Find a vaccum leak on my car

When I picked up the completed car, the check-engine light came on within a couple of miles.

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I took it back, and they found a vacuum leak trouble code and needed to get a smoke tester to find the leak. They told me the problem was a contaminated "evap" canister. I am wondering if the smoke test could have contaminated the system or if that was even the problem.

A: No, the smoke machine did not contaminate anything. These devices, which have been around for years, inject harmless smoke into the fresh air intake system of the engine. This is where vacuum leaks occur but they are very hard to find. Any "false air" entering the engine causes performance problems. By filling the system with smoke, the leak reveals itself as it curls from the leak. Easily spotted, it can be quickly repaired. Q: I use octane non-oxygenated fuel in the tank of my Jaguar.

How to Find and Fix A Vacuum Leak

Do I need to add a fuel stabilizer for winter storage? A: Yes. Stabilizers keep the fuel fresh, much as a refrigerator keeps food fresh.

The Globe and Mail

It doesn't matter what the octane is or the amount of ethanol or other oxygenate in the fuel. After adding the stabilizer, run the engine for about 10 minutes to distribute it throughout the system. This is especially important for engines with carburetors, because fuel sitting in the float bowl gets gooey and can also gum up the carb's passages.

Q: Is any car company still manufacturing small to midsize SUVs, not crossovers? It seems the latter is being used interchangeably with the former. The way you find vacuum leaks is, we use a little wand that shoots propane. When the vacuum leak and the propane meet, you'll suck the propane in and the engine will begin to run smoothly, because now you're making the fuel-air mixture correct.

Vacuum leaks: problems, symptoms, repairs

And as soon as you take the propane wand away, all of a sudden, you've got far more air compared to the fuel than you're supposed to have, and it runs lousy again. So there he is under the hood with the wand, and he's having lousy luck. If the leak is massive, then you can usually hear it or use a propane enrichment tool to locate the spot the engine speed will increase and smooth out.

If the leak is small or in an awkward place, the propane enrichment method or carburetor cleaner spray method is inconclusive. What if you are looking for a reason the engine in your combine is not building maximum turbocharger boost or your vacuum meter planter is not working consistently? The answer is to use a smoke machine.

This apparatus allows the introduction of a nonflammable smoke into a component, quickly revealing the leak s.

How to Find a Vacuum Leak: 12 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

Just follow the smoke. On an engine gas or diesel there are many connections, grommets, seals, lines, and tubes in the induction system, and they are all potential leak areas. This is especially true with a gas engine since a vacuum leak will dramatically impact the way it runs. Some vacuum leak areas have more impact than others.

How to Detect a Vacuum Leak in a Car?

For example, if the vacuum leak is at the plenum area of the intake manifold, then all cylinders will suffer from a lean mixture to a like magnitude. If the intake gasket is leaking vacuum on only one runner to the cylinder head, then only that cylinder will be impacted but to a much greater extent than a common plenum leak. Individual cylinder vacuum leaks at the intake manifold gasket or from the O-ring on a port electronic fuel-injection system are very common and often elusive to find without smoke testing.

You may be able to find the major leak, but the engine is still suffering from the other lesser offenders. Light-duty gas vehicles also have an elaborate evaporative emission control system that only handles vapors from the fuel system. These have been in use for more than 20 years. The evaporative system is almost impossible to diagnose unless the failure is obvious, such as a broken rubber line or fitting.


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In most instances, the leak is due to porosity — not a clear break.