Did I ruin my engine by dropping a plastic nozzle down into the manifold intake?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

This evening I cleaned the manifold of my '93 Taurus using a spray-type manifold
cleaner. As I was spraying the stuff into the manifold while the car was
running, the little red nozzle extension was sucked off and proceeded to shoot
down the intake manifold into the engine. I shut off the car and went inside to
panic for a while. I just went out to assess the damage. I turned the car on,
and it seems to be running fine, except for the smell of burning plastic. So, is
that little plastic thing going to ruin my engine? --Jeff

TOM: Probably not, Jeff. But my guess is that the plastic thing made it all the
way into one of your cylinders. That's the burning plastic smell.

RAY: Right. Thanks to those top-notch engineers at Ford, there's a nice, free
flow from the manifold right into the cylinders. And that thing probably got
sucked right in.

TOM: My guess is that it will eventually burn up completely, Jeff.

RAY: But if you're really worried about it, I'm sure somebody probably sells a
spray that dissolves the melted plastic in your cylinders. It probably comes
with one of those plastic nozzle extenders!

* * *

Are you inadvertently wrecking your poor car? Find out by reading Tom and Ray's
pamphlet, "Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It!" Send
$3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Ruin, PO Box
6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-6420.

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