Signs You Need to Replace Your Exhaust Manifold

Exhaust manifold
smneale, Flickr

A call from your mechanic, saying you need an exhaust manifold, might just leave you exhausted (we couldn’t resist!). It’s a big, expensive part, and it isn’t cheap to fix. On top of that, you don’t even know what it is! Good news: we can help with that last bit.

Here’s a quick rundown on what an exhaust manifold is, what happens when it breaks, and why you should care.

What it is & what it does: Just like it sounds, a “manifold” is “many folds,” or many things combined into one, similar to a conduit that might conceal all your television cables.

The engine manifold brings the exhaust from each of the engine’s cylinders into one pipe, to begin the exhaust system. See each of the four pipes above? That means this engine has four cylinders, and each of those pipes will combine into one. That whole piece is the exhaust manifold, which essentially allows the engine to breathe.

The exhaust manifold is exposed to the extremes – it’s heating and cooling, which causes constant expansion and contraction. Manifolds can crack over time due to the stress from constant, extreme temperature changes.

Symptoms of a cracked exhaust manifold: Aside from visually confirming a crack in the manifold (which your mechanic should point out if you haven’t found it already), a cracked manifold could produce unusual noises coming from the engine compartment. It might also result in funny smells around the engine bay, and you may experience a loss of pressure in acceleration and performance.

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What an exhaust manifold replacement means for you: a faulty manifold must be taken off and inspected, and replaced with new manifold. It’s a large and complex part, so that can be expensive. So can labor, as the exhaust manifold is connected to the engine, which could make it quite difficult to access. Unfortunately, the exhaust manifold is an absolutely critical component to your vehicle, and if you ignore your cracked manifold, the problem will only get worse and more expensive.

Whether you need something as complex as an exhaust manifold replacement, or something as turn-key as an oil change, book your repair and maintenance with Openbay, named a Top 10 App for Your Car by Men’s Journal.