Your vehicle's exhaust manifold is the part of your exhaust system that moves fumes from your engine's cylinders to the tailpipe. A leak in the exhaust manifold can be a serious issue, firstly because it increases the emissions of your vehicle and can make it likely that you will fail an emissions test, but more importantly because it can allow fumes to enter your car, which can be a serious (even life-threatening) health hazard. Understanding the warning signs associated with a leaking exhaust manifold can make such a leak easier to identify so that you can head to an auto repair shop like H & S Tire & Auto Center straight away.
The clearest sign that your exhaust manifold is leaking is a physical crack in the manifold itself. Doing a visual inspection of the manifold is a straightforward process: all you have to do is climb under the car (or roll under, if you own a rolling creeper) and look at the manifold with a flashlight. If you see a crack or any other signs of physical damage along the pipe running from the front of your car to the muffler, you should head to an auto repair specialist straight away.
Another good indication that there may be something wrong with your exhaust manifold is if there is a marked increase in the amount of noise that your vehicle generates while you're driving. This can take the form of increased engine noise, but also listen for a sputtering, vibrating, or shaking noise, depending on the type and size of the leak. You should also listen for a potential hissing sound while driving: this can point to exhaust fumes leaking into the interior of your car, which is a little more serious of an issue that demands immediate attention by an auto repair professional.
A leak in your exhaust manifold will also show itself through the strong, unpleasant smell of fumes that can flood the interior of your vehicle. Keep in mind that exhaust fumes are toxic and can pose a serious health risk if inhaled, so if you notice the smell of exhaust in your vehicle, the best thing for you to do is to open all your windows for maximum ventilation and pull over at the first opportunity. It's a good idea to call a tow truck to take you to a nearby mechanic, since driving with exhaust fumes filling the vehicle cabin poses a huge risk.