Exhaust manifolds and headers have similar functions—they both route fumes from the engine to the exhaust system—but exhaust manifolds come standard on most cars, while headers are aftermarket performance upgrades. Exhaust manifold is a solid cast iron structure across all cylinders while an exhaust header is made up of a series of individual steel tubes for each exhaust port, welded to meet at a collector to bring the exhaust gases down to a single pipeWhether people are a seasoned car person or just trying to find info on their everyday driver, it’s easy to get twisted when the technical terms start flying around. When looking at exhaust systems, a subject that often confuses people is the difference between exhaust manifolds and headers.
What’s an exhaust manifold?
An exhaust manifold is a simple car part that collects gasses from people’s car’s engine and transports them to the exhaust system. They are made of thick cast iron or stainless steel and come assembled on most standard production cars. People can break down this car part’s name into its roots to help understand what it does. It’s called an exhaust manifold because it receives fumes from multiple cylinders and folds them into one output—a tube that leads to the exhaust.
What’s a header on a car?
A header does the same thing as an exhaust manifold—it also collects gasses from the engine and delivers them to the exhaust system. Headers are made of longer, thinner steel tubing.They are typically used on high-performance cars, and they’re usually added aftermarket to maximize the engine’s power.
What’s the difference between an exhaust manifold and a header?
The structural differences between exhaust manifolds and headers are the material and size. Exhaust manifolds are made of thick iron, while headers are made of lighter, thinner steel. Headers are also longer than exhaust manifolds.Why do these two different parts exist when they do basically the same thing? The main reason they have a choice between an exhaust manifold vs header is usage requirements.Headers are used in high-performance vehicles because their size and structure decrease back pressure. This means the engine can breathe more easily, resulting in increased power. Headers and exhaust manifolds are distinctive not just in terms of performance but also in terms of how they sound. Manifolds made of cast iron are thicker and absorb more exhaust noise resulting in a much quieter cabin. However, headers absorb much less sound since they have thinner steel walls
Should I use an exhaust manifold or a header?
Exhaust manifold vs header—which one is for them? For most people, a standard exhaust manifold is the way to go. If their car isn’t a high-performance vehicle, changing out their exhaust manifold for a header isn’t going to give it a noticeable performance boost.However, if people have a performance engine and they’re into modifying their car, adding a header might give them that extra gain they’re looking for.
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