What does this mean?
We’re reasonably sure that both of the exhaust manifolds are leaking. The exhaust manifold routes exhaust out of each cylinder and sends it out the tail pipe. While you would intuitively think exhaust just leaks out, it is actually more complicated. The pressure in the exhaust manifold goes up and down as each cylinder fires. That means that exhaust will leak out when the pressure is high and suck outside air in when the pressure is low. This causes a lot of problems with the engine CPU. The CPU is trying to make sure the engine runs just right by reading the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. If there is too much oxygen, then the CPU thinks it needs to add fuel. Normally this works well. However, when outside air is leaking into the exhaust, the CPU gets the wrong reading. The CPU will add too much fuel, sometimes causing the engine to run horribly. Once a mechanic arrives, they will verify the problem has been identified correctly. You won’t be charged for the repair unless it’s been verified.
On a scale of 1 to 10, we rate this to have an urgency of 4. Some repairs have very low urgency, and we give those a 1. With these repairs, you can wait for as long as you would like, because it will not ever result in harm to you or your vehicle. These are usually cosmetic damages.
We consider a 5 to be something that will eventually need to be done, but you can likely get away with holding off for a while if other things are more pressing. However, if a repair is close to a 10 (or at a 10), this means you should NOT be driving the vehicle, and should get this repaired as soon as possible.
What happens if I wait?
If the check engine light isn’t on and does not ever blink, we’d probably just tell them to ignore it and watch to see if it gets worse. If check light is on and not blinking, the car won’t pass inspection. You can probably wait to get it fixed until you need an inspection. If the check engine light is blinking, it needs to be fixed very soon. It can cause a lot of other damage fast.
How complicated is this repair?
- This job has no tools required, and can be completed by just about anyone.
- This requires a relatively handy person, but little experience working on cars exclusively.
- This warrants an average person who’s done a fair amount of car repair. Think the weekend mechanic who’s done a brake job or two!
- At this difficulty, the average mechanic could do the job, but you wouldn't want to do it yourself without a fair amount of experience.
- This job is very specialized, requiring very expensive tools only a specialty shop has and a high level of expertise.