How to Identify the Most Common Exhaust Problems
The exhaust system is an essential part of the running of any vehicle and also plays a safety function by directing all the exhaust fumes away from the car. It makes sure that all of the harmful emissions and particles are removed, improves the fuel economy of the vehicle and reduces the noise produced by the engine. If a car starts to experience exhaust problems it is vital that these are identified and dealt with quickly. This article highlights some of the more commonly experienced exhaust problems and how you can recognise them:
The Engine is Really Noisy
If you find your engine is becoming overly noisy you probably have an exhaust problem. The sound of a faulty manifold gasket is like a hissing or a tapping sound. When you start the car from cold the sound will be at its loudest and it will also increase when you accelerate.
A Fall in Power and Acceleration
You will find that an exhaust problem soon begins to affect performance. Your car will be more sluggish with slower acceleration from stationary and a lack of general power when changing speed. If you don’t have the exhaust leak mended the problem will just continue to get worse.
Reduced Fuel Efficiency
The fuel efficiency of a vehicle will go down as the problem of loss of power and acceleration gets worse. The car has to work harder and harder to maintain the same level of function and to run as it does when it has no exhaust problems. You will find that you will use more fuel and this will increase until you fix the problem. Although you may consider the cost of replacing the exhaust to be high, the cost of the extra fuel will outstrip this over time.
Exhaust systems are made from metal parts and so one of the most common causes of exhaust problems is rust. The materials used and the fact that the system is close to the ground where it is exposed to moisture and gritty conditions means it is particularly vulnerable. Once rust takes hold in the system it leads to more and more damage and the formation of holes and cracks. You can easily see rust problems on the exhaust with a simple visual inspection but if the rust is severe enough to cause holes you will start to hear loud roaring engine noise or hissing as gas escapes. This will definitely need professional attention.
Smell of Burning from the Engine
If you start to smell burning it is likely that the gasket has failed and is starting to leak near engine parts or wiring. Anything that is made of plastic is likely to burn because of the heat of the exhaust gases and this is what causes the smell. You may also see smoke. You should get the system checked as soon as you smell burning as this poses a serious safety risk.
Parts will loosen or wear out over time. This is normal and is caused by rust, knocks from the road or just simple wear and tear. Most issues with loose parts are cheap and easy to sort out but if the loose part is inside the system and hard to find it may be that a replacement is needed.
Something quite small can sound really alarming and if you notice this issue it is likely that something is loose inside. It could be that the system is misaligned. Just take your car into the garage and have it checked.
Normal Wear and Tear
Just like any other part of the car the exhaust system is not exempt from the effects of wear and tear. In fact, for all of the other problems we have discussed, wear and tear can be a contributing factor. There are parts of the exhaust system that are more susceptible such as the exhaust manifold and the oxygen sensors.
- Exhaust Manifold – this is the part of the exhaust system that is responsible for removing noxious gases from the engine and if it is damaged these gases can enter the body of the car and affect the driver and passengers. Hissing noises can be a sign that this part needs replacement and must be dealt with quickly.
- Oxygen Sensors – these measure the amount of oxygen present in the system and work on adjusting the ratio of air to fuel to maintain fuel economy. If they start to fail these readings are not accurate and fuel consumption increases and you should take the car in to the garage to have them replaced.
Blockages occur from time to time and have many different causes. It could be that there is a soot/carbon build up inside or that debris has entered the pipe. Often a minor blockage will just be spontaneously expelled but if the obstruction is large it can lead to poor function.
Unless you have a big blockage the signs can be hard to spot. Chugging noises can mean that something is in the system. If the blockage is large the car will run sluggishly and strain as if you are in too high a gear. You will experience increased revs and a drop in fuel economy.
If there is a smell of sulphur and/or the engine is getting hot it could be that the catalytic converter is blocked and gases are trapped in the system.
If you think you may have a blockage in the exhaust system you should take your car into a garage straight away. A professional will be able to assess the car and give it a thorough inspection in order to identify and repair any problems.
Here at VolksMaster our highly skilled, qualified team can provide the highest quality of car repairs and services. We will give you reliable advice to help you make well-informed decisions about your car maintenance and repair needs. All our work is carried out with safety and efficiency in mind.