The engine needs oxygen from the air in order for combustion to work. It is imperative that the car's engine is supplied with the correct amount of clean, filtered air. Air needs to be as clean as possible before it mixes with the fuel and burns in the cylinders of the engine. The overall result of this ensures the engine is working to its optimum, providing more power and fuel efficiency. A car's air intake system consists of several vital components that work together to ensure the air entering the engine is a steady and uninterrupted flow of clean, filtered air. The inlet manifold ensures the air or fuel/air mixture is provided to the inlet/intake ports in the cylinder heads in the engine. In some cases the inlet manifold functions to deliver coolant. The inlet manifold gasket functions to act as a sealant to the inlet manifold, ensuring a tight seal is maintained between the inlet manifold and the cylinder head.
Situated in the engine, sandwiched between the cylinder head and the inlet manifold/intake pipe, acting as a sealant, is the inlet manifold gasket. Inlet manifold gaskets will have either an aluminized steel, or plastic carrier/base or core, generally the shape of ring. Sealing beads are usually used to firmly secure the seal around the port. Often made of a specialised rubber or an asbestos mix, the sealing beads in the inlet manifold gasket need to be resistant to coolant, fuel, alcohol and oil. For this reason they're sometimes manufactured from fluoroelastomer (FKM) rubber, or a material called aramid fibre, which is good at resisting oils, solvents and other chemical damage. The inlet manifold gasket is manufactured to be vehicle specific, so materials will vary depending on the car make and model. Buying the inlet manifold gasket will ensure a part that is compatible with the car you drive.
The inlet manifold gasket can become worn and corrode over time. If the seal is ineffective, the inlet manifold can develop a leak. If the inlet manifold also carries the coolant around the engine, then you may notice a loss of coolant. If there's a problem with the inlet manifold gasket, the Check Engine warning light should illuminate on the dashboard. A faulty inlet manifold gasket can lead to reduced engine performance, higher emissions and reduced fuel economy.
Signs of a faulty inlet manifold gasket can include an engine that struggles when idling; a stuttering, shaking engine; an engine that is stalling; and a loss of power when accelerating. To be certain the exact cause of the fault is properly diagnosed it's always a good idea to seek the advice of your mechanic. It is really important when replacing a faulty inlet manifold gasket that you fit a replacement part that is compatible with your vehicle. Specifically manufactured for the make and model of your vehicle, the inlet manifold gasket is the ideal product, providing a part that will fit well, perform properly and last longer.