COMMON EXHAUST PROBLEMS AND HOW TO SPOT THEM

Your car’s exhaust system is a series of tubes and chambers designed to move gas away from the engine and reduce the noise that it makes.
Your car exhaust emissions system is crucial for your car to operate safely. There are six gases produced by the basic function of your car’s engine: nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons. The exhaust system collects these noxious gases, removes the hazardous elements of these gases before safely distributing them out of the car and into the outside atmosphere.

If your car exhaust system fails, these dangerous fumes could enter the vehicle cabin, polluting the air that you and your passengers breathe, causing damage to your health. Failure of your exhaust system can also lead to the harmful elements of the fumes not being filtered out before being released into the atmosphere, exposing the surrounding air and those breathing it to these gases.

Current regulations state that the police can warrant the removal of any vehicle from the roads on the suspicion that it is producing excessive amounts of pollutant gases from the exhaust.

A healthy car exhaust system, alongside rerouting engine fumes, will also provide:

– Optimum fuel efficiency
– Improved engine performance
– Noise control and quieter running

Below we have listed the most common exhaust problems and how you can spot these:

Rust
There’s no enemy quite as dangerous for the exhaust system as rust. Taking short trips frequently lets water vapor collect in the exhaust system, but it never gets hot enough to burn off. Gradually this condensation will turn to rust and corrode your exhaust from the inside out.
For rust and corrosion, you’ll be able to see external rust immediately. However, it isn’t always as serious as it first appears, as it may only be on the surface. However, if the component has rusted through or is rusted from the inside (due to internal condensation build-up) it may be a cause for concern. Use a screwdriver to gently prod rusty areas; if the structural integrity feels weak or a hole is formed, it is a sure sign that you’ll need an exhaust replacement, at least for this section,

Faulty oxygen sensor
Despite many of today’s cars having numerous oxygen sensors, a malfunction in just one can be enough to confuse the computer. If your oxygen sensor becomes faulty, the engine’s computer can’t create the correctly balanced air-fuel mixture. This could lead to a mixture that’s low on air and high on gas, a blend that’s hotter than intended and may cause a clog in your catalytic converter.

Exhaust leaks
Rough road conditions are difficult for many vehicles to handle. If you regularly drive on rough roads, your exhaust system may not last as long as it normally would. The bumps, holes, and shaking that happen while you drive in these conditions can lead to weak areas, like joints, to crack and leak poisonous fumes into the passenger cabin. That is a serious issue that you need to get repaired immediately.

Clogged muffler
Another problem that arises from frequent rough road conditions is a clogged muffler. While driving on bumpy roads, small internal parts can come loose, leading to a clogged muffler.

Broken hangers
Hangers are the handy little parts that are meant to protect your exhaust system from banging around when you hit a bump. However, they aren’t invincible. Once the hanger breaks and falls off, all the exhaust pipes become free to move around. Their movement may lead to dents, cracks and, in some cases, entire pieces of the exhaust system to break off.

Vibrations
Strange vibrations coming from your steering wheel or gas pedal are pretty good signs that your exhaust system is in need of repair. If it’s bad enough, your whole car may be shaking. These vibrations pose a real threat to not only your car’s health but also your own because they can alter your ability to control the vehicle with precision.

Increased engine noise
Listen out for unusual sounds coming from your exhaust system. A noisy exhaust or an exhaust that is making strange sounds is a sure way to detect a problem as well as indicate potential damage.
The silencer is the part of the exhaust that usually needs attention first due to its tendency to become corroded by acidic moisture. If you have a problem with your silencer, you’ll be able to hear it as your exhaust will begin to make a loud roaring noise.
Other noises to listen out for include hissing, chugging, loud metallic vibrations and rattling, with each of these noises being linked to a different issue. Hissing noises typically indicate a crack in the exhaust manifold, exhaust pipe or a leaking gasket, while the presence of a chugging noise coming from your exhaust could mean a blockage in the exhaust system.

Exhaust smoke
Your exhaust might not be the problem. Should your exhaust begin to produce smoke, this typically isn’t a sign of a problem with the exhaust but rather an issue with the engine.
Black exhaust smoke means that your engine is burning fuel too quickly, if this occurs check your air filter, fuel injectors and the fuel pressure regulator. On the other hand, if you see white smoke coming from the exhaust, it may be nothing to worry about as it could simply be a build-up of condensation in the exhaust system.
However, if the exhaust continuously emits white smoke, this suggests your engine is burning coolant and you may have a problem with your cylinder head or have a cracked head gasket. You’ll be able to spot if coolant is leaking into your engine oil as it will appear discoloured and creamy.

If you have any concerns about your exhaust, drop in to Roadwheel or give us a call and we’d be more than happy to have a look.

We supply and fit exhausts and catalytic converters from the three major replacement manufacturers (Timax, Walker and Bosal). We can also supply stainless steel systems to order. We carry approximately 500 exhaust parts and the popular catalytic converters in stock, but we can obtain virtually any part within one hour.

It is our policy to supply only the parts that a customer requires and we are happy to separate and fit individual components as necessary. All parts carry a minimum 2 year warranty.

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