There is no doubt that pulling more air into the engine will make it more efficient, which is why many people purchase aftermarket auto parts such as headers along with cold air intake systems, conical air filters and even cat-back exhaust systems to increase the overall air flow into and out of the engine. Of these systems, headers are the most difficult to have installed so it is important to fully understand what they do so you know if they are best for your vehicle.

What are Headers?

Basically, headers replace the standard exhaust manifolds which are located between the cylinders heads and the front exhaust pipes. They are individual tubes, one for every exhaust port and they are pulled together into a collector. Because the standard exhaust manifolds are usually inefficient, headers commonly take their place.

However, each vehicle has its own set of exhaust manifolds that range from poor to good and headers may not be needed. It may very well be that the problem lies down the line in terms your exhaust system, so you will want to install a more free flowing muffler and larger, mandrel bent pipes to help the flow of air away from your engine through the exhaust system.

Where Headers should be Installed

Basically, if your vehicle has the long, cast-iron “log” type of exhaust manifolds, then headers are the most beneficial to add. Log-type manifolds are essentially just a big tube that is connected to the exhaust ports. While it takes up less space, it doesn’t really improve the overall performance of the engine itself. This is because all the exhaust goes into the same space rather quickly which helps to restrict the airflow. A proper header will provide a separate tube for each exhaust port and allow the air to flow unobstructed which creates better flow.

However, your exhaust manifold just might have individual tubes for each exhaust port which are usually found on higher performing vehicles. These types of cars generally do not need headers as they are in-essence already installed and the difference new ones would make is minimal. You would be better off improving the rest of the air-flow system in your vehicle instead which would be cheaper and easier to install.

Headers are generally made from steel or stainless steel and may include a ceramic coating as well. A ceramic coating is important to keep the steel from rusting or the stainless steel from turning blue at the head flange.

A good quality set of headers will have a large head flange designed to protect against exhaust leaks and long tube are preferable to short ones in terms of maximizing performance. When the right headers are installed correctly, you may even see greater fuel economy as well.

You can find many aftermarket auto parts such as headers and other car accessories for your vehicle which will improve the overall performance and even lighten the weight of your car or truck. In particular, carbon fiber auto parts such as bumpers, grilles, spoilers, and hood and trunk lids along with custom modifications or mods will help create a lighter, easier to control and more fuel-efficient vehicle.