as the crack gets worse and your engine performs less and less it will become more apparent. If you drive roughly the same distance every week you might see your tank draining faster than usual.
If you are lucky and your car displays an average fuel consumption it will noticeably increase.
There can also be many different causes for higher fuel consumption, like improperly inflated tires, bad wheel alignment or other engine problems. You will need to look for an air leak to know it is your intake manifold gasket.
#4. Coolant leaks
The easiest way to know that your car is leaking coolant is to check for an oily puddle underneath the front of your car. But how do I know if it is coolant or something else?
Now that we have established that it is coolant that is leaking, we need to find out where it came from. The intake manifold sits right on top of your engine. It should look kind of like a bridge with multiple metal tubes on each side. If the coolant leak is coming out where the manifold and the engine meet it is most likely caused by a damaged gasket.
The coolant can also come from many other sources:
- The radiator - The radiator usually sits right at the front of the engine and has a noticeable, screw lid.
- Rubber pipes - You will notice many rubber pipes within your engine. These pipes carry around liquids like coolant or water to where they are needed.
In this video, you can see the man look for the coolant leak at all the usual places and finally find that it is his intake manifold gasket that's the source:
#5. Vacuum air leaks
While coolant leaks lead to the engine overheating, air leaks lead to reduced performance. If your car suffers from one or more of the symptoms mentioned, it’s worth checking out.
As you can imagine finding the air leak is not as simple as looking for an oil spill. Lucky for you, we are going to show you a few tricks to find an air leak!
Before you begin, inspect all the rubber hoses and fittings leading to your engine for cracks or tears first! You might be lucky and find the culprit before you inspect the gasket.
To check many other parts of your engine, or just to locate where these parts are, follow this handy guide using the above technique. In this video, the mechanic helpfully takes apart the engine and shows you exactly what happens:
So, what should I do now?
The good news is you can fix small leaks at home. Some mechanics do not believe in these solutions and they are easy to mess up, especially since they are only suitable for very small leaks. If your problems return it’s best to go for a gasket replacement, immediately.
Cool down overheated engine:
Here is a complete guide to temporarily cool down your engine if it overheats.
To fix the coolant leak:
You will need the following Bar's Leaks 1109 Block Seal Liquid Copper Intake and Radiator Stop Leak - 18 oz.
To fix the vacuum air leak:
If the problem persists
Unless you have a lot of experience fixing cars mechanically, you should call the professionals! Replacing an intake manifold gasket not only mean you need to determine the cause, find the leak and buy the right gasket. You will also need to remove the intake manifold from the engine and replace the gasket without any leaks. This requires a level of experience and skills.
If you are brave enough, here is a step-by-step how-to guide
Did you find this list helpful? We hope so! A leaking intake manifold gasket can cause you as a car owner (and driver) a lot of problems, that’s why it was important for us to share this information with you. We hope that you never face this problem, but if you do you now have the knowledge to do something about it!
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