Last Updated on
Your car’s exhaust system is responsible for emitting exhaust fumes away from your car’s engine and compartment. When it is in good condition, it converts toxic fumes to cleaner fumes. It emits less noise from engines. However, Exhaust leaks may lead to very serious problems.
How do you know if you have an exhaust leak? You will notice the signs of exhaust leaks, It is good for you to find and fix an exhaust leak in your car.
The exhaust system is the hottest part of a vehicle. When the combustion process from the engine takes place, the exhaust valves open. These valves make way for exhaust gases and sound waves in the exhaust system. The gases formed into vapors are carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and hydrocarbons. These gases are extremely harmful and turn the manifold extremely hot. The manifold could hold a temperature of up to 1,200 °C.
The manifold is the part of the exhaust system that gathers these fumes with its four-cylinder pipes. Pipes will break down the four cylinders into two for even distribution of the hot gases. The temperature decreases as the fumes flow on the pipes. The temperature decreases to 700 to 800 °C. A single pipe connected to the two exhaust pipes gathers the exhaust fumes.
Joints connect these tubes, sealed by gaskets, to prevent exhaust fumes from escaping. These pipes connect to the catalytic converter. The converter turns the fumes to less harmful vapors. By this time, the gases become oxygen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen.
There are oxygen sensors placed in the manifold and this pipe. These oxygen sensors detect the amount of oxygen on the first sensor and the 2nd sensor.
Both the sound waves and exhaust vapors will travel to another pipe. When the second sensor detects an unreduced amount of oxygen, it will turn the check engine light on. That means that the converter has a problem.
The pipe after the converter will lead to the muffler. The muffler will now reduce the impact of sound waves to make less emission noise. Reduced noise and less harmful gases will travel to the tailpipe out to the air stream. A quiet emission is a sign that your exhaust system is in good condition.
Now you’re on the quest of spotting the leak in your exhaust system. The first thing to do is to listen to the noise. Find out where the noise comes from.
You will need a high jack, a jack stand, gloves, and paper in inspecting your exhaust system. Lift your car securely, start the engine, and listen. If you still can’t find it, run your fingers through the pipes and locate the part where fumes are blowing.
Exhaust leaks are indications that you have a faulty exhaust system. When there are holes and cracks on any part of the system, the exhaust fumes will escape from the system. Exhaust leaks are dangerous.
Exhaust leaks may lead to the following problems:
The gases, when they come from manifold leaks, are blending toxic gases in their purest form.
These gases flow through your air conditioning system. Inhaling too much of these gases leads to heavy breathing, and worst, gas intoxication.
Exhaust leaks will require your engine to work more. An engine that works harder needs additional fuel consumption.
Pressure from the exhaust system defines your engine’s performance. A leak in the exhaust system leads to rumbling and vibrations when you start or accelerate your engine. Sometimes, the engine will fail to start at all.
The engine light indicator will turn on when there are exhaust leaks. When this light turns on, your catalytic converter can be failing. As you know, when this light turns on, you have to think twice if it’s still safe to drive.
You won’t pass emission tests when you have exhaust leaks. For one, the laws, in coordination with EPA, require every vehicle to emit clean air.
You’ll experience rumbling in your bumper when you start your engine or try to accelerate your engine.
Exhaust leak sounds when accelerating vary from whistling, puffing, to ticking sounds.
You barely hear noises from your exhaust system when it’s moving. You may notice it when you constantly have low fuel levels.
A rattling noise, along with vibrations, comes after you start the engine. The leak may come from a gasket connecting the manifold and engine block.
One exhaust manifold leak symptom is when fumes start to get through the compartment. You’ll inhale fumes. The HVAC system sucks them up. These fumes compress inside the cabin.
Fix small holes or cracks with exhaust tapes and epoxy
You may need lubrication to perform this.
Let the pipes cool down.
Protect your eyes!
Keep away from ignition sources!
Let the manifold cool down.
If you are not confident in welding, let the experts handle this!
These are a few ways on how to find and fix an exhaust leak in your car. With accurate diagnosis, you can run your car smoothly without the noise and exhaust leaks.
James is a certified auto technician specializing in commercial vehicles. With 30 years of experience under his belt, James has encountered almost every type of automotive issue there is! Besides his day job at the repair shop, he is also an amateur race car driver.