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Exhaust Manifold Repair and Replacement Costs

Exhaust Manifold Repair & Replacement Costs
Austin Kilham
Austin KilhamUpdated September 8, 2023
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Your exhaust manifold helps whisk harmful gases away from your engine and out of your vehicle. If damaged, those gases could leak into the cabin of your car causing harm to you and your passengers, or your vehicle could become loud or inefficient. Replacing your exhaust manifold can cost about $1,200. Here’s a closer look at the factors that go into exhaust manifold replacement and repair costs. 

How Does the Exhaust Manifold Work?

The exhaust manifold is the first portion of a vehicle’s exhaust system. It takes the gases that result from the combustion of fuel in the cylinders and sends it to the catalytic converter. There, chemical reactions convert toxic gases into less harmful ones that can be released into the environment. The exhaust manifold is bolted directly to the engine block, and V-type engines will have one for each bank of cylinders. 

How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Exhaust Manifold?

The average cost of replacing an exhaust manifold is $1,167 to $1,265, including the cost of parts and labor. That said, some exhaust manifolds can cost as much as $3,000, which could push total costs as high as $3,400 or more. 

What Determines Exhaust Manifold Replacement Costs?

The cost to replace an exhaust manifold relies on a number of factors. Consider the following:

Cost of Parts

Parts and labor are the two main components of the cost of exhaust manifold replacement. On average, parts are priced anywhere between $933 and $970. If you choose original equipment manufacturer parts, pricing tends to be just a few hundred dollars, much lower than if you were to choose performance parts. 

Labor Costs

Replacing an exhaust manifold should only take two to four hours of work. Cost for that time runs $234 to $295, on average. 

Car Make and Model

Your car’s make and model is essentially the brand and specific vehicle type. Each will use a different engine and parts, which impacts costs and labor time. Typically, the more common the vehicle and the part, the cheaper replacement costs are. If you drive a particularly rare or a high-performance vehicle, your costs may increase.

Which Parts Need to Be Replaced

Unfortunately, a damaged exhaust manifold can have ripple effects on the parts around it, such as the catalytic converter or the exhaust valves. If these parts need to be replaced, as well, you can expect your auto repair bill to increase quite a bit. The average cost to replace a catalytic converter runs more than $2,000, for example. In some vehicles, the exhaust manifold is welded to the catalytic converter, so when you replace one, you have to replace the other. Recommended: Guide to Cash-Back Auto Refinancing

Signs of a Bad Exhaust Manifold

Keep an eye out for symptoms that can help clue you in to a damaged exhaust manifold. 

Rumbling or Hissing Engine Noises

Normally, you only hear the sound of exhaust after it’s made its way through the muffler, which makes it significantly quieter. But if you have a leak in the exhaust manifold, which sits above the muffler, you may hear louder noises than usual coming from your engine, including hissing, rumbling, or the sound of gears changing. An inspection of the exhaust systems can help determine which part is leaking and whether it’s the exhaust manifold. 

The Smell of Exhaust of Gas Under the Hood

Car exhaust systems send exhaust to the back of the vehicle where it is released. If you smell exhaust under the hood, that means it’s escaping somewhere near the engine. It likely means gases haven’t made it to the catalytic converter, which in turn points the finger at the exhaust manifold. That said, it could also be an issue with the exhaust valves or part of the vacuum system. 

Check Engine Light Is On

Most modern engines have sensors that detect oxygen levels and vacuum pressure in the exhaust system. If something is amiss, your check engine light will likely go on. 

Decreased Engine Performance

A leak in the exhaust manifold will reduce the rate at which exhaust is removed from your car. It will begin to back up and your engine won’t be able to produce as much power as usual when you press the gas pedal. You can also keep tabs on how much fuel your car is using. If it’s more than usual, it could signal that something is off in your exhaust system.  

How Often Do Exhaust Manifolds Need to Be Replaced?

Your exhaust manifold is designed to last the lifetime of the engine, though problems may arise with age. Excessive heat in the engine or an imbalance of fuel and air can lead to leaks at any time. Recommended: The Cost of a Replacement Engine

Can You Drive With a Bad Exhaust Manifold?

You should not drive with a damaged exhaust manifold. Toxic gases could leak into the main cabin where passengers could breathe them in, and there could be additional damage caused to surrounding parts, including the catalytic converter and exhaust valves. 

The Takeaway: Financing a New Exhaust Manifold

If your exhaust manifold is damaged, it’s a good idea to replace it as soon as you can. The price tag can be hefty, and if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for the repair, you may want to consider other financing options. First, you could consider a personal loan for car repair. Personal loans are typically unsecured loans that allow borrowers to use loan proceeds for most purposes, including car repair. In return, borrowers agree to make regular monthly payments and pay back the loan with interest. Another option to consider is refinancing your auto loan, including a cash-back auto refinance. When you refinance your loan, you pay off your old loan with a new loan — hopefully one with a lower interest rate. A lower interest rate means you’ll pay less each month, and you can use that savings toward auto repair. If you can do a cash-back auto refinance, you can use the money you get back to pay for the repair.If you’re considering refinancing your auto loan, be sure to shop around to ensure you get the best terms and rates available. Lantern by SoFi can help you compare rates from top lenders and apply for loans all in one place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I replace an exhaust manifold myself?
Can a cracked exhaust manifold be repaired or does it need to be replaced?
How do I know if my exhaust manifold gasket needs to be replaced?
What is the difference between an exhaust manifold and a header?
Photo credit: iStock/Tashka

About the Author

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham is a writer and journalist based in Los Angeles. He focuses on personal finance, retirement, business, and health care with an eye toward helping others understand complex topics.
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