How To Find Exhaust Manifold Leak? #3 Easy Methods!

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Exhaust manifold leak is common damage on a vehicle. It can be because of many reasons, such as less caring and driving on rough roads. But the main problem happens when they do not understand the symptoms and cannot find the exhaust leak, which apparently damages the vehicle more and more. 

You can use Soapy wooder, stethoscope, and Smoke techniques to find exhaust manifold leaks. Let’s get more elaborately on how to find exhaust manifold leaks.

How To Find Exhaust Manifold Leak? Let’s Start The Overview!

Detect Exhaust Manifold Leak Symptoms

If you feel your vehicle is going through an exhaust problem, you will get some symptoms or indication that shows how serious or bad the exhaust problem is. The indications are noise, Engine light turns on, fuel economy, engine damage.

  • A leak exhaust manifold causes a huge amount of bad or hashing noises after the engine starts up.
  • If you see the engine is not working properly and day by day it is losing its performance., it can be the cause of the exhaust manifold leakage.
  • For the exhaust manifold leak, sometimes oxygen sensors do not work properly or sense some dangerous things like carbon monoxide that turns on the check engine light on the screen.
  • Increased exhaust leaks cause something like burning and come out from vehicles in black, white, and blue smoke.

Find Exhaust Manifold Leak.

After getting the symptoms of the leak, finding the exhaust manifold leak is not tough to work. Using some tools and techniques, you can easily find out the position of the leak. Follow one of these three methods.

[Note: Ensure That The Engine Or The Exhaust Manifold Is Completely Cold.]

Method 1 – Checked Physically 

Manually Check

In this process, you need to remove most parts from the engine connected with the exhaust manifold, such as the valves and spark plugs. Then check all the parts one by one to find out the position of the leak.

[Note: if you don’t have enough knowledge, call a mechanic; he will do the rest.]

Method 2 – By Using Vacuum Cleaner and Air Compressor

Here you need a vacuum cleaner, air compressor, or leaf blower in this process. Pick one to put air into the exhaust system by pipe to pressurize the exhaust system.

Set one of those to push air into the exhaust system and seal the vacuum pipe with the exhaust pipe. After turning on the vacuum, use one of these techniques to determine the exact leak position.

[Note: if you have two exhaust pipes on your car, connect a vacuum cleaner or air compressor, or leaf blower in on the side and seal the other exhaust pipe to avoid air leakage so that it creates pressure into the exhaust system.]

Soapy wooder

Soapy wooder is a common mixture of soap and water. After the vacuum is turned on, use this soapy water in the entire exhaust manifold with an exhaust pipe under the car. Especially use the soapy wooder on the joint areas. 

While spraying continuously on the exhaust manifold, you will see bubbles popping up from the leakage, indicating that the air is escaping from those holes, and you will get your leakage point.


Turn on the vacuum, and use a hose or tube this time. It would be better to use a stethoscope if you can afford it, though the hose and tube work the same to localize sound. Listening carefully to the exhaust manifold pipes helps you find out the exact point of the leakage.

Method 3 – Use A Smoke Machine


Pick up a smoke machine and put that smoke machine’s pipe into the exhaust pipe and seal it perfectly with tape. Turn on the machine to smoke the whole exhaust pipe, and if there is any leakage on the exhaust manifold, the smoke will come out from those leakages, and you can easily find out the leakage. 

[Note: it’s a costly process because smoke machines are costly. In this smoke process, we don’t need to do the vacuuming.]

Repair Exhaust Manifold Leak

If the exhaust manifold is damaged fully or burns too much, you may need to replace it. But if the damage is not very large, you can easily repair it with some tools. You can use putties, muffler bandages, and exhaust band clamps. 

[Note: while repairing, make sure that the engine or the exhaust manifold is completely cold.]


Putties are a paste you can use on small holes or leaks. Use a vacuum to pull out the air from the exhaust pipe. Then apply the paste on the small holes or joints wherever the leakage you got. To attach the paste fast to the surface, use a heat gun.

[Note: don’t turn on the engine or use a vacuum in the direction to pull air into the exhaust pipe. Neither the paste will come off before being solidly attached to the surface.]

Muffler Bandage

It is a type of glue bandage. Role it on the surface, and it will become solid and fill all the leakage gaps.

Exhaust Band Clamp

This clamp is mainly used to hide large holes in the exhaust pipe. Just put it on the exhaust pipe and tighten the screw.

If you find one of the parts of the exhaust manifold got erosion and does not fit well and causing leakage, then remove the part and use sandpaper or the smoother machine to plane or resize the part so that it fits and doesn’t leak. 

[Note: Before applying one of these, try to clean the surface using a metal brush or sandpaper, or isopropyl alcohol for better installation.]

FAQS: Exhaust Manifold Leak

Q. Is it safe to use a leaking manifold?

Ans: No. it is dangerous to use a leaking manifold. Firstly, a leaking manifold releases carbon monoxide, and for the leak, gas directly enters the passenger compartment, which is really harmful to health. 

Secondly, the noise it creates is also harmful to the ear. If you absorb or hear it for a long time, it can cause harm to your mind and heart.

Q. How much does it cost to replace an exhaust manifold?

Ans: Replacing depends especially on the brand or model. Mostly, the more famous brand vehicle or old model you have will cost more and more. 

Also, if you want to replace it with a professional, it will cost more, but if you do it on your own, it will cost some less. But even after this, replacing an exhaust manifold costs between $500 – $1500.

Q. How long can I drive with an exhaust leak?

Ans: You can drive a long distance and even use it for a long time. But how much you use; it will damage the leakage more and cause multiple component failures such as the engine and the system. So, repair or replace the exhaust leak as soon as possible.

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Exhaust manifold leak is a serious matter for both vehicle and passenger. It can cause vehicle problems and also cause health problems to the passengers. That’s why I researched and used all the techniques, and all of them worked finely.

I hope you get all the methods and hope that these methods will also work for you. Thank you.

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