Automotive Column 51 Intake Gaskets
Syndicated Newspaper Column
Oil leaks can be more than just an expense for the immediate issue, the component that is leaking. If a leak is left too long it can damage other parts that it comes in contact with. Ask your automotive repair shop if they feel the leak may cause damage to other components in your particular case.
CAR QUESTIONS TAKEN FROM
OUR WEEKLY TALK RADIO SHOW
Dear Motor Medics,
During a recent episode of Under The Hood you were talking about intake gaskets and the failure of them. I have one of those cars that have had them fail twice in an eight year period. The car is a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix with a non-supercharged engine. What is it that causes them to fail? I heard you address fixing them but not why they go out.
Sandra in Madison Wisconsin
Many cars have intake gaskets fail after they have been in use for a number of years but we tend to see more failures on the v6 non-supercharged General Motors engines in our shop. Now with that said it is important to note that I have friends down south where the climate shifts are not as extreme and they rarely see this issue. Because we see a greater failure in our cold climate we have to think that it is the cold weather that causes the intake, heads, and the block, to contract and expand at different rates due to their different metal content and this causes extreme wear on the gaskets. This constant movement eventually breaks down the gasket and allows coolant and oil to start to move beyond the block. Combine this with coolant that is not maintained regularly and the wear can be increased even more so. The best preventative is using the best set of gaskets you can find and regular cooling system service.
Take care, the Motor Medics
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Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. In order to make an accurate diagnosis a qualified technician should make a hands-on diagnosis. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.