How Much Does Exhaust Leak Repair Cost?

Are you wondering how much an exhaust leak repair costs so as to get an estimate of what you will be charged at the auto repair shop?

If yes, then you’re at the right place. We’ll help you understand everything you need to know about exhaust leak repair costs before having it replaced.

The purpose of the Exhaust pipe is to get rid of the gasses produced while driving due to a change of heat and oil. Inspecting to ensure that the exhaust pipe is functioning properly is important since one of the released gases is carbon monoxide.

In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about how much an exhaust leak repair costs. In addition, we explain how to pick the best mechanic for your exhaust leak repair or how to perform an exhaust leak repair yourself if you are into DIY projects.

We also give you tips on how to save on an exhaust leak repair.

Let’s get into it!

Repairing the exhaust leak can take about 2 to 3 hours, based on the degree of the issue. The amount of time needed to fix the issue also depends on how difficult or easy it is to have access to the exhaust’s manifold and the leak’s location.

Also Read: How Much Does a Straight Pipe Cost?

Exhaust Leak Repair Cost Factors

Exhaust Leak Repair Cost

Most times, the repair cost depends on factors such as the leak’s location. These include the tailpipe connections and the manifold of the exhaust.

Additionally, these exhaust pipes are likely to leak since they are not guided by anything beneath your vehicle. The fixing could be a simple clasp and stamp on the hole or replacing the whole exhaust system.

Let’s talk about some of the factors that affect an exhaust leak repair cost:

1. Location of the Leak

The ease at which one accesses the parts and the parts themselves would affect an exhaust leak repair cost. The exhaust system starts from the front of your car and passes through the combustion chamber down to the tailpipe.

Also, the system is attached to the vaccine system in addition to the release of pressure and valve in the engine, which allows everything to function together without interruption.

Whenever there’s a leak in the system, this could be from any point inside the system. These points most times include connections, gaskets, and valves.

For instance, the manifold of the exhaust is a common point that could start to leak. Most times, in this situation, the point is the gasket. Alternatively, a loose grip between your connecting pipe and your catalytic converter can lead to leaks also.

There might be a hole in your connecting pipe, either in the resonator or the muffler. Most times, when you are not certain of the location of the leak, a smoke test could be performed by your mechanic to see the exact location where the smoke is going out from.

2. Type of Repair

The type of repair needed also affects the exhaust leak repair cost. Fixing the issue could range from changing the different parts with the help of adhesives and a replacement metal.

You might have to get brand new parts, which could be around $5 gasket to a tailpipe piece of $120. Alternatively, you might just have to pay some money for an aluminum piece and adhesive to seal the hole of the initial pipe.

How do you know the preferred repair? First, the mechanic decides which option to go for, depending on the condition of the parts or the exhaust pipe.

If the muffler has a hole inside and is still in good condition, patching the hole might be recommended. As an alternative, the catalytic converter might seize to function, which means it should be replaced.

3. Parts Damaged

The damaged parts of the exhaust system that is causing the leak are also a factor that affects an exhaust leak repair cost. A gasket or connector might cost around $3 to $15. Based on what the tailpipe is made of, it might cost about $24-$500.

The cost of the gasket and connector would be around $3 to $15. The parts of the tailpipe would be around $24 to $500; this depends on the purpose. The exhaust manifold would cost about $399 to $500 or more.

This means that the cost of fixing would depend greatly on the defective parts. You can even change the whole exhaust system. This would cost you about $1,300 to $1500.

That is particularly correct if your vehicle is new and could have a flex pipe section. The flex pipe is simply an accordion-shaped stretch of your exhaust pipe that matches the front of your engine.

This does not break into the engine because of its flexibility. And it’s more expensive compared to the rigid pipe. Sadly, if your vehicle is a modern Honda or Nissan, or vehicles such as the Ford Aerostar, it might not have a flexible pipe. This would also increase the overall cost of the job.

4. Cost of Labor

The cost of labor is also an exhaust leak repair cost factor to consider. Carrying your car to a local mechanic most times is inexpensive. Normally, you will be charged about $30 to $100 or even more for the diagnostics fee and about $30 to $1000 or more to repair the problem.

Most times, this is based on hours which could be around $15 to $210 for each hour.

You would also pay about 5 to 20% of the bill for the shop fee and the parts. You might also have to pay for the space you parked your vehicle in the garage or parking lot for the main time your vehicle is fixed.

Symptoms of Exhaust Leak

Exhaust Leak Repair Cost

1. Check Engine light

In recent vehicles, the exhaust system has sensors that measure the mixture of fuel escaping from your engine. The sensor also measures the efficiency of your catalytic converter. The sensors are known as the oxygen or O2 sensors.

If there’s a leak in any of these sensors, it will lead to the reading of wrong values, and the engine control unit will send a signal. This will result in turning on the check engine light.

2. High Engine Sound Than Normal

Whenever there’s a leak in the exhaust system, one noticeable symptom is that the vehicle sounds louder than it used to.

You would see one or two mufflers, which decreases the sound of your engine on the exhaust pipe.

When the exhaust leak happens before any of these mufflers, the noise would not be reduced by this muffler since it will go out in their presence. This would result in an increased engine sound based on how big the leak is.

Also Read: What Is Muffler Delete (How Much Will It Cost)

3. Blowing Sound From Under

In a situation whereby the leak is from a tiny hole. It could produce a blowing pitch when you accelerate your engine. It could produce different sounds depending on the exhaust leak size, and in some instances, it could even lead to a very high-pitched sound.

If you hear a blowing noise that wasn’t there before that time from under the vehicle, you might probably have an exhaust leak.

4. Unusual Odor

Another pointer that shows that you have an exhaust leak is when you could perceive an unusual odor if you’re running your engine.

Just as stated earlier, the system is made in a way that hinders it from occurring. So, by the time you start noticing an unusual smell, the exhaust system can not contain the exhaust fumes again.

Exposing oneself to these fumes could be harmful to people. So, if you start to perceive the exhaust fumes, ensure you get the exhaust leak repaired immediately.

5. Low Engine Performance

Similar to what happens with the CEL. Whenever there’s a leak in the system, one of the exhaust pipe sensors would get an incorrect value, which will send the wrong data to the engine control division.

This division would use this data to evaluate the mixture of air to the fuel of the following cycle in your vehicle’s engine, and since the value is incorrect, it would cause a strange mixture of air fuel. This could lead to misfiring, rough acceleration, slow acceleration, and rough idle.

If you hear an unusual noise coming from your engine and the engine’s performance is reduced, then you have to check if there’s an exhaust leak somewhere.

6. Failed Emission Test

For some countries and states, you need to perform an emission test yearly to have a pass mark in the inspection. Any exhaust leak in the system would affect the emission test.

The air-fuel mixture will be messed up if the leak is around the oxygen sensors. And if it is after the oxygen sensor, the reading of the emission test would be a lean mixture, and in turn, you’ll not pass the test based on the extent of the leak.

Also Read: Car Blowing White Smoke After an Oil Change (Causes & Fix)

Is It Safe to Drive With an Exhaust Leak?

Exhaust Leak Repair Cost

Driving with an exhaust leak is not advised as this could be dangerous for both the environment and you. It is also possible that your vehicle might catch fire if you’re unfortunate.

The vehicle’s safety would greatly depend on the reason for the leak. As stated earlier, the exhaust fumes from your vehicle could be harmful when exposed to them, especially for a long time.

The fumes are always hot, and the fuel inside the exhaust pipe could sometimes ignite; if you’re unfortunate, the leak can lead to a fire if the leak location is unappreciated.

If you are unsure where the leak comes from, have a professional inspect the exhaust system. This can cost you a little money or even be done for free.

How to Fix an Exhaust Leak

You could repair the exhaust pipe yourself if the hole is small using some equipment that costs a few dollars.

Alternatively, if you need to change the connector or the gasket is out, you could also easily perform the job yourself.

Things you will need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Rust remover
  • Steel wool
  • Wire brush
  • A roll of aluminum with tin snips or pre-cut metal patch
  • Stainless steel hose clamps
  • Gloves
  • Jack stands, and a Floor jack
  • Muffler tape/ adhesive tape/ metal repair tape.

Step 1: Lift the Vehicle

Raise your vehicle using a jack, and use a jack stand to stabilize it. In most situations, you will have to raise the back of your car and stabilize it under the two axles.

On the other hand, raise the vehicle’s left side as the exhaust system is placed on the left side.

Ensure the parking brake is set, and before jacking the vehicle up, make use of chocks for the wheels at the front.

Step 2: Look for the Leak

Find the location of the leak. If you are not sure of the leak, probably it’s from the exhaust pipe; use a smoke machine to confirm.

If you notice smoke gushing out beneath the vehicle, the problem is either from the intake manifold or the valve.

And if the smoke comes from between the connections or the exhaust pipe, you’ll know that the problem is either with the connection or the gasket.

Alternatively, you may not need to perform this test. For example, you can examine the exhaust pipe physically and locate the punctures or the leaking hot air coming out of the vehicle when it’s idling. You might find a leak, and you may even have more than one leak.

Be cautious whenever you’re finding leaks with your engine running because the engine would be hot. You can also use a mirror any time you feel like it.

Step 3: Wipe the Exhaust

Whenever you are making use of adhesives, you will not wipe the hole completely. For you to achieve this, use a rust remover. After which, you scrub the surroundings using a wire brush. Clean all the area.

Do this process again until you are down to just metal. If the exhaust pipe is old, taking a bristle brush of an electric sander on the angle grinder is a good initiative.

Step 4: Prepare the Hole

Examine the hole size you need to cover. After which, you ensure the metal can cover it safely.

If the hole you are filling is big, adding steel wool might be necessary to create extra support for your aluminum. You’ll have to cut it into pieces to achieve this.

Step 5: Use a Repair Tape

On the package of the muffler repair tape, ensure you read the guidelines. This is necessary since some come with various guidelines. You could most times remove the package and cover it well around your exhaust, whereby you need to repair the problem.

You will want to ensure that you put on a protective glove because the tape embodies resin. You’ll have to cut it anywhere it overlaps.

The adhesives on tapes beef you to squeeze your tape, add a hardening element, or add a hardening agent. The rest of the muffler tape simply just needs heat only.

Step 6: Cut Tin

Make use of a tin snip to cut the roll of your metal to the required size. After which, you’ll wrap it around the muffler area with your tape tightly. Then use the stainless steel hose clamps to clamp it tightly down against the resins.

Then, you can just put on your engine and let it idle for about 20 to 30 minutes, based on the guidelines you found on your muffler tape.

Then to be sure that the problem has been solved, you can go for a test drive. If the problem has not been solved, you’ll have to check if you’ll see another leak.

Check out this video for more tips on how to repair and exhaust leak

How to Save Money on an Exhaust Leak Repair

If you want to save some cost while repairing, you have to take the initiative of doing it yourself. Using some cheap tools, it is not that complex and can be performed very fast. However, doing it yourself would cost you about $30 to purchase and install the parts.

If you are not sure about doing the job yourself or I,f it looks like the work might be much for you to do, you can simply purchase the parts and take them to a professional mechanic for fixing.

Though some frown at this, just look for a mechanic that’ll allow you to purchase the parts you need by yourself, which will help you save money.

Frequently Asked Questions – How Much does an Exhaust Leak Repair Cost?

Can I drive my car with an exhaust leak?

It is neither legal nor safe to drive when you have a damaged exhaust, as this brings about some problems on the road. Regardless of how your exhaust looks, whether it’s hanging off partially, has completely fallen out, or is cracked, attending to it immediately is necessary since it is a crucial part of the vehicle.

Are exhaust leaks easy to fix?

Repairing a leak might be easy if it’s done the right way, but usually, it is the trickiest part. Verifying a leak can be done by paying attention to any difference in sound when your engine is idle. As soon as you have confirmed a leak, use the steps stated to fix the leak.

Are exhaust leaks a big deal?

For a lot of reasons, exhaust leaks can be alarming. First, this can throw off the sensors and result in insufficient fuel or the engine burning a lot. Secondly, it puts the environment in danger because most time, it releases gases before it goes through your catalytic converter.

How much does a new exhaust cost?

The exhaust system is made in a way that it can replace factory-issued parts of your vehicle. Of course, this depends on the result, and you could spend about $500-$2,000. The cost is based on the model and make of your car and the number of parts you have to replace.

What happens if you don’t fix an exhaust leak?

Repairing an exhaust leak immediately is a good idea. If you neglect it, it can affect the performance of your vehicle. Furthermore, as time goes on, it could also lead to major damage to some vital automotive systems and your engine.

How long does it take to fix an exhaust leak?

Fixing an exhaust leak usually takes about 2 to 3 hours. And most shops would charge about $80-$90 per hour, so the cost would be around $160 to $270 for labor. A dealership shop that has a labor rate of $110 per hour would cost you around $220 to $330 for labor.

What an exhaust leak sounds like?

One common sign is high engine noise. Pay attention to an audible rumble when accelerating. You might hear a hissing or intermittent popping when the engine runs. The engine’s overall performance can also be affected by an exhaust leak.

Conclusion – How Much does an Exhaust Leak Repair Cost?

Fixing an exhaust leak would range between $160-$330. Of course, you could perform the fixing by yourself. Nevertheless, if you notice that a hole or a leak could break out in the exhaust system, asking a muffler shop to repair the leak would be a good idea.

The magnitude of the leak will also determine the time you’ll need to repair it. The average time it requires is about 2 to 3 hours. The main time also depends on how easy or difficult it is for you to access the exhaust’s manifold and the condition and main source of the exhaust leak.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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