Signs of a Bad Intake Gasket

Written by quinn marshall
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Signs of a Bad Intake Gasket
The intake manifold supplies fuel to the cylinders. (fire plugs image by Karin Lau from

The intake manifold gasket, also called the IMG, is made of rubber and fixed beneath the intake manifold. The intake manifold is located within the engine and is responsible for supplying a mixture of fuel and air to the cylinders. The intake gasket keeps that fuel from leaking from the intake manifold and prevents additional air from being pulled into the engine. All vehicles are prone to intake manifold gasket problems, though some models are more prone to problems than others.


The most common symptom of a bad intake manifold gasket is leaking. A bad intake gasket with a leak allows water, antifreeze or a mixture of both to leak from the vehicle. This will result in a puddle of water or antifreeze on the ground. If the vehicle is often parked on soft ground or rocks where leaking fluids are absorbed, a bad intake manifold gasket can be identified by frequent loss of water in the upper tank or by unusually low antifreeze levels that continue to lower after being refilled.

Rough Idle

If an intake manifold gasket goes bad, it can allow too much fuel or air to reach the cylinders, or cause the levels of fuel and air to fluctuate as the car idles. This problem manifests itself with rough idling. An engine that is idling rough will cause the vehicle to shake, vibrate or shudder while on but not moving.


If the intake manifold gasket has a crack or is loose and leaking, the engine will draw air through that small breach in the gasket, which could result in a whistling sound. If the crack or leak is exceptionally large, the whistling sound may turn into a sucking noise as the engine pulls in more air. If this sound is a sign of a bad intake gasket, it is usually accompanied by a rough idle and leaking fluids.

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