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How Much Does It Cost To Fix An Exhaust Leak? (2024 Update)

porsche car exhaust

If you notice your engine has gotten louder recently and your fuel mileage has concerningly taken a nosedive, you might have an exhaust leak. Exhaust leaks don’t sound serious at first, but they are actually extremely important to identify and have fixed as soon as possible. Exhaust leaks are not super common problems, but they do happen. The good news is that exhaust leaks are easy to fix when caught in the early stages. Exhaust leaks are not very expensive, and they don’t take long for a professional mechanic to identify and fix. The average cost of an exhaust leak repair is $250 for parts and labor.

car and road divider

Are Exhaust Leaks Serious Problems?

Yes, an exhaust leak is considered a serious problem. Exhaust leaks are easy to deal with when they are caught in the early stages. Ignoring an exhaust leak can lead to permanent engine damage and a drastic decrease in the performance of the vehicle over time. In extreme cases, an exhaust leak can back up into the car’s cabin and cause serious health issues for the driver.

While a little gas leak doesn’t sound like a big problem, it is not something that you should put off. Exhaust leaks need to be addressed as soon as possible. The good news is that exhaust leaks are relatively simple and cheap to have fixed.

Air pollution from vehicle exhaust pipe
Image Credit: Toa55, Shutterstock

How Much Does It Cost To Fix An Exhaust Leak?

If you catch an exhaust leak early before the problem can damage other parts of the vehicle, it is an easy repair. An exhaust leak will take 1-3 hours of shop labor to finish. Most mechanic shops charge around $100 an hour for labor which puts the labor cost between $100 and $300. That is the bulk of the cost of an exhaust leak repair. The parts cost is negligible compared to the labor cost.

In most cases, parts will only cost $25. Even on the high end, parts only ring up at around $50. Unless something like the tailpipe has been severely damaged, a leak repair is akin to a patch job and requires very little in the way of expensive parts.

All of that together puts the average cost of an exhaust leak repair at right around $250 for parts and labor. In the grand scheme of potential car repairs, an exhaust leak repair is mild but extremely important.

Costs Low High Average
Parts $20 $50 $35
Labor $110 $325 $220
Combined $130 $375 $255

Additional Costs

Exhaust Pipe Replacement

One of the biggest additional costs that can come with an exhaust leak is having to replace the entire exhaust pipe assembly. Sometimes a leak is due to a failing exhaust pipe and that means shelling out big bucks. Unlike a small repair where a leak is patched, the exhaust pipe is a complicated part that requires a lot of labor and a steep parts cost. There is a chance with an exhaust leak that the exhaust pipe itself will need to be replaced. If that is the case, you can expect to pay at least $1,000. Some vehicles have more expensive parts, and the price will run closer to $1,500.

car exhaust
Image Credit: Piqsels

Muffler Work

Another part of the exhaust system that might need to be tuned up or repaired is the muffler. The muffler is what deadens the sound of the exhaust as it gets pushed from the engine out of the car. Like the tailpipe, the muffler is a complicated and expensive part to have replaced. If you are slapped with a muffler replacement bill, you can expect to pay $600 to $1,000 in additional costs. Muffler repair work can be cheaper, running $200 to $400, but that will still more than double your exhaust leak repair cost.

Filling Up More Often

Vehicles suffering from an exhaust leak will suffer from poor fuel mileage. Significant drops in fuel economy can cause your weekly gas bill to rise. Regular commuters will use more gas than previously. If you do not get the exhaust leak fixed, you could find yourself paying more at the pump for the drives that you do every day. As gas prices rise, this problem will become more profound and the additional costs more acute.

car and road divider

Signs You Could Have An Exhaust Leak

Exhaust leaks cause a handful of symptoms that are easy to recognize if you what to look for. Many times, exhaust leaks will trip the check engine light. A drop in pressure in the exhaust system causes a cascading effect in the engine that will often cause the check engine light to come on. Even if the check engine light doesn’t trigger, there are other signs that you might have an exhaust leak.

Strange smells in the cabin, a shaking gas pedal, and a noticeable drop in fuel efficiency are the most common symptoms of an exhaust leak. An exhaust leak can also cause your engine to run rougher and be louder than it normally is. If you sense something wrong with your normal engine operation and don’t see any lights on the dash going off it could be a small exhaust leak causing the problems.

car exhaust
Image Credit: Alexander Ishchenko, Shutterstock

When You Need To Get Your Exhaust Leak Fixed ASAP

You should never put off getting an exhaust leak fixed for too long, but there are circumstances when an exhaust leak is an emergency. If you suspect that exhaust is backing up into your car, you need to get it repaired immediately. Having exhaust come through your car’s vents can lead to carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide building up in the cabin, which can be fatal under extreme circumstances. If you smell exhaust in your car’s cabin at any point, you need to have the vehicle looked at right away.

What Causes An Exhaust Leak?

Exhaust leaks can happen from normal wear and tear on a vehicle or due to damage caused by an external force. Since the exhaust system lies exposed under the car, it is vulnerable to certain types of damage. Hitting a pothole too hard or having a piece of gravel or asphalt come up and strike the exhaust can cause a small hole or crack to form where gas will leak out from.

The exhaust system is a pressurized system, so there are times when the pressure simply causes a rupture. These ruptures can happen at weakened joints or through an aging seal. Any pressurized system that builds pressure over long periods of time can be prone to failure.

car and road divider Conclusion

Exhaust leaks are serious problems that can affect the fuel efficiency and performance of your vehicle. They can even cause harmful gasses to leak into the cabin of the car. Exhaust leaks need to be addressed as soon as they arise, but they are affordable to deal with. Most exhaust leak repairs won’t cost more than $300 and can be patched up in an afternoon.

Featured Image Credit: contratempo, Pixabay


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