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What is a Lower Intake Manifold Gasket?
Well let’s start simple, because I know what you’re thinking: That’s a lot of words. And you’re right, it is.
So, let’s begin with the intake manifold. What is an intake manifold? It’s a vital, but pretty straightforward component in your car’s engine. The intake manifold is a part that is attached to the car’s cylinder head. Its responsibility is to funnel air (and sometimes fuel) into the cylinders. More specifically, the intake manifold is responsible for evenly dispersing that air throughout the cylinders.
Why is this important? Because engines require a precise mixture of air and fuel to run right. If the cylinders are not evenly filled with air, they won’t be evenly filled with fuel. When that happens the cylinders won’t fire properly, and the engine won’t perform the way that it is supposed to. And then we all get sad.
And that’s pretty much it. Well, as you can probably imagine, the actual set up of the intake manifold is a little more complex than that, but be honest. Do you really care?
Now, let's move onto the gaskets. Your car has a number of gaskets, which is really just a cool word for a seal. The intake manifolds are one of the many components that rely on gaskets. In an intake manifold, the gaskets are primarily responsible for forming a seal that keeps excess air from entering the engine. In many modern cars, the gaskets also serve as a seal for the engine coolant and motor oil in the system.
Some intake manifolds only have one gasket, but some have two. If your car has a lower intake manifold gasket, then it probably has an upper intake manifold gasket, too. Did I really need to point that out?
Symptoms of a failing Lower Intake Manifold Gasket
Check engine warning light is on
Ignoring the check engine warning light doesn’t make you cool and rebellious. It just makes you a person willing to put off their problems only to deal with bigger consequences down the road. Sorry to break it to you.
When the lower intake manifold gasket calls out sick, the fuel-to-air ratio in your car’s engine will be disrupted, and it won’t run properly.
Engine performs poorly
Here’s the thing. If the fuel-to-air ratio in your engine is messed up, you’ll feel it with your right foot. The engine combustion will be all out of sorts, resulting in acceleration that is hesitant, jerky, or just plain uninspiring.
Leaks aren’t good, from your car, your sink, you’re...you know what, let’s move on.
Hopefully this isn’t news, but when your car is leaking something, that’s not a great sign. Your car has a lot of different fluids in it, so a leak can represent a number of different issues. One such issue is a busted lower intake manifold gasket.
In some cars, the manifold gaskets help seal in the coolant (which is used to cool down the engine).If the lower intake manifold gasket breaks, that fluid may leak out of your car.
So, if you were paying any attention to the last paragraph, you know that the manifold gaskets often provide a seal for the engine coolant and motor oil. The coolant circulates around the engine, absorbing heat, and keeping the engine from overheating.
Long story short: If your car is low on coolant, the engine may end up overheating. So pay attention to the engine temperature gauge on your dashboard. Oh, and pay attention to the warning lights. Did I mention that one?
Low fluid levels
Here’s a good thing to get in the habit of doing: Checking your fluid levels. It takes five minutes, max, and it will make you feel like you’re a smart and responsible car owner. It can also save you a lot of hassle and money.
If you notice that your coolant levels are low, you may have a leak. And that leak may be from the lower intake manifold gasket.
How urgent is a Lower Intake Manifold Gasket replacement?
A busted lower intake manifold gasket won’t make your car unsafe to drive, as long as you’re only going short distances. However, driving with a broken gasket will put extra stress on your engine, which can cause damage.