Exhaust Manifold Gasket: Functions, Symptoms, and Life Span

The exhaust manifold gasket's primary function is to channel gases from post-combustion from multiple cylinders into the exhaust pipe. The cylinder head is connected to the manifold, and an exhaust manifold gasket then seals this unit.

The manifold and the seal are designed so that it makes it easy to undergo exhaust scavenging. Exhaust scavenging is the process whereby the gases moving out from the cylinder create a vacuum.

This vacuum drags in more gas or air mixture. Leaks can develop over time between the cylinder and manifold. The leaks' main causes are the high temperatures, contamination of coolant, oil, and constant flow of exhaust gas that sponsors the gasket's wear.

What is the primary function of the Exhaust manifold gasket?

exhaust manifold gasket set

exhaust manifold gasket set The exhaust manifold gasket is simply the nostrils of the vehicle's engine. In other words, it helps your car breathe and not choke to death. The engine is set up to take in vast lumps of air and have to send that air out. This process helps our cars to run efficiently without any hindrance.

The exhaust manifold gasket has multiple layers made of metal and other materials to enforce the best possible seal. When accelerating our cars, we notice the change in the sound of our engine. This sound is often louder than usual, especially on mountainous terrain, which shows that more force than usual is demanded to move the vehicle.

This drag means the engine is putting in a lot more work to get the desired result. In a scenario where leaks are present between the engine and the exhaust manifold gasket, the engine will struggle to breathe properly. Thus, the adverse effect of these leaks present means the acceleration will not be as effective, and the car's engine will experience a struggle or drag to perform adequately.

What to do when your exhaust gasket is faulty

faulty exhaust manifold gasket

faulty exhaust manifold gasket Although having a faulty exhaust manifold gasket might not bring your vehicle to an impromptu halt, the repair or replacement can be rigorous. However, it is essential to note that a relatively new car might not experience such a challenge.

Issues with exhaust manifold gaskets are often commonplace with old cars. The repair's rigorousness can be tiring, and if care is not taken, the exhaust manifold gasket might break. Due to the car's age bearing the faulty exhaust manifold gasket, rust may have set in. This rust may, in turn, affect the metallic nuts and bolts holding the manifold in position.

Therefore, we advise that, as with most mechanic repairs, always hand your vehicle to a specialist and not any random person who claims to know the job. Also, this repair will take several days, depending on the severity of the damage to it.

How much does it cost to replace an exhaust manifold gasket?

The estimated cost of repair (cost of parts) ranges from around $49.99 - $99.99. The labor cost is often between $299.99 - $500.Nonetheless, repair of these parts is irrespective of the make and model of your vehicle. The cost of a new gasket, including the nuts and bolts, does not cost more than $100. You can get some parts for as low as $50.

The price range is mainly dependent on the size of the machine you ride. The labor cost is the area that makes you dip your hands into your pocket. This cost is because of the rigor it places on the mechanic to access your gasket location and safely make the necessary changes.

With some cars, you may hide their manifold's location within the engine, which complicates further the process of repair or replacement. As estimated above, this labor cost should not be more than $500. Although some specialists are more than $500, others are willing to charge you less; the benchmark is $300.

What is the life span of an Exhaust Manifold Gasket?

We know already by now that the exhaust manifold works with a seal between the cylinder and the exhaust manifold. This seal between both the manifold and cylinder head is known as an exhaust manifold gasket.

The vehicle's engine, in general, comes with cylinders; these cylinders differ in number depending on the make and model of the car—these cylinders in the engine help in the burning of gases. The gases burned in these cylinders flow to the exhaust manifold, helping with the engine's breathing process.

The gases now present in the exhaust manifold are expelled out through the tailpipe. The gasket work is to create an impossible seal to make sure nothing leaks out or escapes through this process. The cause of the gasket wearing out and the damage should not be a surprise to us.

The intensity of heat that goes through it frequently is potent enough to cause significant wear. When an exhaust manifold gasket gets damaged, it is often referred to as a "Blown gasket. "Beyond the known causative agent of damage – heat, other factors contribute to exhaust manifold gasket damage.

Noticing a blown exhaust gasket is easy as the excessive noise it produces from the exhaust cannot go unnoticeable. It also leaves behind white burn marks around the manifold flange. An example of such factors includes the rust or breakage of bolts, which will affect the seal with time.

The adverse effect of this is the room it creates for leaks. When gases leak, the efficiency of the overall engine depletes significantly. The escaped gases are hazardous pollutants. Although we cannot tell you for sure your exhaust manifold gasket's life span, experiencing a blown gasket is inevitable. It is only a matter of time, just like every wear and tear associated with every vehicle.

Signs to look out for when you suspect a blown gasket

Let's look briefly at some key signs to look out for when you suspect damage on your exhaust manifold gasket. We believe that these symptoms will pop up to alert the driver of any potential or existing harm on his gasket. Taking swift action to address it will save the driver and the vehicle from further damage.

A decrease in the engine's performance

Almost whenever gases start leaking from your exhaust manifold gasket, you will experience a decrease in your car's performance and acceleration. Your vehicle will also be unable to pass a smog test or an emission test. When you eventually work on your gasket, your car will be able to pass the emission/smog test.

If it does not pass the test, then the gasket might not be the only faulty component in your exhaust system. The engine's performance in terms of power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency are common symptoms of damage to your exhaust manifold gasket.

The effect on the performance might seem minute at first, but it could become problematic with time if left ignored. This symptom can also occur when the vehicle's intake manifold gasket develops a fault. You should check our article to understand it better.

Check Engine Light

Often, when you have issues with your exhaust manifold gasket, your vehicle's Check Engine Light will pop up. As we admonished you earlier, always take your vehicle to a specialist. A certified specialist will find it easy to read the code to know the exact fault in your car and fix it appropriately. Reading this code will help him know precisely where this light's notification has come on.

Offensive smell

Almost all gases have their distinctive smell. However, with a car, the gases it emits are pretty easy to smell, especially if there is a leakage. The smell might often be perceived as a burning smell emanating from the engine bay. This symptom is a very significant one in determining the health of your exhaust manifold gasket.

When a vehicle's gasket fails or is damaged, the leak may spill into areas made of plastic and some wiring components. This contact is then further worsened when the heat expelled comes in touch with them. The heat's connection makes them burn and, thus, the offensive burning smell.

A faint smoke comes to the surface when this smell the heat's reaction produces comes in contact with the leak and plastic components. You must check out this burning smell and smoke immediately to avoid further damage. Thus, preventing a potential hazard.

Odd sound

Sometimes, when your exhaust manifold gasket is faulty, you might hear a ticking or clanging sound from your exhaust when driving it. It happens, especially when your vehicle is cold. An excessive noise sound is often commonplace with a faulty exhaust manifold gasket.

The exhaust leak makes a hissing and tapping sound that comes from the engine. This sound comes out louder during acceleration or a cold start. The seal the exhaust manifold gasket forms between the cylinder head and exhaust manifold are very vital, and the smallest fault can lead to something more troublesome in the future.

How to replace a faulty Exhaust Manifold Gasket

We must keep in mind that an exhaust manifold may experience leakage because a mounting bolt broke. When a broken mounting bolt causes leakage, the mechanic's job is to remove the bolt or stud.

Consequently, this action may lead to an increase in his labor time to resolve the problem; repairing costs you a little bit more. The increase in repair cost depends on the degree of damage present. Here is a quick guide on how to replace your car's exhaust gasket

  • Firstly, inspect the exhaust system for the presence of leaks.
  • Your findings should help you know where exactly the leak is from; the manifold or the flange gasket.
  • Then, remove and replace the observed faulty gasket.
  • Directly apply anti-seize to the threads of the bolts.
  • Bring in your new exhaust manifold gasket for installation.

In another article, I explained how to change your exhaust manifold gasket in great detail.

After you finish the process, you can start your vehicle to check for relevant changes based on your replacements. If your vehicle may be experiencing any of these signs, we advise that you address them immediately and adequately.

You can visit a specialist on exhaust manifold gaskets around you, or you can see this site to get a book on exhaust manifold gasket replacement service with a professional mechanic. The exhaust manifold gaskets stand as a crucial component of your vehicle's engine.

They perform the primary function of sealing and pressurizing the entire exhaust system. We understand that the failure of this gasket will affect the overall performance of the vehicle. Always visit a certified mechanic or a specialist in this field to ascertain if your car needs an exhaust manifold gasket replacement.

Key Takeaways!

  • In simple words, an exhaust manifold gasket's primary function is to help your car's engine breathe. The exhaust manifold comprises metal components responsible for collecting and exporting gases from the engine.
  • These gases finally expel the outside world through the tailpipe. The exhaust manifolds are fixed with a bolt to the vehicle's engine cylinder head and sealed with a gasket. This gasket is known as an exhaust manifold gasket.
  • Wear occurs with the gasket, but the gasket's wear is relative to the age of the car. A new vehicle will rarely undergo exhaust gasket wear. The burning of gases in the cylinders comes out through the exhaust manifold.
  • The heat emanating from the cylinders tends to affect the exhaust manifold gasket. We can also refer to a faulty gasket as a "blown gasket." A blown gasket can often be recognized by the white burn marks around the manifold flange.
  • Some traits to look out for when you suspect a blown gasket includes a lot of factors. Examples are a decrease in the engine's performance, an odd smell or burning smell, a change in your engine's sound, etc. The Check Engine Light pops up, indicating that your exhaust manifold gasket may be in danger of a fault. Only a certified specialist will read the code and understand why exactly the Check Engine light came on.

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