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What Are the Symptoms of a Damaged Exhaust Manifold?

The exhaust manifold is the part of your car connecting the engine to the exhaust system. It’s responsible for collecting all the exhaust and funneling it into the catalytic converter and then onto the muffler and tailpipe. This manifold is generally made from a solid piece of metal for durability, but it’s not impervious to damage. Watch out for these common signs there’s damage to your exhaust manifold and you need timely auto repair.

Burning Smells

An unpleasant smell of burning plastic or rubber may greet you upon lifting your hood after a drive around the block. With the gaskets used on the manifold aren’t made from these materials, they do feature coatings that smell like rubber or plastic when overheated and burned. Damaged manifolds don’t transfer heat like they were designed to, resulting in damage to the gaskets and compounding exhaust leaks.

Performance Problems

Another common symptom of exhaust issues in general is a slow or sudden loss of power when accelerating. You may notice that your car just doesn’t take off from a stoplight like it used to, or that you’re pressing the pedal much harder just to reach the next gear. A loose manifold or one with a damaged gasket tends to slowly affect acceleration power, while a crack or other sudden damage will cause an equally sudden loss of power.

High Fuel Use

Stopping by the gas station more often than you used to? Fuel efficiency drops when the manifold’s damaged because the exhaust isn’t staying pressurized properly anymore. Not only does this cause the aforementioned power loss, but it also causes your car to burn more fuel to travel the same distances. A new gasket or manifold could pay for itself in fuel savings within just a few months.

Loud Exhaust Noise

A hole or lost gasket between any part of the exhaust system will naturally lead to a louder car due to the escaping sound and pressure. However, manifold damage tends to create either hissing or tapping sounds centered around the back of the engine bay. You may also hear a sound like rocks tumbling or a loud grinding if the catalytic converter was damaged by the manifold’s failure. These noises indicate your vehicle’s engine isn’t holding proper compression anymore, so avoid driving it until you can make it to the auto repair shop to prevent heat build-up from damaging other parts of the fuel and exhaust system.

Visible Damage

Taking a good look at all sides of the manifold after any of the following symptoms may reveal a visible crack in the metal. This crack can be hairline thin or form where the part is pressed against the engine, so don’t rule out a manifold problem just because you can’t spot visible damage.

Despite making loud noises and reducing your acceleration power, exhaust manifolds are relatively easy for a car repair professional to replace. Take your car in for an inspection and any necessary repairs here at Morgan Automotive at the first sign of exhaust trouble.

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