What Is an Exhaust Manifold?

Whether you’re upgrading your vehicle with a custom exhaust system or just curious how the exhaust system works, you can’t forget about the exhaust manifold. The exhaust manifold is the first section of the exhaust system. It is bolted directly to the engine block and funnels exhaust gasses to the catalytic converter. Your exhaust manifold is crucial to the proper performance of your exhaust system, and we’re going to teach you more about it in this article.

What Makes Up the Exhaust Manifold? 

Exhaust manifolds are made of a simple cast iron or stainless steel. They undergo extreme, constant stress with the temperature changes under the hood. This design helps the exhaust manifold last longer than most parts of your car.

When gearheads tweak and improve their manifold, they add after-market tubular exhaust manifolds known as headers. They are made of mild steel or stainless steel, so a slight step up from what the factory provides you. An easy, effective customization is coating the exhaust manifold with a ceramic-type finish or heat-resistant finish.

Why Is the Exhaust Manifold Important?

Some mechanics describe the exhaust manifold as the “lungs” of the engine. It inhales the gasses generated during the combustion process and then sends them out to the catalytic converter. This step is important because the gasses produced from the combustion process aren’t safe to be emitted into the environment. The catalytic converter cleans the exhaust emissions by altering the chemical composition before sending the fumes out into the exhaust pipe. Once they’re traveling through the exhaust pipe, gasses go through the muffler and then, if you have them, exhaust tips and safely out into the world.

The exhaust system’s purpose is to ensure a cleaner environment with vehicle use and keep your car running smoothly. Because the exhaust system is intricate and important, each component can greatly contribute to your car’s performance and fuel economy. And it all starts with the exhaust manifold.

What’s the Difference Between an Exhaust Manifold and Exhaust Header?

The simple answer is that exhaust manifolds are there when your car rolls off the factory, and exhaust headers are an after-market upgrade. This alteration helps the exhaust manifold function even better, because headers share the same purpose as the manifold. They also funnel gasses from the cylinders to the catalytic conver. However, headers accelerate the flow of exhaust gasses, thus contributing to a quicker engine cycle time.

This process is known as scavenging: replacing spent gasses in the engine cylinder with fresh air and fuel. The faster an exhaust system can do this, the better a vehicle’s performance.

Exhaust Manifolds, Headers, and a Cat-Back Exhaust: A Full Custom System

On top of improving the manifold’s performance with exhaust headers, vehicle owners can do even more with a cat-back exhaust system. These vehicle alterations entail improvements behind the catalytic converter. It improves the airflow primarily by upgrading the exhaust pipe. An improvement like this, on top of headers, can strike a wonderful balance for your exhaust system. There won’t be too much pressure in the front of the process or the back of the process. Your system can work in significant harmony, giving you a ride you’ll cherish.

Want to Transform Your Vehicle? Contact Us

Performance Muffler is a garage for people who get it. We’ve been a top custom exhaust shop in the Phoenix area for 15 years. Nothing brings us more excitement than getting to tweak and improve our customers’ vehicles. We can help unlock your car’s full potential.

Contact us today for a free quote.

About Performance Muffler

We provide exhaust repairs & replacements, catalytic converter services, cat-back exhaust systems, and more. Performance Muffler proudly services the Phoenix, Peoria, and Glendale areas. We’d be honored to use our passion of cars to work on yours. 

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