Your browser does not support video
The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most auto owners realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That’s why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so critical. We can help you with that at in .
The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.
One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it, and you will die.
To keep this gas, and others, from entering your passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at for cracks and to check if they have come loose.
The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.
The catalytic converter is the next component in your exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You’ll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn’t require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.
The muffler’s job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter’s. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most auto owners don’t realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in with a sassy rumble.
Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn’t mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.
The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your engine running smoothly and maintains good gas mileage. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.
The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the , but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn’t. If you don’t inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.
You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your owner’s manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as in .
Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it’s good health advice for all drivers and their families.