Do exhaust shops install headers?
Author: SPELAB Mechanical Engineer (focusing on car modification for 10 years)
Exhaust headers are a type of engine modification that can improve a vehicle's performance by increasing exhaust gas flow. They are an essential component of the exhaust system. They are designed to replace the factory exhaust manifold, which is the first piping section that collects exhaust gases from the engine's cylinders.
Car enthusiasts install headers to improve exhaust flow by providing a more direct path for the gases to travel. It can help to bump up the horsepower and torque and boost the fuel efficiency as well. Properly designed headers can reduce backpressure, leading to even more performance gains.
While headers can benefit many vehicles, they must be correctly installed to achieve maximum performance benefits. Improper installation can result in engine damage or decreased performance. Therefore, choosing a professional exhaust shop with the expertise and experience to install headers properly is crucial.
This article will delve deeper into headers and their importance in vehicle performance. We will discuss how headers work, how to choose the right ones for your vehicle, and the importance of proper installation. We will also examine the benefits of having a professional exhaust shop handle the installation process and what to consider when choosing an exhaust shop for this service.
Choose the right headers for your vehicle:
Choosing the best car header might get tricky if you are not experienced. But here are some general parameters to guide you about what to look for before finalizing any purchase:
- Make and Model: The first step is ensuring that the headers you buy are compatible with your vehicle. The header measurements should be compatible with your engine and exhaust manifold. This allows for easy fitting and better durability.
- Material: Headers come in a variety of materials, including steel, stainless steel, and ceramic headers. Each one is meant for a different audience and purpose. Steel headers are the most affordable, but they might not last as long due to accumulating rust over time. Stainless steel headers avoid rust but cost more. Ceramic headers provide the most-sought combination of durability and corrosion resistance, but they are priced even higher.
- Compatible with modified cars: The compatibility of the headers with any additional engine modifications you have made or want to make is another thing to consider. For instance, if you have updated your engine's cylinder heads or added a performance camshaft, you should pick compatible headers.
The benefits of having a professional exhaust shop install headers:
Installing headers is a complex process because it involves working with the exhaust manifold and exhaust valves. We recommend you leave this process to an expert exhaust shop. Here are a few reasons to back our advice:
- Expertise and experience: Technicians at exhaust shops have the necessary skills and experience to properly install car headers in your vehicle. They are experts at handling delicate engine components. This ensures that everything is properly aligned and tightened. It prevents engine damage and provides optimal performance from the headers.
- Specialized tools and equipment: Exhaust shops have access to specialized tools and equipment needed to properly install the header. These include engine hoists, torque wrenches, and other tools not readily accessible by the average DIY mechanic. It makes the installation process more manageable and imparts greater accuracy.
- Proper engine tuning: Maximizing the headers' performance benefit is essential. A professional exhaust shop will have the necessary equipment and expertise to tune the engine after the headers are installed, ensuring that the engine is running at its best.
Header installation process:
Installing headers on a vehicle can be a complex and time-consuming process. Therefore, it is important to follow the proper steps to ensure that the installation is done correctly. Here is a general outline to keep in mind:
- Gather necessary tools and equipment: These include but are not limited to engine hoists, torque wrenches, sockets and ratchets, and gaskets.
- Remove factory exhaust manifold: It is the first step and involves disconnecting the manifold from the engine and exhaust pipe. Look if there are any other connections and cut them too. You may need many specialized tools for this step.
- Install the headers: Install the headers to the engine and exhaust pipe. You might also need to install gaskets or any other necessary hardware. Make sure every piece of equipment is properly aligned and tightened. This prevents leaks or other issues.
- Reinstall any removed components: Reinstall any components that you removed during the process. These might include oxygen sensors, exhaust pipes, and more. Make sure to stick to the manufacturer's instructions for this step and use the proper torque specifications.
- Perform a test drive: Once everything has been reassembled, it's a good idea to take the vehicle for a test drive to ensure that the headersexhaust is functioning properly. This will help you listen for any unusual noises or feel for any vibrations that may indicate a problem.
Best headers in the market:
Now that we know all about headers, here is a list of highly-rated headers to make your choice easier:
- Borla Headers
- Flow Master Headers
- Hooker Headers
- JBA Headers
- Kooks Headers