Your car’s exhaust system might not be the first thing you think about when it comes to engine performance or personal safety, but it should be pretty high on that list. Your engine combusts fuel and air in order to run. This creates gases that must be vented from the engine. However, many of the gases produced are pollutants and can harm the environment. Your exhaust system is designed not only to transport these gases from the engine to the muffler, but to help reduce harmful gases as well. As such, it’s vital that you keep your exhaust system in good condition. Not sure how to do that? Here are some of the most important tips.
Get the Check Engine Light checked Your Check Engine Light can come on for a number of reasons, but they’re all somehow related to your emissions system. If the light is on, there’s a problem. The on-board diagnostics (OBD) system is designed to monitor the components in your engine and exhaust system and alert you when they begin to deteriorate or break down. It can come on for very minor reasons like a loose gas cap, but it will also illuminate for engine misfires, failed oxygen sensors, and bad catalytic converters to name just a few. Get the code checked, and then repair the problem.
Repair broken components Your exhaust system requires a significant number of components in order to work correctly. Only some of these are actually part of the system itself – the rest are supplemental, but no less important. For instance, exhaust hangers are necessary to secure the pipes to the underside of your car, but they can be damaged pretty easily. When this happens, the system sags, which puts strain on other components. If you have broken hangers or snapped bolts, they should be replaced.
Fix leaks quickly Your exhaust system is subject to pressure, high heat, and lots of vibration. That’s a recipe for leading to leaks in a number of different parts. One of the first areas where leaks might develop is at the exhaust manifold. The manifold itself can crack, but it’s more common for the gasket to start to fail and begin leaking. Leaks can also develop at the juncture of the different pipes in your system, which are generally sealed with gaskets as well. Of course, the pipes themselves can fail – rust and corrosion can eat through them quickly (particularly in areas where salting the roads is common in winter, or areas close to the ocean where atmospheric salt can be a problem).
Caring for your exhaust system isn’t difficult, but it does require that you pay attention to your car and take a proactive stance.