Your exhaust does several jobs in your vehicle including keeping your car quiet, helping your engine run properly, maintaining fuel efficiency, keeping fumes out of the cabin and reducing your emissions.
Therefore, it is important for the sake of both the upkeep of your car and your own safety that you keep your car's exhaust in good condition. To do this, you need to be able to notice when things are going wrong with your car's exhaust and how to fix it.
Listen for any strange noises
If you start to hear a deep or loud rumbling sound coming from your car then this is a sign that something is going wrong with your car's exhaust. You should take your car to a technician and get this sorted as soon as possible.
It suggests that there could be an exhaust leak or a problem with such parts as the catalytic converter, which is necessary for reducing your car's impact on the environment and for keeping fumes out of the cabin. So there is a safety element to getting this issue fixed but there's also the fact that the longer you leave it then the more damage is likely to be done and the more it will cost to fix.
Is it a roaring noise?
Roaring noises are also a sign of things going wrong and chances are the first bit to go will be the silencer. This is because the silencer is the component of the exhaust system most likely to be corroded by acid as it is the part furthest from the engine. Therefore, it stays relatively cold, allowing gases to condense and form a pool of corrosive acid.
Can you hear hissing noises?
Hissing noises suggest that there is a crack in the exhaust pipe, exhaust manifold or that there is a leaking gasket. Chugging noises are also a sign of exhaust problems, in this case it could be a blockage in the exhaust system. You may hear a rattling sound under your car if your exhaust has become misaligned.
A loud metallic vibration?
The sound of a loud metallic vibration can be a sign that there is something touching the exhaust pipe that shouldn't be or that a clamp, support bracket or mounting has got loose.
If your catalytic converter is going wrong then you will hear what sounds like a shaking box of rocks when your vehicle is stopped in traffic. Catalytic converters are also popular with scrap metal thieves, particularly on larger vehicles such as SUVs. If yours gets stolen then you will hear a loud noise on start up.
Another sign that your catalytic converter has gone is if you notice a difference in your vehicle's performance on start up.
If you find that your car is suffering a loss of power then this may be a sign that your exhaust is leaking.
If there's a leak you may feel vibrations
You may notice unusual vibrations when you touch your steering wheel, foot pedals or car seat when you have an exhaust leak. It could also be a sign of a hole in your exhaust or that the exhaust system is disconnected. What's more, vibrations could be a sign of a problem with your engine and suggest that it is no longer running at optimum performance.
Lower fuel efficiency
Your fuel gauge - and how quickly it goes down - could be a good indicator of the condition that your exhaust is in. If you find that you need to fill up on petrol or diesel more often than usual then this could be a sign that there is a problem with your exhaust, or certainly some kind of issue with your car. Exhaust leaks mean that your engine needs to work harder and this will then mean that you need to use more fuel.