The Important Things to Know About Your Car Exhaust System

The state of a car’s exhaust system is of utmost importance, and it determines the overall performance of the vehicle. The exhaust system comprises several parts, and each needs to be in the proper condition before functioning appropriately.

Over the years, there have been several online pieces of information about car components, including analytical sports news portals. In this article, we shall discuss the basic functions of the exhaust system, how they work, and the signs you should watch out for. More so, the common problems that are associated with a car exhaust system. These problems include exhaust leaks, vibrations, faulty oxygen sensors, exhaust smoke, broken hangers, and engine noise. 

What Exhaust System Does

Firstly, the exhaust system helps to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Hence, the exhaust fumes that escape from your car are stored in the exhaust system. It also reduces the release of emissions into the atmosphere and helps manage the toxicity of the global system. More so, it reduces the loud sound that may be released from the engine. In general, it prevents air pollution and noise pollution caused by a vehicle into the environment.

How Exhaust System Works

There are four major parts of the exhaust system responsible for its operations. They are; catalytic converter, pipes, exhaust manifold, and muffler. The exhaust manifold is the first contact with the engine, and it starts the exhaust collection process. The second phase is the catalytic converter, where the combustion of fuel happens. The exhaust then filters from the tailpipe through the muffler. The muffler is also responsible for reducing fuel noise caused by the exhaust in the engine.

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Other functioning parts of the exhaust system are oxygen sensors and hangers. Hanger joints hold the whole system parts together, and the oxygen sensor is responsible for alerting the computer if the exhaust does not have enough oxygen as required.

Common Problems of Exhaust Systems

Common signs that your exhaust system is already developing problems are fuel inefficiency or sudden car acceleration changes. Also, when the car noise suddenly increases while on acceleration, it may signify the muffler is beginning to wear out. It is good to take out your vehicle for regular inspection, but here are other common problems you should also look out for.

1. Rusting

Once the exhaust system starts to rust, it eventually leads to leakage. This is the basis of many other problems associated with the exhaust system. If you travel with your vehicle often to cover short distances, your exhaust system will likely rust because the water vapor collected in the design does not have enough time to burn off. Due to the condensation reaction from the residual heat, it will lead to corrosion. Ensure to check your vehicle regularly for any sign of rust.

2. Vibrations

Once the exhaust system needs a repair service, the steering wheel will continually move in a vibrated motion. If the damage is already worse, you may begin to see the whole vehicle vibrate. This is a dangerous sign, as it may cause anxiety while on the road, which may in turn cause accidents. More so, consider the safety of passengers and people that may be affected while on the road. 

3. Exhaust Smoke

Exhaust smoke is something many drivers ignore until it escalates. This is not a good response to car maintenance, and you should watch out for blue smoke, black smoke, white smoke, gray smoke, or any other odd color. Several dysfunctions that may contribute to exhaust smoke are:

  • Valve seal, piston rings, PCV system, valve guides, or worn cylinder walls combustion.
  • Excessive fuel burning, clogged air filter, or clogged fuel injector.
  • The engine block, combustion chamber burning, or cracks in the head gasket.

4. Exhaust Leak

Once the exhaust starts leaking, it is often accompanied by noise from the engine. Leaks are usually found in exhaust system joints such as the manifold. When the manifold joint leaks, it will result in the emission of toxic fumes into the passenger’s cabin, alongside the loud noise that emanates from it.

Some people do not pay attention to vehicle noise, but this is a potential risk that needs a quick repair. Visit technicians in your area for repair, especially if you are not a mechanic expert.

5. Oxygen Sensor in Bad Shape

As mentioned earlier, the oxygen sensor is responsible for identifying the oxygen rate of the exhaust system. The new vehicle models are usually built with multiple oxygen sensors, and none of them must be broken. Damage from any of them could mess up the whole system. 

A damaged oxygen sensor will lead to poor air mixture in the car or clogging of the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is also an important function in an exhaust system, so you need to put your oxygen sensor in check constantly.

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6. Damaged Hangers

Hangers are the tools that hold your exhaust system together and prevent it from falling off whenever you hit an object or a bump. Hence, when it is damaged, the exhaust system parts are at risk of falling loosely. Also, since the pipes move around freely, they can cause cracks or dents to some other parts of the exhaust system. Hence, you need to ensure no part of the hanger is missing. It is likened to the bolts tightened to disseminate furniture. Once a part is let loose, it cannot serve its function appropriately.


It is high time we stopped overlooking our car exhaust system and paid attention to little details. The information above will provide insight on when to request a repair service and the parts that need regular check-ups. Whether you have observed a major problem or not, ensure to normalise a routine check-up every year. To reduce your consultation and service fee, you can continually use the same technician. Also, this will allow you to be accountable to a professional whenever anything goes wrong with your car. By doing so, you can ride your car with peace of mind and convenience.

About the author: Cory Weinberg

"Student. Subtly charming organizer. Certified music advocate. Writer. Lifelong troublemaker. Twitter lover."

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