5 Symptoms of a Bad Intake Manifold Gasket (and Replacement Cost)

A gasket is basically a seal which goes in between various components of the engine. This seal can be made from metal, paper, rubber, or a combination of them.

This particular gasket goes in between the cylinder head and the intake manifold in order to provide a seal there. As you may know, the intake manifold is responsible for delivering the mixture of air and fuel to the cylinders.

If there is a problem with the intake manifold gasket and it is unable to properly seal these two components, then you could have major problems.

Bad Intake Manifold Gasket Symptoms

1) Coolant Leaking

coolant leaking

Some vehicles have water jackets in the intake manifold for cooling the intake charge. On these setups, the intake manifold gasket functions a bit like a head gasket, in that its purpose is to seal against both air and coolant leaks.

Naturally, if this seal were to be worn out or damaged, then coolant fluid will be able to seep through the seal and leak out. The leak could either be external (into the engine bay) or internal (into the intake manifold, then the combustion chamber). You may know when this is happening because the smell of coolant will be in the cabin and it is a very distinct smell.

If it gets really bad, then you might even see steam and puddles of coolant from under the vehicle. The vehicle could overheat if it loses too much coolant, and will blow white smoke if the coolant is burned in the combustion chamber.

2) Engine Stalling

engine stall

When the engine stops turning or is turning too slowly, then stalling will occur. This can happen when a faulty intake manifold gasket causes a vacuum leak, which messes up the ratio of air to fuel.

Then you could be driving and all of a sudden experience a stalled engine. Of course, there could be many other reasons for a stalling engine, but a bad intake manifold gasket is surely one of them. Go see a mechanic to have them verify if it is this gasket or not.

A mechanic will be able to perform a smoke test to rule out vacuum leaks. A smoke test injects smoke into the intake system. If there is a leak in the system, smoke will come out from an area it’s not supposed to.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of a Bad EGR Valve and Replacement Cost

3) Overheated Engine

engine overheating symptoms

An overheated engine is a continuation of the coolant leaking problem. If your bad intake manifold gasket has caused an internal coolant leak, then the coolant is going to get into the intake manifold. Once this happens, your engine will eventually overheat.

You may not even see any visible leaks coming from your vehicle on the outside. But you will know if your engine is overheating because it will show on your dashboard.

It is best to get this issue addressed as soon as possible. An overheating engine is likely to cause other more severe damage if left unchecked.

If your engine is overheating, you will want to rule out other parts of the cooling system to make sure you are replacing the right part. A leak down test will tell you if your head gasket has failed or the head has cracked instead.

You could also test the thermostat to ensure it is working properly. A thermostat that is stuck closed will also cause overheating issues.

4) Bad Fuel Economy

Since a faulty intake manifold gasket causes a disruption in the air to fuel ratio, then your engine is going to consume more fuel than normal.

This means you will be spending more money on gas for doing the same amount of driving that you normally do. As a result, your fuel economy will decrease greatly.

5) Loss of Acceleration

car won't accelerate

Aside from an engine stalling, you may notice a simple loss of acceleration after you step on the gas pedal. You may get a little bit of power at first, but then the acceleration will stop and start again as you keep your foot on the pedal.

You obviously shouldn’t continue to drive your vehicle when it is in this condition since it’s dangerous to do so. If you are experiencing two or more of the other symptoms, then you definitely need to have your intake manifold gasket replaced promptly.

Intake Manifold Gasket Replacement Cost

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intake manifold gasket replacement cost

The replacement cost of an intake manifold gasket is anywhere from $190 to $540. The cost of the labor will be anywhere from $170 to $420. The gasket itself is very inexpensive and will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 to $120.

You may have multiple intake manifold gaskets if you have a V6, V8, boxer (Subaru and Porsche), or other engine layout with multiple cylinder banks. All intake manifold gaskets should generally be replaced at the same time.

On top of these costs, you will need to worry about the additional fees and taxes too. Overall, though, this is not an expensive replacement job and it should be affordable for most drivers to get done.

Can You Drive With a Bad Intake Manifold Gasket?

While it is indeed often possible to drive with a bad intake manifold gasket, you should not drive too far. Issues like this don’t go away on their own, and they also don’t tend to get better with time.

Leaking additional unmetered air into the combustion chamber has the potential to make the car run lean, which means the engine is likely to run hotter. Knock or predetonation is also more likely. Too much knock under load can actually destroy a perfectly good engine. 

An overheating engine is likely to cause additional damage to the engine, including a warped or cracked head or a cracked block. This damage would cost far more to repair than a simple intake manifold gasket replacement normally would.

33 thoughts on “5 Symptoms of a Bad Intake Manifold Gasket (and Replacement Cost)”

    • P4020 signifies a problem with your catalytic converter. Technically, a leaking intake manifold gasket could cause a cat converter failing if coolant leaked into the exhaust but it’s pretty unlikely.

      Reply
  1. Help! I have a 2004 Nissan Altima and it’s just been one problem after another since acquiring it. I just had my boyfriend replace my intake manifold gasket because it sounded like a go cart when I was driving it. After replacement my car keeps shifting poorly and losing power. I can’t drive over 50mph because the RPMs are so high and it behind to lose power on its own. I put a code reader on it and I’m getting P0732, P0300, P0301, and another P0732. I have replaced so many parts in this car. Please tell me what you think it could be!

    Reply
    • Shows you have a misfire on cylinder 1 and incorrect ratio in gear 2. Check transmission fluid level and condition and possibly new plugs. If the throttle body is messed with, it may require reprogramming.

      Reply
  2. Is $900-1000 reasonable for parts/labor for spark plugs, valve cover gaskets and intake manifold gasket for 2007 Ford Freestyle?

    Reply
  3. I have 94 chevy Silverado with a 305 engine. I had my intake gasket replace. the mechanic drilled on my intake to adjust the idle. could this have messed up something? now when I drive it there is a knocking noise when I accelerate. I am afraid to drive it so I don’t do further damage. any advice?

    Reply
  4. I have a 2000 chevy s10 that stops just short of overheating when I drive (short distances, less than 10 min) and the heat won’t work. I brought it to a shop and they ran a diagnostic and said it would be over $800 to fix the manifold gasket. Does the conclusion and price sound right?

    Reply
    • I have a 2014 Chevy Cruze with a check engine light. The local Midas shop diagnosed the issue as a problem with the intake manifold valve. They also said it caused damage to some sort of ball? Clearly I don’t know cars. They told me it would cost $1,022 to replace. Does that seem way high?

      Reply
  5. I have a Altima 06 when I got it I changed my radiator bc it was overheating then I performed a relearn on the throttle body change spark plugs and 02 sensors , there’s no coolant in my oil or anything but there’s this constant problem where I drive my car for like 4/5 days and then next morning it does not wanna turn over it’s not the starter or alternater so I took it to the shop and there telling me to do work on my head gasket and I just don’t see why it would have anything to do with the head gasket

    Reply
  6. I have a new Range Rover Velar with a faulty intake manifold gasket. I’m concerned what other damage this could have caused. Should I cut my losses and hand it back?

    Reply
  7. 2004 Jaguar XJ8 codes P0171 and P1111 – I’ve noticed hard shifting on some takeoffs and when attempting to use the passing gear…Please share any insights..Thanks!!

    Reply
    • P0171 “system too lean” often indicates a vacuum leak somewhere. You can determine if there’s a vacuum leak using a smoke test. P1111 is used for Jaguar diagnostics and is no cause for concern.

      Reply
      • To lean bank 1 which is o2 sensor off manafold before curve to shoot out under whole car screws out n unplugs from electric pack

    • Okay so I hope this information is not too late for you keto 171 is you have different banks Bank One bank to bank 3 and bank for those are for your O2 which are oxygen oxygen sensors meaning that differentiates the oxygen and the gas flow through your exhaust meaning it’s you too lean bank 1 so you need to change Bank 1 O2 sensor which comes off the manifold down to the bottom of the pipe before it bends to go past your passenger seat to the exhaust t1111 is not a fault code it’s a designated code Jaguar uses meaning system ready drive cycles completed if it was another code it would mean drive cycle is not recorded complete after last fault

      Reply
  8. 1995 Ford Explore ‘my kit comes 6-19-20 ‘costing me 45 dollars and I’ll be saving tons ‘installing myself in an hour Flat yup ‘then I’ll prolly install spark plug right after they have 300 thousands miles on them ‘Knowledge is Power of Keeping that hard earned money in your Wallet

    Reply

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