The intake manifold consists of essential components that ensure the proper functioning of a car. During operation, the manifold gasket keeps the air in the intake manifold away from the coolant in the coolant chamber. Since both are close together, the work of the gasket is extremely important.
Without its proper functioning, the entire combustion process can be thrown into turmoil. If this happens, you will see your car lose power. Therefore, you must have the intake manifold gasket repaired as soon as possible, as the repair can cause other engine components to fail and deteriorate due to stalling.
Intake Manifold Gasket Symptoms
The most common failure within the intake manifold is a blown gasket. Gaskets are made of several sheets of steel and sometimes rubber, but they are extremely thin, so they can fail or crack under immense pressure. These thin steel sheets absorb a lot of heat from the engine, so they fail quite easily and affect the performance of your car. Typically, a gasket has a life span of about 50,000 miles after which it needs to be replaced. The life of the gasket depends a little on the love and care you invest in maintaining your car. If you are not careful with this responsibility, the seal may have a short life together with other engine parts. Most intake manifold gaskets separate coolant and air, and some cars use the gasket only to avoid intake leaks between the manifold and the head. If your car has no coolant in the intake manifold, forget the coolant part of this article.
The main task of an intake manifold gasket is to separate the hot intake air from mixing with the coolant in the coolant chamber. As soon as the intake seal becomes bad, the coolant starts to escape from the coolant chamber into the intake manifold. The hot air mixes with the coolant, causing the coolant to heat up and evaporate. This has a direct effect on the engine as it starts to heat up due to the low coolant level. Normally you will notice this when the temperature gauge in your dashboard rises. It is advisable to park the car in this case. Buy more coolant, fill it into the radiator and drive directly to the mechanic for a check.
Poor Engine Performance/Misfiring
If the intake manifold seal becomes poor, the basic function of the intake manifold – namely maintaining a perfect air-fuel ratio – is compromised. If the ratio is not perfect, combustion does not take place easily and it increases the pressure on the engine to work harder. As a result, more fuel enters the system and burns off. Ultimately this leads to poor fuel consumption and poor engine performance. Even if you fully depress the pedal, there will be unacceptable acceleration.
The failure of the intake manifold gasket can cause all the coolant to leak into the intake manifold. Therefore, all the coolant evaporates from the system. You can probably see the leak near the intake manifold when this happens. The loss of coolant will heat your car unnecessarily and put other engine components at risk.
Testing & Repairing the Intake Manifold Gasket
The intake manifold gasket is not visible. To see it, you have to open the upper part of the engine, and even then you have to be very meticulous to see the gasket. Given the difficulty of this operation, it is best to leave all repair work to a professional mechanic. However, testing and diagnosing a faulty intake manifold gasket does not require any kind of expertise or skill.
Inspection of Leakage
The first thing you need to do is check for coolant leaks. Coolant leakage can occur anywhere, given the number of pipes connected to the radiator and from the radiator to the engine. It is therefore best to go from the radiator to the engine. Most of the time, gravity will be your saviour as the leaking coolant falls to the ground. You only have to bend down and look for leaks. Otherwise, start the car and check if the pipes are leaking.
Usually, the first sign of a blown gasket is a rise in engine temperature. The gasket can break at any moment without you noticing. You won’t hear a sound when it ruptures either, so your first defense against this problem is a well-functioning temperature gauge. If it starts to rise, the first thing you need to do is open the radiator and check the coolant level. If the radiator is dry and empty, a gasket may have blown, but then you are not sure which gasket has blown because there is more than one gasket in a car engine. To be sure, you must check for leaks near the intake manifold, as these usually occur when the gasket fails. Ideally, when checking for leaks, leave your car running.
Intake Manifold Gasket Replacement Cost
Not all of us are blessed with the mind of a mechanic. Some of us are easily experienced in handling cars, while some of us are not. That’s why we leave most of our work to professionals who know exactly what they are doing. Mechanics have the right tools and the right mindset to repair on this scale. They also charge a high price for their services, especially when it comes to seal failure. To repair or replace an intake manifold gasket, the mechanic must open the top half of the engine.
Expect no less than $150 – $300 when it comes to labor. Labor costs vary depending on the make and model of your car. If it has a complicated V8 or V12 engine, your mechanic will charge you on the higher side, otherwise, you will be dismissed relatively cheaply. Besides, it is actually not possible to repair a gasket, because of its steel and rubber construction it is practically impossible to repair, but don’t worry, because they are replaced very cheaply. Usually, your professional mechanic will charge you $80 to $120 for the intake manifold gasket.
You can find intake manifold gaskets for your car here on Amazon: Intake Manifold Gaskets. Make sure you choose the right model for your car.