You've probably heard of the exhaust manifold before, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're clear on what it does. In fact this system is very important in the operation of your vehicle. It connects the cylinder head to your engine's exhaust port. This makes it possible for the hot exhaust to travel through a pipe instead of seeping out into the air and the vehicle itself. The manifold can be made of cast iron or a set of pipes, it all depends on the vehicle you are driving.

Because this manifold is always cooling down and heating up as the gasses pass through it, it means the pipe is contracting and expanding regularly. This can be quite hard on it, and even result in cracks and breaks. Once this happens, the fumes will begin to leak. These leaks are very dangerous to your health since you'll be breathing in the gasses instead. As well it starts to decrease the performance of your engine.

With the exhaust manifold it isn't a question of whether or not it will fail over time rather it is a question of when it will fail. It's a good idea to have your exhaust manifold inspected by a certified mechanic from time to time, just so you can get an early jump on any cracks. In the meantime, here are some signs you can watch for that may indicate your exhaust manifold is in need of replacement.

  • Because your engine won't be running efficiently, your Check Engine Light will likely come on. You'll need a mechanic to read and then clear the computer codes.

  • Your engine may not work as well as it used to, as a failed exhaust manifold impacts engine performance in a big way.

  • There are sounds and smells that can also act as tip-offs. The engine can begin to make loud noises that you'll be able to hear, even while driving. If the exhaust manifold is leaking, then you'll likely be able to smell odor coming from the engine compartment. It will be the smell of the plastic parts that are located beside the exhaust manifold, which are now melting thanks to the heat that is leaking out.

The exhaust manifold connects the cylinder head to the engine’s exhaust port. Once this part fails, you will notice all kinds of things start to happen with your engine and overall vehicle performance. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your exhaust manifold is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book an exhaust manifold replacement service with a professional mechanic.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Exhaust Manifold Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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