Here's how a split exhaust on a car is fixed

How to Repair a Split Exhaust

02 June 2015, 12:44

Your car’s exhaust system is a vital working part of the vehicle. It is important that the internal components are maintained in good, working condition, but the pipe itself also plays a crucial role in the running of your car.

It is also the easiest part of the exhaust system to monitor regularly and to inspect for serious damage. If the exhaust pipe gets overly rusted then it can become prone to splitting or developing holes. It is much easier to take preventative measures to keep your exhaust pipe from becoming so rusted that it splits, but if this does happen, it is also the most simple part of the exhaust to repair on your own without taking your car to be seen by a professional.

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Laid out below are the steps which you will need to follow in order to successfully repair your own split exhaust pipe.

Decide which kit to buy

There are several different ways in which you can repair a hole in your exhaust pipe, but the most common choices available are exhaust repair tape and exhaust repair putty. The only main difference between the two methods is the length of time that you will have to leave them before you can start driving again.

The tape is an almost instant fix. Once you have applied it properly you will only need to leave your engine idle for about 5 minutes before you are ready to drive again. With the putty, you will need to allow 24 hours for it to dry after application. If you need a speedy repair so that you can get back behind the wheel, the tape is probably your best bet.

Locate the hole

Whether you are using putty or tape, you will need to find the hole before you can repair it. If the hole is located well underneath the car then you will probably need to jack up the vehicle or drive it up onto a ramp to allow you proper access. It is worth doing this even if the hole is within easy reach as chances are that if one part of the exhaust pipe is weak enough to break, other parts may wear out at the same time too.

Make sure that you have given the whole of the pipe a proper inspection for holes. If you are making the effort to repair one, you might as well fix any others at the same time.

Clean the area

Whether you are using the tape or the putty, you will need to clean the area surrounding the hole before you go any further. The easiest way to do this is to take something abrasive like a steel wire brush and gently scrub the area. The cleaner this area is, the better seal you will get once you apply the repair kit.

If you are using the putty, you can use water to help get it cleaner, but try to avoid getting any moisture on the area if you are going to use the tape as this will prevent it from sticking. Make sure that you clean the whole area which the putty or the tape will touch.This is where the steps start to differ depending on whether you will be using the tape or the putty.

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For the tape:

Turn on the engine

Preheat the car if the outside temperature is below 21ºC. If the metal is warm then the tape will stick to it more easily and create a better seal.

Prepare the tape

Turn off the engine. Remove the backing from the tape, you might also need to remove a protective cover on the other side. Be careful not to get anything stuck to the adhesive side, even particles of dust will affect the quality of the seal it forms against the exhaust.

Apply the tape

Be careful! The exhaust may be hot if you have just had the engine running so approach with caution. You may need to wear gloves if the exhaust is too hot to touch. Apply the tape to the affected area and try to smooth out as many creases as you can.

Secure the ends

Secure the tape in place by wrapping a few pieces of wire around it. This will make the repair last for longer.

Idle the engine

Leave the engine on idle for 20 minutes or so to allow the exhaust to heat up and fuse the tape to the pipe. Once this is done you can drive as normal.

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For the putty:

Dampen the area

Once you have cleaned the area, dampen the area surrounding the hole with water. Make sure that the putty hasn’t dried out too much. If it has, add some water to it and mix well.

Apply the putty

Spread the putty all around the hole, making sure that some finds its way inside the hole itself. If the hole is quite large you might find it easier to use wire or mesh to cover the hole before applying the putty.

Idle the car

Leave the engine idle for about 10 minutes. This will kick start the drying process.

Leave to dry

Do not drive your car for at least 24 hours after having applied the putty. Remember that both of these methods are only temporary fixes. At some point you will need to replace your exhaust, but these quick repairs will help you to get more out of your exhaust before it is time to finally invest in a new one.

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