How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Exhaust System? (2023)

Is your exhaust louder than normal, or are you ready for an upgrade? Either way, there are many options available if you want to replace an exhaust system. You can choose some minor replacements or choose a major overhaul of the entire system. So, what is the average exhaust system replacement cost, and is it worth it?

In this guide, we look at the main parts making up the exhaust and discuss the replacement cost for each. We also discuss what factors play into the replacement cost for an exhaust. At the end of our article, you’ll also gain a few answers to questions that have probably been bothering you.

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How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Exhaust System?

On average, it can cost between $500 and $1,500 to replace the entire exhaust system. If you only want to replace single parts or systems, such as the muffler, downpipe, exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, or do a cat-back exchange, your cost will be less.

Let’s look at these parts and options, so you can decide what’s best for your vehicle. While these don’t make up every part, they are the major components replaced.

1. Muffler

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Exhaust System? (1)

The automotive muffler is responsible for quieting the noise coming from the engine. It creates back pressure to improve the performance as well.

On average, you may spend $100 to $300 to replace a muffler. However, performance mufflers can cost far more because they create better sound and improve engine backpressure.


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2. Exhaust Manifold

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Exhaust System? (2)

The exhaust manifold connects to the motor. It’s used to direct exhaust gases away from the engine. It’s a collection of pipes that ensure combustion fumes don’t get back into the cabin. Technically, it’s the first component making up the exhaust system.

You can expect to spend between $350 and $1,000 to replace the exhaust manifold, as it’s not normally an easy job to perform. Exhaust manifolds can be made from stainless steel or cast iron, which also affects the pricing.

3. Downpipe

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Exhaust System? (3)

The downpipe is responsible for connecting the exhaust manifold to the catalytic converter. It continues to direct the exhaust away from the vehicle. Some people prefer to change the factory downpipe with one that is smoother and allows for more flow.

Overall, you may spend $50 to $300 to replace the downpipe. However, the prices can go higher based on some of the factors we list later in the article.

4. Cat-back

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Exhaust System? (4)

The Cat-back exhaust system includes everything running from the catalytic converter outlet to the exhaust tips. Most exhaust systems have a large pipe that runs from the converter to the muffler. There can also be a resonator installed before the muffler that controls some of the sound coming from the exhaust.

A performance cat-back exhaust adds different turns to reduce back pressure. Depending on the type of exhaust you want, you may spend $250 to $2,000 to swap this out.

The cat-back system replacement is the most common type of exhaust replacement, as you get almost a new exhaust system without replacing the expensive parts such as the exhaust manifold or catalytic converter.

5. Catalytic Converter

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Exhaust System? (5)

The catalytic converter creates a chemical reaction with the exhaust gases to make them into something less harmful to the environment. It’s needed to reduce emissions. In fact, you will have a hard time passing an emissions test if the catalytic converter isn’t working right.

The catalytic converter is one of the more expensive parts to replace. On average, it can cost $300 to $2,000 or more. This high price isn’t usually for the labor, but the material makes the price go up. The precious metals needed for the chemical reactions are what makes this part so expensive.

6. Full Exhaust System

To replace the entire exhaust, you are going to easily spend $1,000 or more. Some people choose to do this all at once, while others break up the cost over time and work on the exhaust slowly.

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Most vehicles don’t need an entirely new exhaust system, even if you are looking to increase performance or sound. In many cases, you can replace just a few key parts to get the desired outcome.The cat-back replacement is much more common than the whole exhaust system.

Factors Affecting The Exhaust System Replacement Cost

To determine the approximate cost for replacing the exhaust system, you have to look at several factors. Some of the most important are the parts you choose to replace, the material used, the type of manufacturer and local labor rates.

1. Parts Replaced

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Exhaust System? (6)

We’ve already shown you how much money each part or system can affect the price. If you are only replacing a muffler, you are going to spend far less than if you change out the entire cat-back system.

For this reason, it might make sense to choose one or two critical parts and replace them instead of the entire system. You can make a big difference while saving money.

Additionally, you must consider the added components that need to be replaced with the larger pieces. For example, you are going to need some money for gaskets as you replace the exhaust. There may also be times when a new oxygen sensor is required. All of these costs add up.

2. Exhaust System Material

Depending on the part, several different types of materials are used for the exhaust. You will find some parts made from mild steel, which is cheaper than others, but also rusts quickly.

Galvanized aluminum offers better noise reduction and resists corrosion, but the cost goes up slightly. Additionally, stainless steel is one of the better options because of how sturdy it is, but it also tends to be one of the most expensive.

3. OEM or Aftermarket

There are two types of parts you can choose. There are the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or aftermarket parts. OEM parts are those made by the car manufacturer. They are identical to the equipment that was on the car when it was rolled off of the assembly line. These often cost more than a comparable aftermarket replacement.

However, there are some aftermarket companies that are going to cost more than OEM. If you are looking for performance parts, you can expect to pay more.

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4. Make/Model of Car

It would be impossible to determine the exhaust replacement cost without looking at the type of vehicle you drive. Some vehicles have more expensive parts than others.

For example, your luxury car is likely going to cost more than the American-made compact car. You can get a good estimate by pricing the parts online.

5. Labor Rate

Mechanic labor rates per hour are different throughout the country. If you live in an urban environment, you can expect to pay a higher labor rate. The same is true if you choose to get your automotive work through a local dealership.

If you want to save money on labor, consider looking outside of a busy area. You can find reliable mechanics by searching online. As professional technicians, we recommend reading through online reviews and checking with your friends and family to see who they recommend.


Do I need to replace the entire exhaust system?

Normally, you can just replace the part that is failing unless you are looking for increased performance. You may need to replace major parts of the system for leaking, corrosion or punctures. You may also choose to upgrade if you want a different exhaust sound from your car.

Is it worth replacing the exhaust on an old car?

Most parts of the exhaust will last anywhere from two to ten years. Generally, the parts don’t fail at the same time, so it might make sense to replace failing exhaust components, even if the car is old. Evaluate the cost of repair and the benefits received from it to determine its worth.

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Can I drive with a bad exhaust system?

There shouldn’t be any reason why driving would be impossible, but that doesn’t mean you should. As the exhaust is broken, dangerous gases could escape into the environment. They may also be leaking into the cabin, which could cause serious health concerns.

How long does it take to replace an exhaust system?

If a simple replacement is needed, such as a muffler, the job may only take an hour or two. More complicated procedures, such as replacing the exhaust manifold, can take half a day or a full day, depending on the type of vehicle you drive.

What causes the exhaust system to go bad?

The exhaust system sees a lot of abuse. Vibrations are one of the leading reasons for failure. Additionally, moisture is an enemy of the system, often leading to corrosion and rust. If the vehicle is taken off-road, the added dirt can accelerate the exhaust wear.

What is the average life of a car exhaust?

There are many parts included in the exhaust system. Each of these parts has a different lifespan, typically ranging from two to ten years. Normally, all of the parts won’t fail at the same time, allowing you to replace parts only as needed.


If you’ve been thinking about replacing parts of the exhaust system, you want to get a good estimate first. Seeing how expensive some of the parts and jobs can be, it’s important to budget ahead of time. We recommend getting quotes from several shops before you make your decision.

Additionally, you may be able to perform some of the work yourself to save money. If you have somewhere to work on the vehicle and the tools to complete the job, go ahead and give it a try. However, we never recommend working on parts you are unfamiliar with. Doing so could create more work, especially if you break something that costs a lot of money.

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Categories:Exhaust, Estimator


How much does it cost to replace an entire exhaust system? ›

How much does it cost to replace an exhaust system? Exhaust system replacement costs for a car range between $150 – $2500. The estimate is based on how much the replaced part or the whole system costs and additional labor costs.

How long does it take to replace an exhaust system? ›

Most exhaust installations can be completed in about 1/2 day. Headers can take a little longer.

Is replacing an exhaust easy? ›

With the right tools, parts, and patience, you can perform an exhaust system installation yourself. This job is pretty straight forward as long as you are using exact-fit replacement parts.

What is included in a new exhaust system? ›

Most exhaust systems have four main parts: the exhaust manifold, the catalytic converter, the pipes, and the muffler.

What is considered a full exhaust system? ›

There are two types of aftermarket exhausts. A “slip-on” replaces only the muffler, while a “full system” replaces everything: header, midpipe and can.

What is the most expensive part of a car exhaust? ›

Catalytic converters are notorious for one thing and one thing only: they're very expensive to replace. In fact, the catalytic converter is the single most expensive part of most vehicles.

Can I drive with a bad exhaust system? ›

While you can technically drive with a broken exhaust, it's neither safe nor legal and poses a number of issues when you're out on the road. Whether your exhaust is simply cracked, is partially hanging off or has fallen off completely, it's an important part of your vehicle which needs your immediate attention.

Is it worth replacing exhaust on old car? ›

Yes, even with regular maintenance, your older car will benefit from an exhaust replacement. A typical exhaust lasts, on average, anywhere from two to eight years, although each part of the exhaust will wear out at varying timeframes. The catalytic converter should last you around 10 years.

What would cause an exhaust system to need replacing? ›

Puncture (other than a drain hole) – Rocks, potholes and other road debris can cause punctures in the exhaust system that can lead to excessive noise and dangerous gases leaking. Open or split seams – Cracks in the seams of the exhaust system can cause dangerous gas leaks, excessive noise and increased emissions.

What happens if I don't fix my exhaust? ›

If left unresolved, it will dramatically hinder the overall performance of your car. Over time, it can also lead to major damage in the engine and other important automotive systems. Trust us when we tell you that fixing an exhaust leak is much less expensive than replacing a blown engine.

How serious are exhaust problems? ›

If the exhaust system is bad enough, your whole car may begin to shake as you drive. These vibrations pose a real threat to not only your car's health, but the safety of you, passengers in your car, and the others on the road.

What happens if you don't replace exhaust pipe? ›

Reduced Fuel Economy and Higher Emissions

If your car's exhaust has a leak, this will have an impact on the pressure in the exhaust system, reducing fuel economy and leading to higher emissions. Exhausts produce six gases, three of which are toxic (carbon monoxide, nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen oxide).

How do I know if my car exhaust needs replacing? ›

Here are the signs of car exhaust repair:
  1. Fuel Efficiency.
  2. Vibrations.
  3. Engine Noise.
  4. Rattling Noise.
  5. Hissing/Popping Noise.
  6. Burning Smell.
  7. Performance Issue.
  8. Gas Smell.
Sep 9, 2020

Does a new exhaust require a tune? ›

That said, an ECU tune is required to maximize the performance potential of any given vehicle and exhaust combination. Most cars are detuned (restricted via software) or tuned conservatively from factory.

How many miles do exhaust systems last? ›

Typically, a car muffler will last 40,000 to 80,000 miles or around two to four years of average driving conditions. However, for vehicles driven in wet climates, such as along the coastline with salty air or in areas that get a lot of snow with salt on the roads, will see an even shorter muffler lifespan.

How many pipes are in an exhaust system? ›

The numbers refer to the exhaust pipe layout: Four pipes come off the cylinder head (or additional header), which turns into two pipes, and the system finally ends with one pipe leading to the catalytic converter and muffler.

What exhaust gives the best sound? ›

Cat-back exhausts

These are full exhaust systems from the catalytic converter to the exhaust pipe at the back of the car. As well as the muffler and tail pipe, you'll also get the mid and intermediate pipes. These are the best sounding exhausts that will also give you some power gains.

Is the catalytic converter part of the exhaust system? ›

Your catalytic converter is located on the underside of your car, in the exhaust system between the exhaust manifold and muffler.

How much does a hole in the exhaust cost? ›

Usually, this type of repair will run between two and three hours. Most independent shops charge around $80 to $90 an hour, so it should cost between $160 and $270 in labor. At a dealership, with a labor rate of approximately $110 an hour, you can expect a labor bill of between $220 and $330.

What is the most expensive car part to repair? ›

Engine and its cylinders

The engine can be considered the heart of your vehicle and converts fuel to power so your car can move. As such, it is the most expensive car part to replace and repair, especially if there has been significant damage.

How much does a new exhaust add? ›

Depending on your car, an aftermarket performance exhaust system could give you as much as 50 extra horsepower or as little as 2-3 HP. To learn more about the benefits of upgrading your exhaust system or get an estimate of the horsepower benefits one might give you, try asking an expert.

Can a bad exhaust cause engine problems? ›

If the exhaust manifold is cracked and leaks, this can burn the exhaust valves and affect their seal over the engine cylinders. Back pressure can be created, causing the engine to lose power, sputter and misfire.

Will a bad exhaust throw a code? ›

A leaking exhaust will cause excessive oxygen to get into the exhaust and cause the O2 sensors to detect this and will set a code for the leak.

How do you know if your exhaust is blown? ›

Ten signs that your exhaust could be broken
  1. Rattle or vibration. ...
  2. Visible discolouring or damage. ...
  3. Rumbling sound. ...
  4. Loud engine noise from the front of the car. ...
  5. Loud engine noise from the rear of the car. ...
  6. Hissing noise. ...
  7. Muffled burbling. ...
  8. Catalytic converter.
May 5, 2023

How much is a catalytic converter? ›

For direct-fit options, a replacement can cost anywhere from $300.00 to $2,500.00, depending on the model, for just the cost of the part. You should also think about labor costs, which could cost between $70 and $130 an hour to install the converter.

How much does a catalytic converter cost? ›

For most modern cars, you can expect to pay around $300 – $1,650 (not including labor) for a new catalytic converter. However, these prices usually depend on the cost of the parts and local labor charges.

What are the most common exhaust system problems? ›

The most likely problem that will occur with your exhaust system is the parts getting rusty. Due to the metals that exhausts are made from – especially the exhaust pipe and silencer – and the proximity to wet and gritty ground, rust is still a common problem in this area of the vehicle.

What is the biggest problem with a broken exhaust system? ›

Along with being dangerous to you and your passengers, it can also affect the performance of your car. If the exhaust is leaking, that also means the engine's performance is messed up. It can negatively impact the power and even lower your fuel economy.

Can a bad exhaust cause transmission problems? ›

Another thing to remember is that all of your vehicle's systems work together in harmony while you drive. A problem with one component can snowball into problems with other systems. If you ignore exhaust system damage, it will ultimate affect the engine, transmission and everything else.

What does a blown exhaust sound like? ›

A broken exhaust can produce a hissing sound, rattling, a low rumble or even a loud roar. It might be louder when you accelerate the engine and quieter when idling. In some cases, it may sound like air being sucked out of the engine instead of an actual noise.

What are signs of a bad catalytic converter? ›

Driving with A Failed Catalytic Converter

If you're noticing slow powertrain performance, reduced acceleration, a smell of rotten eggs or sulfur from the exhaust, dark exhaust smoke, or extreme heat from under the vehicle, these are symptoms of a clogged Catalytic Converter, and it should be replaced quickly.

Is exhaust pipe expensive to fix? ›

The average cost of repairing an exhaust pipe will vary and can range from $160 to $330. If it's minor damage, you can fix it yourself. For example, you can apply epoxy around the leak.

What happens if your exhaust pipe falls off while driving? ›

If it falls off on a busy road or highway, it is better to call authorities to remove safety for you. Although the muffler can cool off quickly, it can still be very hot for the first several minutes. Next, you must go to the nearest auto repair center, and get a replacement for your muffler system.

Does a broken exhaust affect acceleration? ›

Decrease In Power And Acceleration

Exhaust troubles often affect the engine especially in terms of power and acceleration. Engine performance and efficiency deteriorate when the exhaust is crushed or deformed which restricts the flow of exhaust gasses from the engine.

What can a bad exhaust cause? ›

Below are six possible symptoms.
  1. Illuminated Check Engine Light.
  2. Exhaust Smell. ...
  3. Scraping or Rattling Sound. ...
  4. Drop in Power & Fuel Efficiency. ...
  5. Loud Engine Sound. ...
  6. Vibration/Shuddering. There are many things that can cause your car to vibrate, and most of them aren't good. ...
Jan 27, 2020

How do you test an exhaust? ›

Place the microphone of the decibel meter on an even level with the center of the muffler exhaust opening and about 20 inches behind the tailpipe at a 45-degree angle to the opening. Make sure the microphone is not in the direct gas path from the exhaust.

Does changing exhaust affect car engine? ›

Your car's exhaust system is much more than a collection of pipes designed to expel engine fumes – it is essential for your vehicle's performance. A faulty or damaged exhaust system can limit your speed and power, reduce fuel efficiency or even lead to serious mechanical issues if left untreated.

Does exhaust change engine sound? ›

Exhaust tips, since they are literally at the tailend of the exhaust system, will make a car have a more powerful sound. But a normal tip typically will have a small effect on the exhaust sound. A larger tip will give the engine a stronger, hearty sound, while a small tip will produce a raspy sound.

Does changing exhaust affect sound? ›

What size exhaust tip should I get? The size of your exhaust tip – both length and diameter – can drastically affect the sound your exhaust makes, potentially amplifying a low roar or muffling annoying exhaust rattles.

Does a new exhaust help gas mileage? ›

Mufflers and exhaust systems do improve gas mileage. Depending on the muffler, it can improve the overall efficiency of your vehicle, as well as the gas mileage. The reasoning behind this improvement is because high-quality aftermarket mufflers allow for better airflow.

How long is the life expectancy of an exhaust system? ›

Determining the Lifespan of the Exhaust System

As a rough rule of thumb, however, a typical life expectancy of a premium aftermarket exhaust system should be in the neighborhood of two to three years depending on driving habits and the previously mentioned factors. Read on to learn why the exhaust system can wear out.

What happens if you don't replace your exhaust? ›

If left unresolved, it will dramatically hinder the overall performance of your car. Over time, it can also lead to major damage in the engine and other important automotive systems. Trust us when we tell you that fixing an exhaust leak is much less expensive than replacing a blown engine.

What is the most common problem with an exhaust system? ›

Rust. The most likely problem that will occur with your exhaust system is the parts getting rusty. Due to the metals that exhausts are made from – especially the exhaust pipe and silencer – and the proximity to wet and gritty ground, rust is still a common problem in this area of the vehicle.

What does a broken exhaust sound like? ›

A broken exhaust can produce a hissing sound, rattling, a low rumble or even a loud roar. It might be louder when you accelerate the engine and quieter when idling. In some cases, it may sound like air being sucked out of the engine instead of an actual noise.


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