The Best Tool For Mechanics to Check for Intake Vacuum/Boost Pressure Leaks

A leak anywhere removes efficiency of any closed-loop mechanical system. When these leaks occur inside the motor of today's modern cars, trucks, and SUVs, it can rob the engine of horsepower, fuel economy, and lead to mechanical component failure if not properly diagnosed and repaired soon. Most ASE certified mechanics utilize probes, complete leak down checks, and even listen to the engine with a stethoscope to try and find these leaks. However, arguably the best tool to use is a high pressure smoke machine.

What is a high pressure smoke machine?

A high pressure smoke machine is similar in many ways to an evaporative smoke machine. It is designed to find leaks that occur in multiple mechanical components that impact the operation of an engine including:

  • Intake leaks
  • Exhaust leaks
  • Turbo charger leaks
  • Charge air cooler leaks

The machines themselves use smoke, UV dye, and laser light technology to find the leaks. They are not designed to use to find evaporative emissions leaks. The machine works with shop air or nitrogen and runs on an air pressure range from 50 to 150 psi. It is powered by standard electrical outlets but can also attach to an AC power supply when the mechanic purchases the additional AC adapter.

How to properly use a high pressure smoke machine

Most ASE certified mechanics are taught to complete a "leak down" check, to find leaks inside the engine from valves, piston rings, or other compression system. The standard leak down gauge will charge an individual cylinder and the mechanic watches the gauge to determine if a leak exists. However, once this is completed, they have to complete due diligence to find the precise source of the leak; similar in many ways to completing a cold air intake leak inspection. This takes more time, costs more money and decreases shop efficiency.

However, a high pressure smoke machine removes most of the diagnostic and additional labor to find the leaks out of the question. Here is how to properly use this type of machine to determine if a leak exists and the precise source of the leak.

  • Connect the tester to the vehicle battery and external power supply
  • Connect the adapter to the air filter intake hose
  • Select the correct display mode to test for pressure in PSI, in BAR's or Flow L/M
  • The mechanic will then select a button on the tester to complete a 10 minute pressure test

As the system begins to charge and the pressure reaches a desired setting, the mechanic will observe the digital gauge for changes. If the numbers begin to drop, a leak is present in the system. If the numbers hold steady, there is no leak and the mechanic can proceed to a different component to check.

Once a leak is found, the mechanic attaches the smoke fitting to the pressure cap. This allows smoke to escape or to leave an ultraviolet trace at the source of the leak. By using the ultraviolet light or the laser light, the mechanic can easily detect what is leaking and make the appropriate repairs.

Finding an intake vacuum or boost pressure leak is much easier when you have the right tools to complete the diagnostic inspection and most certified mechanics depend on high pressure smoke machines to expedite this process.

If you're an existing ASE certified mechanic and you’re interested in working with YourMechanic to complete intake vacuum or boost pressure inspection jobs for customers in your area, submit an online application to work for YourMechanic for an opportunity to become a mobile mechanic.


Next Step

Schedule Oil Change

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Oil Change. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Oil Change reviews

Excellent Rating

(21,699)

Rating Summary
20,382
845
179
87
206
20,382
845
179
87
206

Matthew

33 years of experience
991 reviews
Matthew
33 years of experience
Volkswagen Passat - Oil Change - Hampton, Virginia
Matt always does a great job. Very professional. I look forward to my next appointment.... A++++++
Ford Expedition - Oil Change - Hampton, Virginia
I am so please to have Matt work on my vehicle, he is very friendly and personable, and always does a great job.

Greg

22 years of experience
37 reviews
Greg
22 years of experience
Audi A3 - Oil Change - Queen Creek, Arizona
Job well done! Greg was on time and professional. He treated my vehicle with care. He completed the job smoothly and so far so good. First time using Your mechanic and it was a pleasant experience. I will be looking into them again. Thanks Greg!
Ford Explorer - Oil Change - Scottsdale, Arizona
Greg was very friendly and professional. Communication was great, he let me know what he was doing. He went above and beyond to make sure everything was running smoothly. I would 100% recommend Greg!

LAVELL

27 years of experience
93 reviews
LAVELL
27 years of experience
Buick Encore - Oil Change - Oakland, California
Another home run! Really appreciate the flexibility regarding my service appointment. Due to my work schedule I desperately needed a late appointment. So grateful my car is receiving top shelf professional service. Replaced a oil pan drain plug that was seriously damaged and stripped by a competitor that will NEVER get my business again! All services were quickly completed. Thank you so much for another great experience with my.... Your Mechanic Lavell 5 ⭐️ Service consistently.

Brian

23 years of experience
483 reviews
Brian
23 years of experience
Porsche 911 - Oil Change - Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Brian is extremely knowledgeable and very personable and has taken very good care on my 911. I would recommend Brian to any one who has mechanical car challenges. I would recommend Brian to all My friends and family

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How to Get Smog Technician Certified in Louisiana
Automotive technician jobs include smog certified emissions inspectors. In Louisiana, you need to train at an approved school to be an inspector.
10 Best Stores to Buy Auto Parts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Automotive technicians rely on auto parts stores to add and replace car parts. The best auto parts shop in Fort Lauderdale is Advance Auto Parts.
How to Become a Certified Mobile Vehicle Inspector (State Car Inspector Certified) in Michigan
Automotive technician jobs include mobile vehicle inspectors. Learn how to do car checks in Michigan at the Michigan Trucking Association.

Related questions

We are replacing rhe water pump and the special tool is not working it just keeps slipping the water pump is very rusty need help

The replacement of the water pump on your vehicle is more complex than the average vehicle and does require a special GM tool (J 38816-A Water Pump Remover & Installer), therefore if you desire you can request that a certified...

Advice on buying a scan tool

No, I can't think of one that would go for under 500 dollars. If you are talking about the ones that are bi-directional and have a built-in scope, these things start at 1,500 up to 12,000 dollars. For the scopes,...

Advice on working as a mechanic

I'm kind of unique because I learned from my grandfather, who was a mechanic at the corner of Texaco gas station in New York when I was a kid. So I learned hands-on from my grandfather. He wouldn't teach me...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com