How to Tell if Your Car has Problems with the Exhaust System?

Article by Christian A., on August 7, 2018

If you think that your exhaust system is just responsible for emitting out exhaust gases from the engine, think again. The exhaust system also reduces the noise generated by the engine while helping cooling it. It also channels harmful exhaust gases from the passenger compartment. Likewise, the exhaust system “cleans” the air before they rush out of the tailpipe.

Thus, it is important to ensure that the exhaust system of your car doesn’t have any problem. Any problem could lead to the uneventful release of carbon monoxide into the cabin. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that is toxic to humans. This gas is produced due to incomplete combustion of carbon in the engine. When inhaled, carbon monoxide can kill you. This life-threatening gas is reason enough to check your exhaust system for any issue.

How can you identify issues with your car’s exhaust system?

To do this, you can try to sound out weird sounds coming from your exhaust. For instance, if you find your engine significantly noisier than usual, it is may be because the baffles – which help dampen the sound in the muffler -- have failed or are now broken.

This could also be true if you hear thumping or rattling sounds from your exhaust system: there is a problem with the baffles in your muffler. The baffles may have already started to degrade and the small pieces will rattle in the muffler while the car is moving.

The exhaust system is usually mounted up by metal and rubber brackets. When the rubber brackets wear out, the mounting may get loose and result to a thumping sound. If left untouched, the mount will fail and the exhaust pipes will fall. Thus, when you hear a loud thumping, better not ignore it.

Aside from sounding out you car, you can feel your car. For instance, if the car is seemingly not performing as good as before and it consumes more fuel, there could be a blockage in the exhaust system. In addition, if the car feels hotter than usual, the exhaust could also be blocked off.

You could also visually inspect the exhaust system under the car. For instance, try to see if the bolts - -which could get loose and fall out due to engine vibrations – are still tightly in place. In addition, the metal may develop cracks over time, thus, you could look for them during an inspection.

In addition, you should inspect the bottom of the exhaust manifold and try to see if the bolts are loose or cracks are present. The catalytic converter should also be inspected by tapping it lightly and then listen for any rattling sound as they may mean that the interior has already degraded. Likewise, you should also check for any dent or dings on the exterior of the catalytic converter.

Furthermore, you should check the muffler through light tapping. Look for any dents on the muffler or the connections. Other connections and pipes should also be checked for dents, cracks, or excessive rust. The exhaust mounts should also be checked, and try to see that rubber isn't brittle yet or falling apart.

Lastly, you can sniff out the problems in your exhaust system. Although carbon monoxide is odorless, the other gases in the exhaust system aren’t. Thus, if you smell the exhaust gases in the passenger compartment, there could be a leak in the system.

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