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Warning signs your car exhaust needs replacing

calendar Published on: Wednesday, 3rd April 2019 | female icon Author: Aminta Gagnon

Your car’s exhaust is hugely important piece of kit. As well as removing spent fumes, it helps to enhance engine performance, control noise levels and even boost fuel efficiency. It’s made up of components including a catalytic converter, manifold, silencer, sensors and exhaust pipe. In order to keep functioning effectively, all of these parts have to be in working order.

Fortunately, the majority of modern exhausts are made from either stainless steel or chrome and are designed to last for the lifespan of the vehicle. However, it’s important to be aware of potential problems in case something does go wrong. With this in mind, here are seven warning signs that your exhaust may need to be repaired or replaced. So, if you have asked yourself do I need a new exhaust?' then chances are you have experienced at least one of these symptoms.

1. Roaring

The furthest part of the exhaust system from the engine, the silencer is often the component that develops problems first. This is because it remains relatively cold, giving exhaust gases a chance to condense and meaning it is prone to corrosion by acidic moisture. If you have a noisy exhaust when accelerating its a sure sign you have a problem with your silencer and the load roaring sound is evidence that it is no longer operating correctly.

2. Hissing

Another noise to be on the alert for - and one that is much less easy to detect than the roaring caused by a faulty silencer - is a hissing sound. This could reveal that there is a crack in the exhaust pipe or in the manifold, which is the part that funnels gases from multiple cylinders in to one pipe. A hissing sound could also indicate that you have a leaking gasket. The gasket is the part that seals the exhaust manifold to the cylinder head.

3. Chugging

Listen out for a chugging sound too. This suggests that there is a problem with the flow of gases travelling through your exhaust system and it may reveal that there is a blockage at some point. As with a hissing sound, this is not always easy to detect when you’re inside your vehicle.

4. Rattling

A rattling noise coming from under your car can be a sign that your exhaust system has become misaligned. A loud metallic sounding vibration generally occurs when the car exhaust pipe is loose and something is touching against it. Exhaust rattle can also mean that a supporting bracket, clamp or mounting that is used to hold your exhaust in place has come loose. When you have a loose exhaust, over time, these supporting fixtures can become fractured, corroded or can even fall off completely, resulting in extra stress to the housing. Similar to rattling is blowing. Exhaust blowing symptoms are a little more subtle than rattling but you can still tell something is wrong. Listen out for odd vibrations or even a loud purring noise that could suggest the early signs of a crack where the pipe meets the exhaust manifold.

5. Holes or Cracks

As well as audible warning signs, there are a number of visual indications that your exhaust needs attention. For example, if you can spot holes or cracks along the length of this system, you should book an appointment with a technician to get this checked out. Pay particular attention to the areas where one section means another, such as the joints between the cylinder head and the exhaust manifold. Exhaust hole repair may be possible but is usually not worthwhile as they are commonly caused by the next item on the list...

6. Rust

Keep an eye out for rust too. It’s important to be aware that external rust may not be a big problem as long as it only exists on the surface of the affected part. However, if a component is rusty from the inside due to condensation building up within the system, or if a part is rusted through, this can be a cause for concern. You can test for exhaust rust by gently prodding rusted areas. If you detect weakness in the structural integrity or you create a hole, this is a clear sign that this part of your exhaust should be replaced.

Your car may be more prone to this sort of damage if you tend to use it for short local trips rather than long journeys. This is because on short drives, your vehicle’s engine doesn’t reach a high enough temperature to burn off the water that is accumulated.

7. Reduced fuel efficiency

Most people don’t connect fuel efficiency with the condition of their exhaust systems, but in fact the two things are sometimes linked. So, if you notice that you are burning more fuel than you did previously to make the same distance, this could suggest there is an issue with your exhaust. This is because lower fuel efficiency can be caused by a leak within this system. A leak reduces the system’s ability to convey fumes, meaning your engine operates at a higher temperature and you therefore need to burn more fuel.

Of course, there are a variety of other reasons why your car may be working less efficiently than it used to, but it’s handy to know that your exhaust can be a potential factor.

To reduce the risk of problems like these arising, it’s important to make sure you service your car regularly and keep it well maintained. Meanwhile, if you think you’ve spotted one of these warning signs, or another issue related to your exhaust, it’s essential that you get your vehicle checked out by a technician. Ignoring possible problems can lead to more extensive damage and therefore end up costing you much more to fix in the long term.

At Tyre City, we’re experts in car exhausts and can carry out a free inspection of your car to identify the cause of any issues and the best ways to address them. To discover more about this service, simply contact your local centre and speak to our friendly and helpful team. Alternatively, you can call in at a time that’s convenient to you.