What is the cost to replace an exhaust system?
Whether you need to replace a part of the exhaust system or it’s time for a complete overhaul, you want to understand what you are looking at. What is the cost of replacing an exhaust system? Is it worth it?
This guide will cover the entire cost breakdown. Also, we will discuss the variables that can affect how much you'll pay. At the end of our article, we discuss whether it’s better to replace one part at a time or the entire exhaust at once.
Prices for Exhaust Parts
To replace an exhaust system, it can cost anywhere from $350 to $1500. 500 can be spent on an exhaust manifold, and mufflers/downpipes range from $50-200 each. Cost depends on the vehicle you have, how much labor is required and what quality parts are used.
1. Exhaust Manifold
This component is the most expensive part of your exhaust system. The manifold takes toxic gases out of the vehicle and then sends them back. There may be one exhaust manifold per car, with one on each side.
The manifold may crack over time. The cast iron manifold is more likely to crack than the steel one. The steel manifold holds up to high temperatures better and won’t corrode as easily, but also costs more.
You can expect to spend around $500 for an exhaust manifold, and even more for labor. This is the most expensive component to replace. The manifold is not only expensive, but you will also need to spend a minimum of four hours labor. This can really impact the cost. It's rare for an exhaust manifold to fail, and it is usually possible to repair it.
2. Pipe down
It connects the turbocharger to the exhaust, so that fumes from the engine can be directed elsewhere. It’s also where the catalytic converter is found. The catalytic converter converts the gas from harmful to toxic when it reaches the catalyst. We didn’t deal with the catalytic converter in this replacement guide because it only needs to be replaced when it fails.
You can spend anywhere from $50-200 to replace your downpipe. It all depends on whether you have to hire someone to do it. The majority of downpipes made out of stainless steel are resistant to corrosion.
If the rings and clamps aren’t included with your downpipe installation, you may have to spend extra. However, these shouldn’t cost you more than another $25 to $50.
READ ALSO: What Does it Cost to Replace a Catalytic Convertor?
It is necessary to lower the engine's noise. With a steel design, it can effectively absorb noise coming from the motor’s combustion. To keep your vehicle as quiet as possible, the motor redirects noise.
A new muffler can cost you between $50 and $200. The price of a premium muffler can go up quickly. Plus, you will need to spend an hour or two on labor charges if you aren’t able to put the muffler on yourself.
RELATED: Muffler Delete: Pros & Cons (and Average Cost)
Factors Affecting Exhaust System Replacement Cost
1. Type/Model Car
What type of car you drive is what will matter most. The exhaust system will be most affordable for those who own small and economical vehicles. The parts will be more expensive if you have a high-end vehicle.
High-performance vehicles will require more efficient exhaust systems in order to function properly. High-performance cars may also require more labor, making them harder to maintain.
2. OEM vs. Aftermarket
As you shop for new exhaust parts, you’ll see the option to choose OEM or aftermarket parts. Aftermarket parts are made by third-party manufacturers. OEM parts must be approved by the original equipment manufacturer. These third-party manufacturers don’t usually have approval from the original automaker, but it’s possible that they do.
The OEM parts will cost more. But, these parts will be comparable in quality to those that were installed at the factory. To ensure maximum performance, OEM parts are preferred by many. You can also put these parts on without voiding the car’s warranty.
If you're looking to cut costs, then aftermarket parts might be a good option. Just make sure to choose the right part for you and that it fits your vehicle. It's worth taking the time to research your options so you don't make costly mistakes later.
RELATED: OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts: Differences (& Which is Better?)
3. Exhaust System Type
In most cases, there are two kinds of exhaust system on your car. There might be an axle-back or cat-back. While they are similar in how they operate, it’s what parts are included that changes the cost.
Install the axle-back after installing the axle. The catalytic converter is also attached to the cat-back system. You will pay more for a cat-back exhaust replacement than an axle-back.
You have options when you choose the materials that create your car’s exhaust. Although stainless steel exhausts will cost more, they are stronger and last for longer.
There are also times when it is necessary to reduce the cost of the exhaust. Mild steel is an option, as it can be cheaper but also resists corrosion.
5. Labour Rate
If you can replace your exhaust on your own, there’s a lot of money to be saved. In most cases, you only require a few basic tools in order to replace your exhaust.
If you aren’t able to replace the exhaust, you need to pay a professional. This professional can be expensive depending on the car you drive, particularly if it is a luxurious vehicle. You also have to consider where you reside. The labor rates can vary greatly depending on the location. If you are in a major city, your mechanic’s labor rate could be double that of a comparable mechanic in the country.
Does the entire exhaust system need to be replaced?
There’s a lot of money wrapped up in the exhaust system replacement. If you don’t need to replace it all, it’s best to avoid that, especially when money is tight. You would only need to replace your exhaust if it is causing severe damage. Due to the substandard materials, your exhaust system can warp. If the car is older, it’s very possible that everything needs to go because of wear and tear.
It is better to take one piece at a time than replace it all. It is more difficult to complete the task quickly if everything is already broken, but you will save money if you take your time. However, you could take a piece off and find it doesn’t fit with the rest of the exhaust because of warping. You could have to replace multiple parts at once in this case.
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