What is an intake manifold gasket?
The intake manifold distributes air taken in through the throttle plate to the multiple cylinders. In many engines, fuel injection takes place within the intake manifold to mix with incoming air before ingestion into the cylinder. The manifold is attached to the cylinder head, and the unit is sealed with the use of a intake manifold gasket. Extreme temperatures, oil and coolant contamination, and the constant barrage of intake air will wear the gasket to the point where leaks develop between the cylinder head and manifold. Fuel management systems rely on very precise measurements of air to properly mix in fuel, so these leaks lead to poor engine performance.
What does a intake manifold gasket actually do?
Unlike a leak in the exhaust system, which will push gas out, a leak in the intake system pulls or sucks in air from the outside. This air does not pass by the throttle, the computer does not account for it, so the engine runs on a lean mixture. The computer will respond to this lean mixture by opening the injectors for a longer duration, however only so much compensation is allowed before the car runs poorly. Symptoms of this problem include misfires, hesitation, surging, and stalling.
How severe is a faulty intake manifold gasket?
Critical. This issue can and will leave you stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. If the car can still be driven, a repair should be scheduled with a good mechanic as soon as possible, and the car driven to the shop. Even if you must leave the car for the day, or the next day, until it may be worked on, this inconvenience will be easier to take than the extra money and time for the tow.
What is the typical replacement cost for an intake manifold gasket?
- Estimated part(s) cost = $50- $100
- Estimated labor cost = $300- $500
- Estimated Total Cost = $350- $600
A new gasket and mounting hardware (nuts and bolts) will run between $50 and $100, much of the price dependent upon the size of the motor. Although the parts may seem inexpensive, the labor will be on the expensive side. On many cars the manifold is buried under several layers of the engine, including the fuel rail and injectors. These layers must all be taken off to expose the intake manifold gasket. Expect the installation to average between $300 and $500 on most makes and models.
Keep in mind, pricing will vary by location and your vehicle make and model. If you're not already, save time and money by using Openbay to compare pricing and book an appointment with a service center in your area.
Service article written by an ASE Master Technician