Intake Manifold Leak Issues Can Kill Your Engine
We spend a lot of time on this blog discussing the importance of various auto parts but sometimes we forget to acknowledge the vitality of what holds these parts together. Intake manifold gaskets are the perfect example. On the one hand, they’re easy to overlook. On the other hand, they can really throw a wrench in the gears if they fail, as anyone who’s suffered an intake manifold leak can attest. The whole purpose of the intake manifold gaskets is to make sure the intake manifold remains bonded to the cylinder head(s) with a strong seal. If that seal breaks, we get the raging headache that is an intake manifold leak. Fortunately, these breaches are rare.
The Problems with a Breached Seal
In most cases, you can tell your car is suffering from issues with the intake manifold because of a marked decrease in performance. While this is a hallmark of intake manifold gasket failure, performance problems can also be linked to any number of varying auto issues. Therefore, suspected problems of this nature often require professional review. If it is determined that a worm gasket has resulted in an intake manifold leak, then your car is actually suffering from a vacuum leak which we’ve discussed at great length on the blog before.
Beware an Overheating Engine
An overheating engine is yet another signal that trouble may be afoot with the intake manifold. Oftentimes this can be attributed to a coolant leak though we’re not always fortunate enough to get such a clearly defined clue as leaking coolant. For example, no leak would be visibly detectable if the coolant was leaking into the intake manifold itself. Since faulty gaskets and leaking coolant often combine to kill an engine, it pays to get this problem treated at the first sign of an issue.
The Sound of an Intake Manifold Leak
If you listen carefully, you can sometimes actually hear an intake manifold leak. Chances are you’ll already be tipped off by the decreased performance before you hear the problem while your car is in idle. The sound has been described in various ways as a sort of hissing, sucking noise; pretty much what you’d expect from a wet vacuum pulling in air through a breached seal. In addition to the noise, you may be hit with more prominent symptoms, like your car stalling when going into a reduced speed. There are even occurrences where a car continues to run momentarily after the ignition is switched off.
You can also check your oil for leaking coolant. If coolant has started to contaminate your oil due to a breached intake manifold, the water in the coolant will add a milky quality to the oil. Eventually, this issue will lead to your engine overheating. Sometimes, you’ll be greeted with the courtesy of a “Check Engine” light illuminating. You can even carefully apply starter fluid to the intake manifold seal to check for a leak. If you’re going to do this, the engine will naturally need to be at idle. Any response from the engine is a sure sign of an intake manifold leak.
If you can catch a faulty intake manifold gasket before it allows for a leak to be sprung, your repairs will result in a much lighter bill. However, the symptoms that are the most prominent are often those of the intake manifold leak itself. Since a breached seal can result in anything from reduced performance to severe engine damage, its crucial to get any issues involving your intake manifold repaired immediately.