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What Are the Causes of an Intake Manifold Gasket Leak?

by Jen Davis

The intake manifold gasket is designed to seal the gap between the intake manifold and cylinder heads. When the intake manifold gasket is damaged, it can begin to leak and can cause a variety of problems for your vehicle. If the intake manifold gasket develops a leak, it can cause coolant to enter the engine and may cause permanent damage to the engine.

Heat

One of the primary causes of intake manifold gasket failure is heat. If your vehicle's engine overheats, the aluminum cylinder heads have a tendency to expand. As the metal expands, the gasket is crushed and will no longer provide an adequate seal. If your vehicle has seriously overheated, continues to overheat regularly or the coolant levels keep going down and you cannot find the leak, you should check the engine oil to make sure that you do not have coolant leaking into the engine oil.

Age

Intake manifold gaskets are not designed to last forever. If your vehicle has high mileage or is older, it is possible that the intake manifold gasket has simply worn out from years of use and exposure to engine fluids. Some engines are more prone to intake manifold gasket failure due to their design or poor quality OEM gaskets. Plastic intake manifold gaskets are especially prone to failing over time.

Vacuum Leaks

Vacuum leaks that are caused by a malfunctioning intake manifold gasket are less common than coolant leaks. However, it is possible for the intake manifold gasket to suffer damage, resulting in too much or too little air entering the intake manifold and mixing with the fuel. The vehicle will run poorly as a result.

About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.

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