Taking care of your car is a vital part of life as a car owner. There are a lot of different things that can go wrong, but all problems are debilitating.
There are some common niggling problems that can take a long time to become a big problem. One common little problem that often gets ignored is a vacuum leak.
Now you may be wondering what a vacuum leak is? Well, it's a leak in the system between the engine and the mass airflow sensor that controls the flow of air through your engine.
Airflow is an integral part of combustion, and the air delivered to the combustion chamber goes through the vacuum system because the air needs to be controlled when delivered.
So when there's a vacuum leak, you will see a lot of niggling problems. Here are some common symptoms that suggest vacuum leaks:
- Hard starting
- Low engine power
- Engine Misfiring
- Poor fuel economy
- Poor acceleration
- Rough idle
- High idle
- Check engine light (CEL)on
- Poor vacuum-type power brakes
Vacuum leaks hamper your car's performance, so make sure you look into the problems. Now to make things easier, we will talk about the most common issues that almost always signal that you have a vacuum leak. So let's talk about that.
Common Signs Of A Vacuum Leak
As we listed above, there are plenty of different symptoms for a vacuum leak. Here are some of the most common signs and problems that tell you that you have a vacuum leak. So let's get into it:
When You Hear A Hissing Sound
Since the vacuum system is in an enclosed place, you will usually hear a hissing sound whenever there is a leak. It can be anything from broken pipes to a blown gasket.
Even if the damage is minimal, there will be a sound out from the pressurized air leaking out. So make sure you check out if you have a vacuum leak when you hear a hissing sound coming out.
Tanking Fuel Efficiency
The vacuum system is responsible for delivering air directly to the combustion chamber. It ensures that the ratio of fuel to oxygen levels within the combustion chamber is just right, ensuring perfect energy production.
With a leak in the vacuum system, the air delivery will be inconsistent, making the oxygen to fuel ratio off balance. What this means is that the combustion will be impure tanking fuel efficiency. So when you see a dip in efficiency, make sure you check if you have a vacuum leak.
You know your fuel efficiency will be low with a vacuum leak, but that's not all there is. The leak causing impure combustion means that your engine isn't working correctly, making your engine misfire.
The leak kills your engine's ability to create power, meaning you will experience a significant loss in power when driving.
Under performing Engine
A vacuum leak hurts your engine a lot. The engine will under perform when the air intake to the engine is compromised.
When the leak is significant, you might see your rough engine idling, hesitate, and stall along with the occasional misfire. If the leak is big enough, then your engine might not even get enough air to start.
Modern car manufacturers care about the environment, and there is an emission rating that the car needs to pass. Usually, with a perfect vacuum system, your emission rating will be right.
However, with a vacuum leak, the combustion will be impure, creating dangerous chemicals like nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide. All those chemicals are harmful, and that makes your car fail in its emission test.
There are other symptoms that can signal a vacuum leak. Problems like the Check engine light (CEL) on, Poor vacuum-type power brakes can mean you have a vacuum leak.
The check engine light can mean many things, so it's not that helpful. You need to diagnose the problems properly when to make sure what the issues are.
You can use an OBD2 scanner to diagnose the problem. If you don't have one, then you can buy a good quality scanner for diagnosing issues. You can check out the 5 best automotive scanners in the market.
How To Fix A Vacuum Leak? Can You DIY it? & Repair Costs
While you technically do any car problem at home if you are skilled enough. However, it's not something you can do easily at home unless you are a certified mechanic.
Now you can diagnose the problem if you want with an OBD2 Scanner. When you do have a vacuum leak, make sure you contact your mechanic because you need to take your car to the garage to fix it.
Suppose you are looking to detect where the vacuum leak, then you use the cigar trick where you use the smoke from a cigar to find the leak. So since you have to go to a repair shop when there is a vacuum leak, you need to know the average cost of repair. Well, the average vacuum leak repair cost is around 150 dollars to 1000 dollars.
Now, if you keep ignoring the symptoms and let the problems pile on, then you might be facing a repair cost of 2000 dollars to 4000 dollars, depending on whether or not you have damaged valves.
The price can be even higher with multiple engine part failures due to a vacuum leak or, worse, a complete engine replacement. So do not ignore the symptoms. Make sure you have everything checked.
Repairing Ahead Of Disaster
So that takes care of it all. We have covered everything from detecting a vacuum leak to how to fix a vacuum leak to how much a vacuum leak repair cost can be. Hopefully, by now, you know all you need to know about vacuum leaks.
It would be best if you were well prepared to fix your car before any severe damage. Just keep an eye out for the symptoms, and you will be all right. So with that being said, we are at the end here.
We will come back with something new about the wonderful world of cars and anything automotive's inner workings soon. Until then, see ya!