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Know Your Exhaust System

Tips - 20 September 2019

An exhaust system is a complex component of a vehicle that begins at the engine combustion chambers and runs along the undercarriage. The only visible part of the system is the tailpipe at the back of the vehicle, as the image from clearmechanic.com illustrates.

Illustration of the components of a vehicle’s exhaust system courtesy of ClearMechanic.com

What is the Purpose of the Exhausts System?

The combustion of fuel in the engine produce a variety of gases, some of which are toxic. The exhaust system is designed to channel away fumes, reduce engine noise, and at the same time maintain fuel efficiency. A leak in the exhaust will cause your car to emit more fumes and use more fuel.

What Causes Exhausts to Wear?

Today’s exhausts are made from corrosion-resistant stainless or aluminised steel and designed to last a long time. In the past, some of the internal components were generally made from lead, which corroded easily through constant heating and cooling and especially when exposed to moisture and salt.  

Exhaust hangers, clamps, and brackets are produced in varying combinations of synthetic rubber and steel so also don’t corrode as easily as in the past.

Symptoms of a Worn Exhaust

While exhaust pipes may last longer, manifolds are subjected to intense heat which causes them to crack or leak. For the same reason gaskets expand and contract, and due to normal wear and tear can be subjected to leaks.

Watch out for:

  • A decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency
  • Loud clunking or hissing sounds emanating from the exhaust
  • Raw gasoline smells. (Note: Carbon monoxide gas has no odour and is deadly.)
  • Loud rumbling noises from the vehicle while driving
  • Vibrations from the accelerator pedal
  • A hanging or dragging exhaust pipe

What to do About a Damaged Exhaust

An exhaust leak affects your entire vehicle’s exhaust system which can cause even more damage and expense. It can also be major safety hazard, because the carbon monoxide fumes could leak into the cabin of your car without you realising it.

A professional mechanic will use the right equipment to determine the cause of the symptoms experienced. Maintain a healthy exhaust with periodic services or enquire which Supa Quick branch near you offers an exhaust inspection as part of their free vehicle safety check.

Supa Quick vehicle inpection

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. The views expressed here are not that of Supa Quick. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on this site is at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the content on this site.

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