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Why a properly Functioning Exhaust System is Essential

  • Exhausts

We’re all familiar with the spluttering, rattling, tapping, and banging noises of a car as it chugs its merry way along the road.  Or the raspy, throaty sounds of a modified exhaust that makes sure everyone within its range notices its presence. While the latter is intentional purely for sound effect, the former indicates a malfunctioning exhaust system.

Two mechanics working on a car’s exhaust system

What’s the purpose of an exhaust?

1. Deals with harmful emissions

Besides noise pollution, transportation is a major polluter of air. Car engines produce toxic gases such as monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitrogen monoxide.

The function of the exhaust system is to direct these waste gases away from the engine. If these gases are allowed to build up in the engine compartment, you’ll have more than one problem on your hands:

  • Serious deterioration in the engine compartment
  • Poisonous gases seeping into the passenger cabin

2. Reduces vehicle pollution

Besides noisy exhausts, we’re also familiar with the black smoke from a car that can get so thick and dense it obstructs your view. The exhaust is designed to reduce the amount of air pollution produced by your car by making the expelled fumes cleaner.

The rate of privately-owned vehicles on the road in South Africa has increased and may be responsible for up to 95% of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, especially in urban areas. In fact, it was found that the brown haze clouding over Cape Town during the winter months is the result of vehicle emissions from heavy traffic conditions.

3. Minimises noise

For some car lovers, the deep throaty sound of an exhaust at startup is music to their ears. An exhaust has three functions, and ironically, one of them is to allow a vehicle to operate with minimalnoise.

Each exhaust component has its function

The four main components of the exhaust system work in unison to reduce noise and air pollution.

  1. Exhaust manifold – Expels exhaust fumes away from the engine.
  2. Catalytic converter – Burns off and removes toxins.
  3. Muffler – Minimises noise.
  4. Pipes – Connects all the exhaust components and conducts fumes out of the tail pipe.


Mostly invisible and positioned underneath a car, an exhaust system tends to be forgotten or ignored. On one hand this is a good sign because it means your exhaust is quiet and not emitting foul-smelling substances!

On the other hand, if you experience symptoms like vibration, loss of power, flashing engine lights, or an increase in fuel consumption, don’t disregard your exhaust. Have it checked at your nearest Supa Quick*. As with all the parts and components we stock, our exhausts come with a 18- or 60-month guarantee, depending on the type of exhaust you choose.

*Available at selected dealerships

Disclaimer: This content is for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of the content.


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