BMW intake manifold gasket replacement, made easy

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Our expert insights into intake manifold gasket replacement

What does an intake manifold gasket do?

The intake manifold gaskets are responsible for sealing the intake manifold against the cylinder head or heads depending on the engine. This gasket ensures no air leaks out as it travels from the air inlets into the intake manifold and eventually reaches the engine where it helps to burn the fuel inside the engine cylinder.

What are the symptoms of a bad intake manifold gasket?

Below are the top three symptoms that could indicate you need to replace your intake manifold gasket:

  • When the engine is running at a higher temperature or overheating more than usual.

  • When there is fluid under the car, coming from the engine.

  • When the engine does not run as smoothly as usual.

What happens when we do an intake manifold gasket replacement on your car?

Our certified mechanics will:

  • Inspect the intake manifold and gasket for leaks.

  • Read the car's ECU to find any fault codes.

  • Clean the air intake ports of the engine of dirt buildup.

  • If necessary, they will replace the intake manifold gasket.

  • Advise if other related parts need to be replaced.

  • Finally they will test drive the car.

Daniel, from LondonDaniel, from London

Hey Fixter, what causes an intake manifold gasket to break?

The intake manifold gasket is constantly exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations inside the engine during combustion, making it especially prone to wear and cracking.

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Want to learn more about BMW intake manifold gasket replacement?

What does an intake manifold gasket do?

Gaskets are the seals placed between engine components to prevent any leaks. The intake manifold gasket is located between the engine and the air intake manifold and seals the two components.

It is usually made of a hard metal or composite material and ensures the air flows from the air inlets into the intake manifold and eventually reaches the engine where it helps to burn the fuel inside the engine cylinder. The intake manifold also serves as a device for cooling the engine coolant which passes through it.

BMW

BMW AG is a German automobile and motorcycle manufacturer that was established over 100 years ago in March 1916. They also own Mini and Rolls Royce, after taking over the two British marques in 2000 and 1998 respectively.

BMW makes luxury vehicles and is possibly most famous for its sports saloon models. In 2018, BMW had 1.9m vehicles on the roads in the UK, a number that has been steadily increasing each year for the past decade.

As one of the ‘big 3’ German marques, along with Audi and Mercedes, BMW carries a strong reputation for making high-quality stylish vehicles, and have captured a large section of the UK market.

Luxury family and business models for every driver

Probably most popular for the 3 Series and 5 Series saloon models, BMW has got every possible angle covered for the more discerning drivers.

The full range includes everything from the 1 Series city car to the full-size saloons and sports coupes of the 7 and 8 Series models.

To provide everything you’d ever need for family motoring there’s a seven-seat MPV, their range of X model SUVs, and since 2014, the introduction of their plug-in electric i models. Top it all off with their M model high-performance supercars, the Z4 convertible and the i8 Roadster—and you’ve got the full package.

BMW: High performance on and off the track

BMW has a successful history in a range of motorsports.

They have been significant performers in touring car racing and rally driving, enjoyed success in Formula One with the BMW Sauber team, and BMW cars have been regular competitors and winners at Le Mans since the race’s early years.

BMW’s reliability and reputation

BMW ranked 16th place out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018. BMW hasn’t always had the best reputation for reliability but to rank alongside marques such as Honda, Volkswagen and Fiat they’re holding their own alongside plenty of the other big names.

How often should an intake manifold gasket need replacing?

The intake manifold gasket on a car should typically last around 50,000 to 75,000 miles. However, this varies between cars and between drivers. In some instances, the gasket will fail prematurely due to the heat and pressures it’s exposed to on a daily basis. Some may last a lot longer in a less used or newer car.

And remember, failing to have your car maintained and repaired if you think there may be a problem with your intake manifold gasket could result in more costly and serious damage to your engine. A bad gasket will also impact your car’s power and fuel economy, making it more expensive to run.

The law, vehicle regulations and your MOT

There are strict regulations regarding exhaust systems and car emissions in the UK. A car's exhaust system, including the manifold and gaskets, cannot have any serious leaks, corrosion or cracks. An annual MOT tests both the exhaust system for leaks and deterioration and the emissions coming from the exhaust system.

What causes an intake manifold gasket to break?

During the combustion process the engine cools and heats continuously. The intake manifold gasket is constantly exposed to these extreme temperature fluctuations inside the engine, making it especially prone to wear and cracking.

When should an intake manifold gasket be replaced?

It is important to make sure that the intake manifold gasket is always in good condition as a damaged gasket can lead to engine coolant leaks and an overheating engine. We therefore advise that you replace a bad gasket as soon as you notice any of the symptoms below. The sooner you deal with the issue, the less likely it is that you’ll have to fork out for larger, costly repairs in the future.

What are the signs of a bad intake manifold gasket?

Usually, there a few signs you can look for:

  • If the ‘check engine’ warning light illuminates.

  • Engine misfire.

  • Loss of engine power.

  • Poor fuel efficiency.

  • When the engine is running at a higher temperature or overheating more than usual.

  • When there is fluid under the car, coming from the engine.

  • When coolant is visible around the intake manifold.

  • When the engine does not run as smoothly as usual.

What happens during an intake manifold gasket replacement?

During the repair our certified mechanics will:

  • Inspect the intake manifold and gasket for leaks.

  • Read the car's ECU to find any fault codes.

  • Clean the air intake ports of the engine of dirt buildup.

  • If necessary, they will replace the intake manifold gasket.

  • Advise if other related parts need to be replaced.

  • Finally they will test drive the car.

What is the average life of an intake manifold gasket?

The intake manifold gasket on a car should typically last around 50,000 to 75,000 miles. However, this varies between cars and between drivers. In some instances, the gasket will fail prematurely due to the heat and pressures it’s exposed to on a daily basis. Some may last a lot longer in a less used or newer car.

Can you drive with a broken intake manifold gasket?

We wouldn’t recommend driving if you suspect you have a bad or leaky intake manifold gasket. A bad leak will wreak havoc on your engine as it will disrupt the air fuel mixture in your engine. This could cause your car to overheat, stall frequently, misfire, run rough, or worst case your engine could seize, which will result in a costly, but avoidable, repair.

What happens if you don't change a bad intake manifold gasket?

Failing to have your car maintained and repaired if you think there may be a problem with your intake manifold gasket could result in more costly and serious damage to your engine. A bad gasket will also impact your car’s power and fuel economy, making it more expensive to run.

Do intake manifold gaskets deteriorate with age?

The intake manifold gasket on a car should typically last around 50,000 to 75,000 miles. However they can experience premature wear and tear as they are constantly exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations during your car’s combustion cycle.

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