Bolted to your car, truck, or C/SUV’s engine head is the exhaust manifold. This underappreciated auto part puts up with a lot. It endures tremendous heat, as it is the first exhaust system component to route exhaust out of the engine. This heat can eventually crack the exhaust manifold, especially in older cars. This causes problems in the exhaust system and has the potential to overheat your engine. CAR FIX lists four signs your exhaust manifold is cracked.
1. Visible Cracks
Inspect the manifold for visible cracks, which will be easy to see if they are large. Keep in mind, however, that many exhaust manifold cracks are smaller and harder to see with the naked eye. Also, keep in mind that the manifold tends to crack around the bolts securing it to the engine head. If you have the tools, you can also remove the manifold to visually inspect it and bolt it back on the engine when you’re done.
2. Strange Noises
If you are driving with a cracked exhaust manifold, you might hear the exhaust gases leaking out of the gasket. Depending on the pressure under which these gases are being forced out, you might hear clicking, whistling, or whooshing sounds. It’s easier to hear these sounds when your engine is cold, so listen carefully when you first start your automobile. Pop the hood, too, to see if you hear something.
3. Exhaust Odor
Hopefully, you’ll never smell engine exhaust in your car; this could put you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. If you do smell exhaust or gasoline smells in your vehicle’s cabin, find a safe place to park and turn off your automobile immediately. If you suspect you have an exhaust manifold leak, pop the hood to see if you can smell exhaust fumes in the engine bay, especially around the exhaust manifold area.
4. Performance Loss
An exhaust system leak creates a vacuum loss that affects your engine’s performance. Your engine relies on what’s called “backpressure,” which is pressure created by the exhaust system. This pressure develops as the gases evacuate the system, and a cracked exhaust manifold reduces backpressure. Consequently, your vehicle’s engine will lose power, especially when you step on the gas to go faster.
Stop by CAR FIX in Oak Ridge, TN, or give us a call to discuss your exhaust manifold trouble. We can inspect the manifold to verify whether it’s cracked. If it is, we’ll discuss your repair options with you.