A leak is the most common problem with the vacuum system. If the vacuum system in your vehicle is leaking, your vehicle may not operate at its full efficiency. In addition, there are a few parts in your vehicle that are controlled by the vacuum, so if the vacuum is not working properly, these parts may not work properly as well. These parts include: the brake booster, cruise control, popup headlights, heating and A/C vents, exhaust re-circulatory valve, exhaust by-pass valves, and the crank case/ valve cover vent.
Here are some of the signs, symptoms, and safety concerns of driving with a vacuum leak:
One area of the vacuum system that commonly leaks is the vacuum lines. Over time, the rubber in the lines get old, crack, and can slip off the vacuum system itself. Have your vacuum lines replaced by a mechanic if they start leaking or become cracked.
A common sign of a vacuum leak is a hissing sound coming from the engine area while the vehicle is running. Other signs include accelerator problems or an idling speed that is faster than it should be. If you experience these symptoms, either together or separately, contact a mechanic as soon as possible to have your vacuum system looked at.
Another sign of a vacuum leak is the Check Engine Light comes on. Anytime the Check Engine Light illuminates, you should have a mechanic inspect why the Check Engine Light is on to see what is wrong. The light can come on for various reasons, but worthwhile to have your car checked. leak it would definitely be worthwhile to have your car checked.
One of the problems that is created with a vacuum leak is that you will notice a loss of power and poor fuel efficiency in your vehicle. Your car may not accelerate like it normally does, or you have to fill up your gas tank more often.
A vacuum leak is not something that can be fixed yourself, it is best left to the professionals. The vacuum system has lots of different parts, so it can take some time to find the actual leak.
Driving with a vacuum leak should not be done because it causes a loss of power to your engine. This can be unsafe while driving down the road, especially if the leak increases as you are driving. If you notice any of the signs of a vacuum leak, make an appointment with a mechanic to have your vacuum pump inspected and possibly replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With a Vacuum Leak? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.