Cost to Replace a Car’s Exhaust

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Your car’s exhaust system plays an important role in keeping you safe from the extremely harmful fumes the engine produces.

Cleaning those fumes and converting them into less harmful exhaust gases (though not totally harmless), also helps keep everyone else a little safer and the air a bit cleaner.

A faulty exhaust system can be harmful to you, and potentially to your car’s engine.

If your car’s exhaust system isn’t working correctly, it’s important to get it fixed.

Unfortunately, this could mean paying a large sum. Keep reading to find out just how much replacing a car’s exhaust system might cost.  

How Much Will It Cost to Replace a Car’s Exhaust?

Depending on the car, and the quality of parts, replacing a car’s exhaust system will typically cost between $300 to $1,200.

Keep in mind that this is a general price range, and your exhaust replacement could cost much more.

The included labor for replacing an exhaust system will be about $200 of the total price.

While not always the case, a general rule is the bigger the car, the more expensive it will be to replace the exhaust system.

SUVs and trucks tend to have the highest associated costs for exhaust replacements.

Replacing Components of the Exhaust System 

Fortunately, it’s rare for all the components of an exhaust system to fail at once.

This means you’re not likely to need to replace the entire system.

Replacing specific parts of the exhaust system can be significantly cheaper than replacing the whole thing. 

The manifold and catalytic converter will likely be the most expensive components of the exhaust system that you might have to replace.

Estimated Repair Costs

Exhaust manifolds may cost around $200 to $1,000 to replace.

A new catalytic converter could cost between $500 to $2,000. (Learn more about catalytic converter theft here).

A muffler replacement can cost as much as $100 to $300. 

For replacements of oxygen sensors, tailpipes, or resonators, you’re looking at about $50 to $200. 

How Long Will the Repair Take?

Exhaust replacements tend to be relatively easy jobs for most shops. This is why the average labor costs tend to be pretty low.

On average, an exhaust replacement takes about 2 to 5 hours.

Some shops may need to keep your car overnight.

You should check with your mechanic before making plans to stay and wait for your car. 

Symptoms of a Broken Exhaust System

A broken exhaust system can potentially be dangerous to your health and safety, but how do you know if something is wrong with your car’s exhaust?

Take a look at these common signs that your exhaust system is failing.

1. Bad Smell from the Exhaust or Inside the Vehicle

A bad smell can be an indication that part of your exhaust system is failing.

If you are smelling fumes when in your car, this is a big sign that something could be wrong with your exhaust.

This could be very dangerous to your health and may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Get your car checked by a qualified mechanic immediately. 

2. Check Engine Light

When the check engine light is on it could indicate an exhaust problem.

You’re probably aware that the check engine line could go on for many reasons.

One of these reasons is that there is something wrong with the exhaust system.

Typically, the oxygen sensor will trigger the check engine light.

A mechanic can diagnose the check engine code will hopefully be able to fix it quickly.

3. Loud Noise and Rattling

Loud noises and rattling from the exhaust or muffler is another indication something is wrong.

Dampening noises created by the engine’s combustion cycle is a part of the exhaust system’s job.

If you are hearing loud noises and rattling, especially when accelerating, this could be a sign that there is an issue with your car’s exhaust system.

4. Loss of Power

If your car feels like it’s sluggish or it’s vibrating when you are trying to accelerate, there is a good chance something is wrong with your exhaust system.

Learn more about what it means if your car is shaking while driving.

5. Poor Fuel Efficiency

A bad exhaust system could make your engine work a lot harder.

This, of course, will lead to lower miles per gallon of gas.

If you notice that you are having to fill up more often than usual, you might need to repair or replace the exhaust.

Learn more about just how many miles a car can go on a gallon of gas.

Is it OK to Drive with a Broken Exhaust?

First, let’s make this very clear: a broken exhaust could damage you and your health, and you’re more important than your vehicle.

So NO, it is not OK to drive with a broken exhaust. It can harm your health, the environment, and your vehicle.

If you are smelling any exhaust fumes when driving your car, get it inspected as soon as possible. 

And as for the car, yes, a bad exhaust system can also damage the vehicle.

With the toxic fumes lingering in the engine, it will not have the right levels of oxygen and will have to work harder to perform anywhere near the levels you demand from it. That could lead to faster wear and tear of the engine.

Ignoring a bad exhaust system could lead to much more costly repairs.

Plus, it’ll also likely cost you more in gas.

Also, keep in mind that a bad exhaust system will cause your car to fail a smog/emissions test.

If you suspect a problem, get it checked. You don’t want to end up having to replace the entire engine.