In need of an Exhaust Repair Service?
A lot goes on behind the scenes to ensure the smooth sailing of a vehicle on the road. One such system is the exhaust system.
Let’s see what part this plays in a car and some common issues that could arise here.
It’s common to see people who believe a car’s exhaust system only consists of the tailpipe sticking out from the back of the car. However, it goes way beyond that. It’s a collection of parts that are built to direct harmful gases away from the driver and passengers. It goes on to reduce the emissions released from the vehicle to the environment. Another important aspect of this system is that it reduces the amount of noise a vehicle makes during combustion.
Parts of an exhaust system
1. Exhaust manifold
This bears a direct connection to the engine of the car. It collects the combustion gases from the engine’s cylinders to a single pipe.
2. Oxygen sensors
This tells you how much oxygen is in the exhaust. To maximize the performance and fuel economy of your car, this system uses the amount of oxygen it gets to run some numbers and deduce the correct mixture.
3. Catalytic converter
Placed strategically between the manifold and the muffler, this uses a combination of heat and metals (catalyst) to produce water vapor and carbon dioxide from the reaction of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.
4. The resonator
This is an echo chamber where energy is bounced around to consumers. It also works to improve exhaust flow.
5. The muffler
As the name implies, it reduces the sound produced by the engine and also maximizes exhaust gas flow.
6. The tailpipe
This is the last part of the exhaust system that juts out from under the rear bumper and can direct exhaust gases away from the vehicle.
How does an exhaust system work?
It begins in the engine with internal combustion. This draws fuel into the combustion chamber where it mixes with air to spark the plug, resulting in a small explosion. This explosion ultimately causes the transmission of power to the vehicle.
This process results in the production of six gaseous emissions. Three of these are toxic, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitrogen monoxide. As soon as they exit the engine combustion chamber, the exhaust system gets to work.
First, the exhaust manifold collects the spent fuel as the exhaust. This is sent via the tailpipe to the catalytic converter which reduces the number of toxic pollutants in it. Of course, the mufflers make this process much quieter than it would have been.
Common exhaust system problems
With the amount of work they do, it’s no surprise this system breaks down occasionally. Unfortunately, some people figure that as long as the vehicle is moving, they are fine to keep driving. Bad idea! Remember that carbon monoxide is an odorless gas; if the vehicle is creating it and unable to send it away from the vehicle, it could be potentially deadly to people close by.
Here's a few signs that will let you know when it's time to get the exhaust system of your car checked out
1. Unnecessarily loud noise
This doesn’t need any special equipment to notice. It will give off a very loud sound, especially when you try to start the engine or accelerate. It could also be a whining sound when idling. This typically indicates a problem with the muffler.
2. Vibrating gas pedal
It can get a bit rocky behind the wheel when exhaust fumes are not being emitted properly. Often, the exhaust system is to blame for this.
3. Decreased fuel economy
Remember that part of the exhaust system that runs some numbers and saves fuel – the oxygen sensor? An issue with this can result in about a 40% drop in fuel economy.
4. Decreased power and acceleration
Problems with an exhaust system such as an exhaust leak translate to engine problems as well. Here, you’ll be unable to accelerate quickly, and when you do, the power is much less.
5. Burning smell
An exhaust leak or a faulty gasket close to engine wiring or plastic components could lead to the burning of these parts. This results in a burning smell. Get it checked out before it gets out of hand.
6. Smell of gas
When you begin to perceive the smell of gas in your car, think about exhaust problems. This could be caused by an exhaust leak that allows gasoline fumes to escape.
7. Hanging exhaust pipe
This is not just dangerous and noisy but also it’s a potential hazard to other drivers if it falls off in the middle of the road.
These are all pretty obvious signs of exhaust issues. Once any of them crops up, don’t hesitate to take the car to an auto repair expert.
How to reduce polluting emissions
An exhaust system does its best to reduce these emissions, however, there’s still the release of gases that cause air pollution from the vehicle. The easiest thing you can do to reduce this is to burn fuel cleaner.
To do this:
- Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained
- Keep your tires inflated
- Drive less
- Avoid idling
- Go for a low emission vehicle
Common questions relating to a car's exhaust system
Your car will still move and you can probably drive it, but you should not do drive. This can allow dangerous gases to get into the cabin of the car. It can also cause a fire.
This depends on various factors such as driving style and the exhaust, but it’s usually about 8 years.
From pieces potentially falling off and harming other drivers to unknowingly releasing carbon monoxide, it is dangerous to do drive with a broken exhaust system.
Take it to an auto repair shop with qualified staff.
Yes, it does, particularly when accelerating from zero. It’s usually caused by an exhaust leak from a broken pipe that results in lots of backpressure.
This sounds like a loud purring noise. It could also be a very loud hissing or tapping sound.
In case of any issues with your car’s exhaust system, contact us at TLC Auto & Truck Repair. We’re a certified auto repair center and we offer exhaust services for vehicles of all kinds. With almost 30 years of service, you can rest assured that your vehicle will be in the best hands.