The air intake boot is the car part that's responsible for the transference of air from the air filter to the throttle plate. If it fails or gets damaged, the one that will take the hit is your air intake system, which results in a domino effect wherein the performance of your car itself will be diminished.
More to the point, your engine will run less than ideally because your MAF or mass air flow sensor is giving you all sorts of wrong readings. You should replace your air intake boot ASAP if it's damaged.
It's easy enough to do as long as you have the right tools and parts such as a screwdriver set, socket set, wrench set, and a replacement air intake boot.
How to Repair Your Intake Boot
- Inspecting The Intake Boot: Park your car in your garage or driveway. Activate the parking brake. Turn off the engine and make sure it's been turned off for at least an hour. This will keep you from touching anything that can burn you from under the hood. Inspect the "ribs" of the air intake boot by flexing it around and searching for cracks, tears, and holes. If the rubber is worn out and soft then you should definitely replace your intake boot with a new one even if it lacks major damage as of yet.
- Intake Boot Removal: There should be clamps that secure the intake boot to the air cleaner housing and throttle body. Loosen and remove them. Don't forget to keep track of the nuts and bolts with a container. Take off the breather tubes as well. It's only after you've removed both breather hose sets and mounting clamps that you can safely remove the boot. Some models have electrical modules attached to the air intake boot. Remove them too. Disconnect the boot with a screwdriver by twisting the tool and loosening the seal.
- Intake Boot Replacement: After removing the busted boot, you can now put in the brand new replacement boot that matches the old unit in an OEM or OE-standard way. This assures easy compatibility and reinstallation when all is said and done. You can even get an air intake boot upgrade with better material if you wish. From there, put everything back in reverse order of removal. First put back the breather tubes, followed by the mounting bolts that connect the boot to the air cleaner housing and throttle body.
- Finishing Up Installation: Check all your hoses and clamps to see if they're put in place and nothing is missing. Afterwards, start your engine and keep an ear out for any vacuum leaks or hissing sounds. If problems persist, consult your car doctor, otherwise known as your mechanic. Maybe you can replace the boot for free in light of its warranty. Otherwise, you should be all good now. Congratulations, you've replaced your intake boot all on your own!