What is an Intake Manifold Gasket? (with pictures)

What is an Intake Manifold Gasket?

The intake manifold gasket(s) sits between the cylinder head and the intake manifold. Its main purpose is to prevent coolant, oil, or air leaks.

Because of constant expansion and contraction from temperature changes, coolant and oil contamination, and the constant flow of intake air, the intake manifold gaskets can slowly break down and eventually get to the point where is deteriorates enough to cause a leak.

If a leak occurs, the gasket should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid potential engine damage or possibly getting stranded.

See Also: Oil in Your Intake Manifold? (Here’s What it Means)

##How does a mechanic replace an intake manifold gasket?

If the intake manifold gasket requires replacement, a mechanic will typically do the following:
  • Allow the vehicle to cool

  • Remove the engine hood

  • Remove all engine parts that are in the way of the intake manifold. These can include the accelerator cable, cruise control cable, electrical connections, and vacuum lines.

  • Unbolt and remove the intake manifold from the engine

  • Replace the broken intake manifold gasket and secure a new one

  • Reposition the intake manifold in the engine

  • Re-install all removed components from earlier

Your vehicle will then be turned on to check for any leaks. After a test drive, you’ll be all set!


Symptoms of A Bad Intake Manifold Gasket

Fuel is used in automotive engines. The correct fuel/air mixture is what makes your engine run properly. Once this feed is interrupted, the engine suffers, and its performance degrades. Below is a list of symptoms to look out for. Your engine will be saved from severe damage if they are detected early.

Engine Overheating

An overheating engine aggravates the issue of coolant leakage. When a faulty intake manifold gasket has indeed caused an internal coolant leak, coolant will flow through your intake manifold.

Your engine will ultimately overheat if this occurs. On its surface, you might not see any apparent leaks flowing off your car. However, when your engine starts overheating, it’ll display on your dashboard.

It’s essential to deal with this problem asap. When left untreated, an overheated engine is sure to inflict severe further damage. If you have an overheating engine, ensure you’re replacing the proper component by ruling out other sections of its cooling system.

A leak test would reveal if the head gasket is blown or the cylinder head has cracks. You might also do a check on your thermostat to make sure it’s in good functioning order. Overheating may also be caused by a thermostat that’s jammed closed.

Engine Stalling

Stalling occurs whenever the engine ceases spinning or starts spinning too slow. This could occur if a damaged intake manifold gasket creates a vacuum leak, causing the air/fuel ratio to be messed up.

Then there’s the possibility that your engine would suddenly stall while you’re driving. There are various causes for engine stalling, but a leaky intake manifold gasket is undoubtedly among them. Consult a mechanic to discover whether the intake manifold gasket causes the problem.

To clear out vacuum leaks, your mechanic would conduct a smoke test. Smoke is injected through your intake system during a smoke test. Once there’s a leak in your system, the smoke will escape into places it shouldn’t.

Decreased Engine Performance and Misfires

Your leaking intake manifold gasket allows air to exit while allowing coolant to enter. Each of these factors might have a detrimental impact on engine performance. It’s unlikely that you won’t be able to drive your car or that it would shut down when you’re going, but you may notice a decrease in acceleration and fuel efficiency.

The main concern in such a situation is that when your coolant blends with your engine oil, not only will your coolant lose its efficiency, but your oil will also be unable to take action properly.

This might result in increased wear and tear on a variety of components, as well as costly damages. When you use a scanner to examine the trouble codes, you could uncover misfire fault codes in your ECU (engine control unit.) Once your intake leak is severe, it might fill your cylinders with coolant, causing the engine to hydrolock, making it hard to start.

This is a highly hazardous situation that might cause significant harm to your vehicle. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence since most automobile engines are engineered to allow coolant to flow straight into your intake manifold.

Poor Fuel Economy

As a result of the interruption in the air/fuel ratio caused by intake manifold leaks, your engine will burn extra fuel than usual. This implies that you would waste extra money on fuel for the same driving quality that you typically do. As a consequence, your fuel efficiency will be significantly reduced.

Poor Acceleration

Even though the issue hasn’t progressed to the level of creating misfires, a leaking intake manifold gasket makes it very challenging for your automobile to accelerate. The air seeping out of your intake manifold causes substantial power loss. It reduces the quantity of air that reaches your engine and causes a vacuum leak across your whole air intake system.

Regardless of how large your throttle body opens, any vacuum leak decreases air pressure in your engine—as a result, pushing the gas pedal is frequently unable to provide the desired acceleration. Instead, your automobile seems to move at a constant, slow pace.

Coolant Leaks

Your intake manifold gasket, as previously stated, guards from more than only air leakage; it also serves to seal engine coolant. Coolant can leak out the system whenever the intake manifold gaskets are compromised.

Even a tiny leak will ultimately lead coolant levels to decrease to dangerously low levels. Watch out for any symptoms that your vehicle has a coolant leak. Keep an eye out for any coolant spots in your driveway or your garage.

Since these symptoms might be caused by several issues with your cooling system, one of them could be a blown intake manifold gasket. Every automobile owner should see the indicators of a faulty intake manifold gasket. Those who do not will likely face even more severe issues.

White Smoke

You can’t tell what’s happening within your intake manifold until you disassemble your engine. Still, at that moment, whether your intake manifold gaskets are failing or not, you must replace them.

That’s why it’s critical to understand how to diagnose this issue without dismantling anything. The simplest method is to run your engine and examine your exhaust because your engine is consuming coolant whenever there’s a lot of white smoke streaming out of your exhaust.

Coolant leaking can only enter the combustion chamber by a failing head gasket or intake manifold gasket leak — in either case, you’ve got a problem. When assessing if the quantity of white smoke is overwhelming, always remember that you’ll produce more smoke in the winter than you would in the summer, which is perfectly natural.

FAQs About The Intake Manifold Gasket

You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!

Q: I Think There’s A Leak In The Gasket, But I Don’t Want To Replace It. Can’t I Just Patch It?

A: There are products, such as silicone sealants, that can help close leaks. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites ones.

Q: I Want To Add A Cold Air Intake. Will This Mess With My Air-Fuel Mixture?

A: It shouldn’t, but there are other issues to worry about. If you’re buying one of those big-tube air intakes, you’ll want to be sure that the filter is made to withstand the test of time. You’ll also want to position it in the engine compartment to avoid sucking up water from puddles and rain. Water doesn’t compress, so it’s not going to do your engine any favors.

Q: Why Did Brian O’Conner’s Laptop Say “Danger to Manifold” In the O.G. Fast and the Furious?

A: Movie magic? Yeah, it made no sense. The piece that then drops off from the passenger footwell is part of the floorpan, which makes even less sense!

Q: Did Fast and the Furious Lie to Us?

A: They did! But who cares, it’s the movies! It’s not like they’re gonna go to spac

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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.

Intake Manifold Gasket Replacement Cost

If your automobile suffers from one or more of the symptoms above, you will almost certainly need to replace your intake manifold gasket rather than merely repair it. There’s no more convenient than having a mechanic inspect your vehicle for you. And you’ll almost certainly need to replace this component before it becomes too late.

Your intake manifold gasket might cost anywhere between $50 up to $300 based on the automobile brand, year, and size. While the cost of your intake manifold gasket might vary significantly, the pricing of the mechanic’s effort to remove, replace, and install it can also fluctuate based on the same parameters. Your mechanic might charge you anywhere from $150 up to $550 plus a service fee.

Simply changing your intake manifold gasket might cost anything from $200 up to $700. While it isn’t the cheapest task, it may be among the most expensive if it isn’t fixed promptly. Burned engines and associated problems are significantly more costly than a straightforward gasket replacement, so have this fixed as soon as possible.

What To Pay Attention To

1. Fluid Compatibility

Is your gasket compatible with the designated fluids? Initially, make sure that the material will not be degraded by contact with the fluids. This will make sure the integrity of the material will not be compromised.

2. Temperature Capability

Confirm that the gasket material is designed to survive the temperatures the intake manifold will see (some have coolant ports and some have EGR exhaust ports, requiring better materials). Also, with high temperatures can come expansion and contraction. (see #4 below) Is your gasket material robust enough to handle the scrubbing?

3. Conformance

Find a material that best meets the compressibility / recovery / creep-relaxation requirements that you need. Some joints require thicker gaskets to overcome variations in the gap. This can be achieved with composite laminates. All gasket materials perform differently, and you can see drastically different results from materials that you might perceive to be similar based on these properties.

4. Release or Slip Tolerance

Consider whether you need an anti-stick coating for easier removal. Facing materials tend to stick, particularly with heat and fluid exposure. Also, if there is a lot of expansion/contraction due thermal conditions, an anti-stick coating will protect the material allowing it to slip without destruction.

Explanation of Intake Manifold-Related Terms

Get educated!


Coolant is a liquid in the radiator that is designed to change the freezing and boiling points of water, which keeps radiators from freezing or overheating. It also helps lubricate the parts it touches, which can help prevent damage to critical parts like the water pump and head gasket.


A stall just means that the engine has stopped turning for one reason or another. In the case of an intake manifold gasket, the problem is related to the engine not receiving the proper amounts of fuel or air, either of which can cause major issues with standard engine operation.


The air-fuel mixture is the ideal ratio of both air and fuel to keep the engine running properly. It’s also vital for proper ignition timing and ignition in general, where the location, timing, and duration of combustion is important.

Throttle Body

The throttle body is part of the air intake system. It controls the quantity of air flowing into the engine.

Air Intake

The air intake is designed to bring air into the engine. It’s usually a long tube that runs from behind the grille into the engine. It passes through a filter, and will usually pass through resonator chambers, which are in place to help smooth air flow.

That little piece of rubber can cause big problems., Depositphotos

Intake Manifold Gasket Function

The intake manifolds function is to direct the cor

The intake manifolds function is to direct the correct fluids, gasses, and engine necessities to the correct location throughout the engine. The intake manifold gasket assists with this by eliminating any potential escape routes for these fluids or gasses.

The intake manifold gasket forms seals around each of the passages in the intake manifold, keeping everything where it’s supposed to be. It might not sound that complicated, and it’s not, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

What Is a Head Gasket?

A head gasket is a mechanical seal that sits between the cylinder head the engine block. Automotive engines don’t consist of a single piece. They are made of two primary pieces, including an engine block at the bottom and a cylinder head at the top. The head gasket is a mechanical seal that sits between your vehicle’s cylinder head and its engine block.

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