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A mouthful, for starters. Probably not the information you were looking for, but it’s what you were thinking, wasn’t it? In order to understand what an upper intake manifold gasket is, we need to strip down the wording, and start with what an intake manifold is. An intake manifold is actually a remarkably simple part of your engine. Or at least it is in theory. The intake manifold is responsible for distributing air to each of your car’s cylinders. It’s attached to the cylinder head, and as air enters the system, the intake manifold evenly distributes it to each cylinder. With the air evenly distributed, each of the cylinders fills up with the same amount of gasoline, which leads to smooth, efficient, and successful operation of the engine. Now, the intake manifold is a little bit more complex than that if you want to really dive into the nitty gritty, but that’s the purpose it serves, and I think we can all agree to move on. So, now that you know what an intake manifold is, let’s dive into the upper intake manifold gasket. Like so many other parts of your car, intake manifolds rely on gaskets to keep things locked in. The gaskets form a seal between the intake manifold and the cylinder head, locking in the pressure, and keeping unwanted air from entering or exiting the system. On many cars, the gaskets also serve to keep the coolant and the oil in the system. Many intake manifolds have a single gasket, but some have two. It hopefully goes without saying that an upper intake manifold gasket is found in cars with more than one gasket.
I know, the light is small and looks insignificant, and as long as your car is driving well, what’s the worst that can happen? You don't want me to answer that question honestly. The check engine light comes on for a reason. It’s an important reason. It illuminates because something is wrong with your car, and it needs to be addressed. Many things can trigger the check engine light to come on, including a failing upper intake manifold gasket, which will impact the way that the engine runs.
Here’s the deal. Your upper intake manifold gaskets are responsible for sealing in the manifold, and keeping the improper amount of air from entering the system. When the gasket doesn’t do its job, the cylinders will get the wrong amount of air in them, which will disrupt the ratio of fuel to air. That will create an engine that doesn’t run very well, and you’ll feel that every time you hit the gas pedal.
When the upper intake manifold gasket fails, your car will still be safe to drive in short bursts. However, driving the car can cause some damage to your engine. Needless to say, you don’t want to do that.
So, get the gasket replaced as soon as you can.
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