The intake manifold gaskets are some of the most important gaskets found on an engine. Gaskets are the seals placed between engine components before they are assembled in order to provide a reliable seal. They can be made of paper, rubber, metal, and sometimes a combination of the three.
The intake manifold gaskets are responsible for sealing the intake manifold against the cylinder head(s). Apart from sealing engine vacuum, certain designs will also seal engine coolant. When the intake manifold gaskets have an issue, they can cause drivability problems and even engine overheating. Usually a faulty intake manifold gasket will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.
1. Engine misfires and decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel economy
One of the most common symptoms of an issue with intake manifold gaskets is engine performance issues. As the vehicle acquires mileage, the intake manifold gaskets may wear out and eventually leak. This can cause major performance issues, as the intake manifold gaskets seal engine vacuum and pressure. A vacuum leak caused by a bad intake manifold gasket can throw off the engine’s air-fuel ratio and cause engine performance issues such as misfires, a decrease in power and acceleration, a reduction in fuel efficiency, and even stalling.
2. Coolant leaks
Another symptom of a faulty intake manifold gasket is coolant leaks. Some intake manifold gaskets also seal engine coolant, and if the gasket wears out it may lead to a coolant leak. This may produce a distinct coolant smell, along with steam, and drips or puddles of coolant underneath the vehicle. Coolant leaks should be addressed as soon as possible, in order to prevent them from becoming a greater issue.
3. Engine overheating
Engine overheating is another symptom of a possible issue with the intake manifold gaskets. A coolant leak will eventually lead to engine overheating when the coolant level drops too low, however there are instances where overheating can occur without any visible leaks. If the intake manifold gaskets leak coolant into the intake manifold the engine may overheat as a result, without any visible external leaks. Any coolant leaks should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent the possibility of serious engine damage occurring due to a bad intake manifold gasket.
While a faulty intake manifold gasket will produce symptoms that quickly alert the driver of an issue, there can be instances where a leak is difficult to detect. If you suspect that your intake manifold gasket or gaskets may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician from YourMechanic to determine if the gasket should be replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of Bad or Failing Intake Manifold Gaskets and was authored by Eduardo Ruelas.