Most car owners are confused as to what constitutes a vacuum leak. In simple words, a vacuum leak occurs when there is an excess of air in your engine which causes the engine to function poorly or not at all. This happens when the air-fuel ratio within your engine becomes higher than 14.7:1, which is also referred to as the “lean mixture”. CarSwitch.com, an online marketplace of used cars in Abu Dhabi, has put together a list of ways in which experts detect vacuum leaks.
Vacuum leaks are detrimental to your car’s health
The usual functioning of the engine becomes impaired, and major leaks can cause the engine to not start at all. In other cases, there might be difficulty accelerating, etc. Vacuum leaks tend to affect the fuel economy as well as emissions. Drivers may observe a lower fuel economy because the engine controller tries to compensate by making use of an increased amount of fuel.
Water leak method
The cheapest and easiest way to detect a vacuum leak is with the water method. When the engine is running, some water is sprayed around the suspected areas. These areas include vacuum hose fittings, intake manifold gaskets and throttle plate bushings. A vacuum leak will become apparent because it will suck in the water sprayed, this will cover the leak for some time. Don’t worry, water in little quantities does not do harm to your engine.
Another method that can be used is called carburetor cleaner. Since the carb cleaner is flammable, proper precautions are taken and a fire extinguisher must be close by in case of any unpleasant accidents. While the engine is idling, bits of the cleaner are sprayed on the areas suspected of vacuum leakage. If there exists a leak, the engine will most likely smooth out. This happens because the flammable mixture compensates for the disturbed air-fuel ratio in the engine.
Smoke machine method
The most accurate method is that of using a smoke machine. With the engine turned off, both the intake and exhaust are plugged. The smoke machine pumps smoke into the intake duct. It may take a couple of minutes for smoke to fill within the system. After it has filled the engine, the smoke will start detecting holes and leaks through which it can get out. A tiny cloud of smoke will emerge from the vacuum leaks.
After the vacuum leak has been detected successfully, the next step is to repair it. Be sure to choose an experienced mechanic for this task.
It’s important to keep your car well-maintained because doing so also improves its resale value and you would find it easier to sell your car in the UAE.
You can also read about some of the other common leaks that are found in used cars.
CarSwitch can help you buy a car in a safe and hassle-free way. We feature inspected, certified, and well-maintained used car in Abu Dhabi! Happy shopping!