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How much does an Exhaust repair cost?

Costs can vary greatly. Replacing a new muffler is about $100, but serious exhaust system repairs can shoot up to $2,000.

Average Repair Cost

What is a vehicle's Exhaust?

An internal combustion engine works by burning fuel in a series of controlled explosions. This generates a lot of power but also creates yucky hot, toxic gases. The exhaust system takes those gases from the engine and routes them through the tailpipe so they don’t build up and become hazardous for anybody inside the cabin.

The exhaust system begins at your engine’s cylinders where the combustion takes place. Exhaust gases are vented from the head of each cylinder and gathered in the exhaust manifold where they collect together in one space. Then they’re routed from the manifold through your catalytic converter which breaks down the toxic gases into simpler, less damaging molecules.

On the way in and out of the catalytic converter, oxygen sensors measure the proportions of gases in your exhaust. One sensor tells the engine how to adjust the ratio of gas and air in the cylinders. Another gauges how well the catalytic converter is doing its job. Then your exhaust travels down tubes until it reaches the muffler. The muffler's job is to quiet the loud noise from your engine before it reaches the tailpipe and the air outside.

Symptoms

What are common symptoms of vehicle Exhaust problems?

  • Check engine light
    If your oxygen sensors malfunction, it’ll trigger an error code that turns on your check engine light.
  • Loss of power and mileage
    Exhaust problems often show up as a lack of power or a drop in your mileage. It could be the O2 sensor isn’t working and your engine’s burning too much gas, or a leak is causing pressure loss in the exhaust system.
  • Noticeable fumes
    A leak in your exhaust system means noxious fumes in the engine compartment and passenger cabin. The scent varies from rotten eggs, gasoline, to cinnamon depending on the problem.
  • Noise
    If your exhaust manifold is faulty, you may hear tapping or ticking noises from the engine compartment. If it’s your muffler, you'll notice your car suddenly sounds a lot louder.

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How urgent are Exhaust repairs?

These problems won’t bring you and your car to a spectacular end, but you shouldn’t ignore them either. They’ll zap your car of its power and cost you a lot in extra gas, not to mention additional engine problems and costly repairs if not addressed. Plus, toxic exhaust fumes leaking into the passenger compartment can be potentially life-threatening.

What are common Exhaust issues?

Most drivers will face a few exhaust repairs over time. The muffler typically lasts the entire life of the vehicle if you live in sunny California. But if you live where roads are salted in winter (e.g. Boston), it might only go 100,000 miles. Oxygen sensors easily last for over 100,000 miles if your car was built after the mid-1990s and roughly 30,000 to 60,000 miles for an older vehicle. The exhaust manifold and catalytic converter generally last until the end, so those repairs are less common.