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Ask a Mechanic....Leaking gaskets in a Alero Coupe

In today’s column we discuss leaking gaskets in the 1999 Oldsmobile Alero Coupe.

By Nida Zafar Wheels.ca

Nov 13, 2021 2 min. read

Article was updated 6 months ago

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Every week, we take your questions about what is going on under the hood of your vehicle and pose them to a knowledgeable mechanic in the Greater Toronto Area. In today’s column we discuss leaking gaskets in the 1999 Oldsmobile Alero Coupe.

Dear Ask a Mechanic,

I recently inherited a 1999 Oldsmobile Alero Coupe from my father. It has 72,000 kilometers, zero rust, leather seats, air, six cylinders and was always parked in a garage. The only problem was the lower intake gaskets were leaking. Given the sentimental value, I want to repair it. My question is will the gaskets fail again? Was the gasket design changed to prevent this from recurring? What’s your opinion? – Classic restorer

Michael Morais, general manager of Florida Garage in Toronto — an automotive shop specializing in restorations— explained General Motors conducted a design change to prevent the problem from recurring. The company started offering this about nine years ago, he said, and if you contact GM Canada with the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number), it’s possible the change can still be honoured. “It’s a defective part they changed up. It used to be all plastic before and now the part’s metal and plastic.” If it’s not covered by GM, he recommends drivers replace the part with the updated version themselves. “It’s not a costly process,” Morais said, recalling that the last replacement his company did cost about $500. He recommends drivers have a professional complete the repair because there’s a lot to disassemble and reassemble, and several specific tools and procedures are required. If not done correctly, “it’ll end up leaking again and you’re back at square one.”

Ask a Mechanic is written by Nida Zafar, a reporter who grew up in a house full of mechanics in Scarborough, and occasionally poses your questions to her dad or brother. You can send your questions to wheels@thestar.ca. These answers are for informational purposes only. Please consult a certified mechanic before having any work done to your vehicle.

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