An exhaust on a car

How to Diagnose Problems with Your Exhaust

02 June 2015, 10:31

Exhausts are tricky things and can often cost a lot of money to replace. But, as a general rule, fixing a problem with your exhaust when it first appears is much less expensive than waiting for the broken exhaust to cause further problems elsewhere in the engine.

The exhaust is a vital part of the car’s internal workings. It doesn’t just dampen the noise of your engine, it also makes sure that the fumes generated from burning petrol are kept well away from the passenger cabin. More so, it ensures the smooth running of the engine, maintains maximum fuel efficiency and reduces the quantity of harmful emissions generated by the vehicle. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that the exhaust is in full working order, as problems here can have a huge impact on other working parts.

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Here are some things to look out for which might be clear cut signs that you have a problem with your exhaust which needs attention.

Engine noise

One of the easiest signs to spot which will tell you that the exhaust needs repair is a loud rumbling noise coming from the engine. If the noise your engine makes changes dramatically then you should always take your car in to be inspected by a professional as this is almost always a sure sign of a serious internal problem. One of the easiest ways to measure whether your engine has got louder is to check the radio settings. If you find that you have to consistently listen to your car’s stereo at a louder volume, then this is worth noting. It could mean that the volume of your engine has increased due to a serious problem with the exhaust.

Rattling noise

If you hear a persistent rattling noise coming from the exhaust area when the engine is running, this is a good indicator that your catalytic converter is failing. This is one of the most expensive components of the exhaust system and is often a target for thieves. If you hear the rattling then it is definitely still in position, but it will need replacing almost immediately.

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If you feel vibrations when you use the pedals which are new or stronger than usual, this could be an indicator that there is a leak somewhere in the exhaust system. If the hole is large then you might also hear a low rumbling noise whenever the engine is switched on. Look out for pools of fluid underneath the car and take your car in to be seen by a professional as soon as you can.

Visual checks

Some problems are very easy to spot simply by looking at your exhaust pipe. Heavily rusted and split exhausts are easy to see from the outside. These problems can be just as serious as any of the internal problems which can affect your exhaust and should be given the same amount of attention. If you see that your exhaust has become heavily rusted then there are steps which you can take to try and clean off the majority of the rust. If you see that you have a hole in your exhaust or if the pipe is split then you should either repair the pipe yourself or take your vehicle into a garage to be repaired by a professional.


Fuel efficiency

If you suddenly find that you are having to fill up with petrol more often than usual, and you haven’t changed your driving habits, it may well be that you have a problem with your exhaust system. If your exhaust is leaking then your engine will have to work harder in order to perform as well. This will cause the fuel consumption to increase. If you notice that any of these changes in the performance of your car then it is advisable to take your car in to be inspected by a professional mechanic. The problem might not be to do with your exhaust, but any of the changes listed above tend to be indicators that there is something wrong with your engine which requires immediate attention and repair.

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