It may not be one of the coolest systems on a vehicle, but the exhaust system is one of the most vital. By collecting and removing exhaust gases, the exhaust system not only helps the engine to run smoothly and efficiently, but the engine would not function at all without a well designed and implemented exhaust system.
That’s why when a part of the exhaust system starts to fail, it can have a huge impact on your car. When a key component like the exhaust manifold gasket begins to fail, you’ll notice a host of symptoms. Being able to recognize these symptoms can save you a lot of time and money by allowing you to highlight the fault and repair it quickly.
In this article, we will give you the tools to do so.
What is an exhaust manifold gasket?
But first, if you’re going to know if it went wrong, then you probably need to know what the exhaust manifold really is, right?
The exhaust manifold gasket is a very strong component that is essentially the first part of the vehicle’s exhaust system. As you probably know, your vehicle, whether it’s a car, truck, minivan, or motorcycle, is probably powered by an internal combustion engine under the hood. If your car is fully electric, by the way, it does not have an exhaust manifold gasket and this article is not for you.
For most of us, however, we are burning gas (or diesel) in a traditional internal combustion engine. That means our engines run by having thousands and thousands and thousands of little explosions over and over in our engine cylinders. Each of these tiny controlled explosions generates the energy that moves the vehicle.
However, they also generate exhaust gases, and that’s where the exhaust system comes in. This is also the point where the exhaust manifold gasket also comes in, as it is, as we mentioned earlier, the first component in the exhaust system.
So what is it?
Sorry we got a little carried away, but we love talking about cars!
The exhaust manifold gasket is like a large valve. It connects to all of the engine’s cylinders, where it collects and channels exhaust gases to the exhaust system. See how we said it is the first component within the exhaust system itself? We weren’t kidding, huh? It is literally collecting the exhaust gases as soon as they emerge from the engine and launching them on their magical journey through the vehicle’s exhaust system.
So if you look at a car with the engine running, when you can see the exhaust coming out of the tailpipe, then that exhaust has already passed through the exhaust manifold gasket.
Sounds like hard work
It is, in fact it is very hard work. Those exhaust gases come out of the engine at high pressure, but also at very high temperatures. To cope with this, the exhaust manifold gasket itself is very strong. For one thing, the exhaust manifold gasket is almost always made of cast iron or stamped steel.
Now, they’re two materials that are as tough as they get, and they help make the exhaust gasket manifold one of the strongest components on the vehicle. However, as we all know and just like your grandfather’s hip, nothing lasts forever, right?
Despite being incredibly tough, the exhaust manifold gasket, simply due to stress and the workload it is put through, will eventually fail. When that happens, it will need to be replaced.
But, and this is a problem with the entire exhaust system, this is not a part of the car that you see every day or can even be easily accessed for frequent inspections. Worse still, it is also not a part of the car that is full of sensors. Therefore, even in modern computer controlled vehicles, the car may not even know that there is a problem with the manifold gasket.
That’s bad news in general because a bad gasket will really have a negative impact on the overall performance of your vehicle.
The good news!
Yes, it is not all bad news!
Fortunately, there are some easy-to-spot symptoms that can help you determine if you have a bad or failing exhaust manifold gasket.
Symptoms to look out for include:
Symptoms of a bad or failing exhaust manifold gasket
Yes, it may come as a surprise, but when a valve full of hot and burning exhaust gas begins to fail, you may notice that this manifests as a burning smell. Crazy, huh?
As we mentioned earlier, the entire job of the manifold gasket is to catch and channel …