Cracked Exhaust Manifold: Now What?

Cracked Exhaust Manifold: Now What?

3rd May 2016

Have you noticed a crack in your car's exhaust manifold? The exhaust manifold plays an important role in the exhaust system. It's used to collect gases from the cylinder head, transporting them down and away through the exhaust pipe. So when this critical component cracks, it can open the doors to a wide range of problems.

Problems Associated with a Cracked Exhaust Manifold

One of the biggest problems associated with a cracked exhaust manifold is the potential for exhaust gases to enter the cabin. Exhaust gases are toxic and can be even fatal when inhaled. Normally, however, these gases exist through the exhaust pipe, causing no reason for concern. But when there's a crack in the exhaust manifold, some of the gases will leak into the engine bar, and subsequently the cabin. This usually isn't enough to cause illness or injury, but it's still something that most people want to avoid inhaling.

Even if the exhaust gases don't leak into the cabin, they may still leak into the engine bay. So, why is this a problem? Well, exhaust gases are hot, to say the least, and this extreme heat can melt the plastic coatings of wires and other semi-delicate components.

Furthermore, with exhaust gases leaking from the manifold, it will throw off your car's O2 sensor, causing your car to burn more fuel. Aside form being inefficient and forcing you to spend more money at the pump, your vehicle may fail its emissions test. The bottom line is that a cracked exhaust manifold is a serious problem that needs to be fixed ASAP.

Solutions for a Cracked Exhaust Manifold

There are a couple different options available when dealing with a cracked exhaust manifold. Depending on the severity of the crack, you may be able to weld it. This is done by taking the cracked exhaust manifold to a local welding shop and asking them to weld the damage. Assuming you remove the exhaust manifold yourself, they should charge around $50 bucks, making this an inexpensive, although temporary, fix.

The only permanent solution for a cracked exhaust manifold is to replace it. You can often find used exhaust manifolds from junk yards for about $100 bucks, sometimes even less. Alternatively, you can replace your exhaust manifold with headers, which will actually offer performance benefits. Instead of sharing a manifold, each cylinder is given its own dedicated exhaust pipe.