How much to change the car exhaust in a shop
Author: SPELAB Mechanical Engineer (focusing on car modification for 10 years)
The car exhaust system is made up of quite a few parts, all of which are necessary to be in correct working order for the car to function properly and without making embarrassing sounds. Furthermore, most countries also require the exhaust header, exhaust manifold and the muffler to be working correctly in order to pass inspections.
But how much does it cost to change the car exhaust systems at the local mechanic? What are they doing to your car while working on it, and how long does it take? We will take a closer look at everything you need to know about your car exhaust so you get the best prices and best service. Enjoy!
Price estimate for changing the car exhaust
Let us start by saying it is impossible to tell precisely how much your exhaust will cost to fix or change. Not only does it vary depending on the brand and model of your car and the availability of spare parts, but every mechanic charges a different amount for their time, as well as margins for the car.
At the same time, there are also many different things that could be an issue if you are experiencing a loud exhaust.
Sometimes the exhaust shop might be able to weld the old exhaust back together, other times it might just be a single piece of pipe or connector that needs to be replaced.
And if you are unlucky you might need an entirely new exhaust system altogether, not to mention that if you have a custom exhaust it might require you to visit a specialist mechanic that charges a higher hourly rate.
On average you can expect that smaller city cars are cheaper, as well as certain brands in general will be more expensive. Mercedes or Tesla parts are generally more expensive than Chevrolet for instance).
For small city cars, changing the exhaust can be done for around $200-400 USD in parts, and another $100-$200 USD in labor.
Larger luxury cars can have costs for parts that run into $1000 USD or more, but the labor should stay roughly the same.
Price examples for different car exhaust repairs
The exhaust manifold is one of the most complex parts in the exhaust system. Therefore the price for replacing and changing this part will also be among the highest. Some cars even have two manifolds, but most just have a single one.
If you are having issues with a cracked exhaust manifold, it will rarely be possible to repair it, and then you should expect to spend around $500 USD to fix it, including labor.
The exhaust muffler (silencer) is not as expensive as the manifold if you are going with the stock options. Here you should expect to spend around $100-200 including labor.
The catalytic converter is another of the more expensive parts in the exhaust system. These are necessary in order to handle particles and pollutants, and will typically cost between $150 and $300 to purchase, and another $100 to install.
Signs of a defect exhaust system
The main purpose of the car exhaust is to reduce the noise your car makes. Another important aspect is to help reduce and absorb dangerous particles that can harm people or the environment. You will also need a fully functioning exhaust to pass inspection tests.
Therefore you should know the signs of a badly working exhaust, in order to fix it as soon as possible, and maybe save money before the issue grows bigger. Below we have gathered a few tell-tale signs of your exhaust having problems:
Clogged exhaust system
If the exhaust pipes are clogged or blocked, you will notice your car has less power than usual. This can also make your engine light flash in your dashboard. Oftentimes you will notice less smoke coming out of your pipe, or no smoke at all. Sometimes it might be a different color than white or gray. Black smoke is never a good sign.
When driving your car, even at low speeds, you might notice your car makes more noise than before. Leave your engine at idle and go outside. If the sounds are coming from your exhaust pipes or manifold, you might have a problem with the silencer.
Rust build up on the exhaust system
Over time most exhausts will develop some levels of rust. Often this is just surface rust, which can be ignored. But sometimes it will be more serious, and can eventually create holes in the pipes, leading to the pipes breaking or disconnecting. If you are lucky the hole might be able to be repaired by a skilled mechanic for a lower price than if they were to replace it.
Original parts or aftermarket
When considering the cost of your exhaust, you might be tempted to look at aftermarket products for a lower price tag. Sometimes this can be a good idea to save some money, but remember that your car’s warranty might suffer, and the potential value when selling your car on the used market might also be lowered.
Talk with your exhaust shop about the options if you really need to save money. Sometimes they might be able to find a few parts lying around, and other times they might be able to repair your existing system, so you can at least use your car for a short time, while saving up for a full exhaust change.
Any decent exhaust shop will be willing to troubleshoot your car's problems and give you a price estimate before going to work on the car. This should give you a clear idea of how much money you will need to spend in order to fix the problems.
Be sure to contact a reputable mechanic, or maybe even call a few different ones to get the best price possible.