metal exhaust muffler pipe

A car’s exhaust system is comprised of multiple components, one of which is the exhaust manifold. Within the process of burning hazardous gases and directing substances out of your car, the exhaust manifold allows the fumes generated by the engine’s cylinders to travel through a pipe to the muffler.

Due to this arrangement, the exhaust manifold is in regular contact with hot temperatures and highly pressurized fumes. As a result, this part is prone to cracks and damage over time.

What Is the Exhaust Manifold?

As the first portion of the exhaust system, the exhaust manifold gathers the burned air-fuel mixture generated by multiple cylinders from the combustion process, funneling them into a single pipe. Cars may have a set of multiple pipes or a single cast-iron manifold. After the gases pass through the exhaust manifold, they are directed to the tail pipe.

Beyond this general operation, the exhaust manifold is crucial to your car’s operation:

  • It’s essential for preventing your car from overheating
  • The path created prevents dangerous, toxic exhaust fumes from entering the cabin

In the average car, the V-shaped engine is equipped with two exhaust manifolds for the cylinder banks. Yet for the inline engines, just one exhaust manifold is used. Exhaust manifolds use two different material compositions:

  • A cast iron exhaust manifold is built to last longer. However, the part itself is heavier, eventually develops a brittle, aged appearance and is not performance-oriented, despite its lifespan.
  • A tubular exhaust manifold is an alternative found on sports and other high-horsepower cars. While steel won’t last as long as iron, this design offers better airflow.

Issues with the Exhaust Manifold

Despite it playing an integral role in your car’s exhaust system and emissions process, regular exposure to heat from the engine causes the exhaust manifold to expand and contract. After some time, this motion can result in cracks and leaks. When this occurs, the gases that ordinarily would be diverted through the pipe escape. They can enter the cabin for passengers to inhale, damage other components of the engine and exhaust system, and affect how well the engine consumes fuel.

Aside from the material itself, heat further affects the gaskets creating a seal between the manifold and engine block. When the seal breaks down or becomes loose, liquids that would have passed through to the manifold start to leak out.

As a third issue, the hangers supporting the exhaust system experience wear and may eventually break. When this happens, the manifold keeps the system in place, which places a significant degree of weight and wear on the part. This amount of stress can eventually result in damage. Within the part itself, the mounting bolt itself may also break, causing a leak to form.

One final factor, the exhaust manifold may eventually start rusting. It’s a good idea to have this part checked and replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, based on your vehicle’s make and model. Once the exhaust manifold experiences some damage, you may notice:

  • A loud sound coming from the engine
  • Declining engine performance
  • The check engine light turns on
  • A burning-rubber like smell coming from the engine

The next time you go in for an emissions test, your car may fail. Since a cracked exhaust manifold can cause toxic gases to enter your car’s cabin, it’s recommended to have the exhaust system checked out as soon as possible.

Exhaust Manifold Repair Services

To determine if the car’s exhaust manifold is causing the issue, the exhaust system will be examined for any cracks, broken seals or loose bolts.

The exhaust manifold may be replaced, as well as any damaged engine or exhaust system components. In the process, new gaskets are installed and any carbon deposits cleaned. Afterwards, the system is checked for any gas and fluid leaks.

Are you concerned that your car has a damaged exhaust manifold? Bring it to DaSilva’s Auto Body for an assessment and repairs. To learn more, contact our Naugatuck shop today.