What are the Intake Manifold Gaskets all about?
The intake manifold is an aluminum, steel or plastic cover that sits on top of the engine. It is attached to the top of the engine by an intake manifold gasket (or gaskets) that is made of plastic and rubber. The intake manifold directs the air-fuel mixture in the engine to the corresponding cylinder where it is burned to produce power. The coolant flows through the intake manifold to the cylinder heads to reduce engine temperature. Expansion, contraction, and heat from the engine cause the gasket to fail. This will cause coolant passing through the intake manifold to leak. A leaky manifold gasket can also result in air being sucked through the leaky gasket, resulting in a vacuum leak and poor engine performance.
Keep in mind:
When an intake manifold gasket fails, it can leak coolant into the engine and contaminate the engine oil, so in some cases it will be necessary to change the oil in conjunction with this service. Vehicles with plastic intake manifolds may have to have the manifold replaced due to cracks in the plastic, which cannot be repaired.
How it's done:
- Scan the computer in the car for codes.
- Inspect intake manifold for any signs of leakage.
- Pressure-test the cooling system.
- Remove and replace the intake manifold gaskets.
- Clear any diagnostic code.
- Run engine and test drive vehicle.
Follow the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer and get the coolant and oil changed on a regular basis. This will greatly improve the life of the engine parts. Since gaskets are made of rubber and plastic, it is inevitable that they will eventually wear out and leak. When you notice a red, green or yellow fluid on the ground beneath your car, get the car inspected for leaks.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Intake Manifold Gaskets?
- Engine overheats.
- Coolant leaks.
- Red, green or yellow fluid underneath car.
- Engine runs rough
- Check engine light is on.
How important is this service?
The intake manifold is connected to the engine, and plays a key role in the engine functioning. The manifold directs the fuel mixture in the engine to the correct cylinder, and then cools down the cylinder to keep the engine from overheating. The intake manifold achieves this cooling by running coolant through the manifold and towards the cylinder heads, where the coolant absorbs heat. When the intake manifold gaskets (the seal that holds everything in place) fail, this coolant begins to leak out of the manifold. As the engine loses coolant, it can no longer cool itself as efficiently, and the engine is prone to overheating, which can cause permanent and severe damage to the cylinders and engine block.