Common Problems with the Exhaust System

The exhaust system is bound to run into some common problems over time.

You can usually tell if there is a problem with your exhaust system, as there are some clear warning signs which include:

The exhaust drags on the ground or rattles

There are louder than usual exhaust sounds

There is an unusual smell coming from the exhaust

Rust Damage

The most frequent way an exhaust is damaged or has wear and tear is due to rust, which can cause many different problems. If the rust problem is severe, it may even lead to structural damage or cause a complete exhaust failure.

In the most extreme cases, an exhaust pipe can be so damaged or corroded that it will come loose, and drag on the road as you drive.

If you find yourself in this situation, you should take your vehicle to the closest auto mechanic ASAP. If your vehicle is not safe to drive, then call the RACQ for roadside assistance.

Be careful not to inhale any fumes from the exhaust, as these may be

Rattling

What about if you hear a rattling sound under your vehicle?  This usually means that there is something which has come loose. Generally, it is a bracket, piece of the exhaust pipe, or a heat shield.

If this is the case, then you should have your exhaust system serviced ASAP. Missing brackets or loose exhaust parts can end up damaging other more expensive pieces by adding extra stress to the structure of the exhaust system.

To DIY fix this kind of damage, there is a variety of exhaust mounting kits available.

Exhaust Fact: Going on many short journeys in your vehicle can lead to accelerated exhaust erosion. After you go on a short drive, the water vapour cools. Then it turns back into a liquid. This causes a higher chance than usual of rust formation in your exhaust.

Whether you are looking for a stock exhaust system or a high performance exhaust system, hiwowsport has you covered for all your exhaust system needs. From exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters, stainless steel automotive exhaust systems, cat-back exhaust systems to cavity mufflers, we always have something for your car.

Benefits of a Healthy Exhaust System

Having a healthy exhaust system provides many benefits, such as:

To maintain energy performance and fuel efficiency

helps to keep the engine noise at a minimum

Turns any dangerous chemicals from exhaust fumes into non-harmful ones.

Exhaust Manifold Common Problems

Exhaust manifolds are easily prone to damage from a few different ways.

Firstly, exposure to cycles of extreme pressure, and heat. This leads to the exhaust manifold being so worn out, that it can no longer withstand the heat. When this happens, cracks start to form on the manifold. Over time, these cracks can then turn into small holes which is enough to cause a total failure.

Secondly, the exhaust system hangers or mountings may break. This leads to the exhaust manifold experiencing extra pressure, which it has not been designed to withhold.

Oxygen Sensor Common Problems

Over time, as oxygen sensors become worn, they will give less accurate measurements.

Luckily, any modern vehicle has an alert on the dashboard to notify you anytime a sensor malfunctions.

It’s wise to replace faulty oxygen sensors as soon as you notice a problem. They are vital for fuel economy, and if not working correctly, can lead to a considerable amount of money due to extra petrol costs.

What Are Headers?

Headers are an alternative to a ‘traditional’ exhaust manifold. Something which hot-rod enthusiasts are likely familiar with. Headers will also collect any exhaust gases from each cylinder, into one tube. But, tubes for headers are a lot longer than they would be for an exhaust manifest. This increases performance by reducing the pressure needed to force any exhaust gas through the system.

What Is A Cat-Back Exhaust?

‘Cat-Back Exhaust’ is a term regularly used by car-loving enthusiasts. But what exactly does it mean? It’s not used to describe a particular type of exhaust system, but more to refer to where you are making changes in your system.

A cat-back exhaust means that all the parts of the exhaust system behind your catalytic converter have been upgraded. In other words, from the ‘cat’ back.

Is a Turbocharger Part of the Exhaust System?

The simple answer is ‘kind of.’ A turbocharger can be thought of as a single fan.This fan has a dual set of blades. The blades are like two small wheels, which are separated by an extremely short axle.

One of the sets of blades is combined into the flow of exhaust gas which comes from the engine. These blades spin faster as the exhaust gas increases.

As the set of blades is connected to the other set of fan blades, it causes them to spin as well. But, the second set of fan blades forms part of the intake system, which sucks in more fresh air. This allows the engine cylinders to create more power.

Muffler

A muffler is also known as a silencer, and it is located near the rear of an exhaust system. A muffler reduces any noise which comes from the fuel combustion process, as well as fumes from the exhaust system.

The way it does this is by using perforated tubes. They create opposing sound waves, and the sound waves cancel each other out.

What Does a Car Exhaust Muffler Do?

There are more things than waste gases which pass through your exhaust system. Sound waves also do. Excessive noise from the exhaust isn’t only an annoyance to your neighbours. They are also a public health issue and have been linked to causing major heart problems.

Mufflers use a few different strategies to reduce noise. Mufflers direct sound waves through chambers or tubes which are inside the muffler. This leads to most of the sound waves cancelling each other out. It’s also possible that inside the muffler, there are materials which help to absorb sound.

A muffler is also known as a silencer, and it is located near the rear of an exhaust system. A muffler reduces any noise which comes from the fuel combustion process, as well as fumes from the exhaust system.

The way it does this is by using perforated tubes. They create opposing sound waves, and the sound waves cancel each other out.

What Does a Car Exhaust Muffler Do?

There are more things than waste gases which pass through your exhaust system. Sound waves also do. Excessive noise from the exhaust isn’t only an annoyance to your neighbours. They are also a public health issue and have been linked to causing major heart problems.

Mufflers use a few different strategies to reduce noise. Mufflers direct sound waves through chambers or tubes which are inside the muffler. This leads to most of the sound waves cancelling each other out. It’s also possible that inside the muffler, there are materials which help to absorb sound.

Exhaust Pipes

Each of the exhaust components mentioned above have one thing in common. They are linked by exhaust pipes. The function is to direct gas through all the parts of the car exhaust system, before the gas exits from the tailpipes at the end of the exhaust.

What Is An Exhaust Resonator?

There are some mufflers which have been designed to tune the engine to sound a certain way, much to the appeal of their drivers. A famous example is the in-your-face roar of a V8 engine. Its distinct sound comes from the design of the muffler.

Some cars also have separate exhaust resonators, to take exhaust noise to the next level. These resonators are in the exhaust system, toward the front of the muffler.

Keep in mind that an exhaust resonator isn’t designed to reduce the volume of the exhaust. Instead, it cancels out and removes any ‘annoying’ frequencies, while keeping the ‘good’ ones for drivers to enjoy at full volume.

What Are Exhaust Tips?

Exhaust tips are hardware which is at the end of the exhaust system. It is connected to the muffler’s outlet. Usually, it is a straight pipe for many cars. It’s also possible to add separate exhaust tips. They will improve the sound, look and even the performance of your car.

What Is A Dual Exhaust?

Now that we’ve covered exhaust tips, what is the difference between them and dual exhaust? Many ‘sporty’ vehicles have dual exhaust tips. They are part of a single exhaust system.

The extra tips only provide a benefit between the short distance of the actual exhaust outlets and the muffler.

But, what about a dual exhaust system? Instead of one exhaust system, it will have two independent exhaust systems.

In a standard V8 or V6 dual exhaust system, each bank of cylinders will have its own exhaust system. This leads to the engine not having to push gases from all eight or six cylinders through one exhaust pipe and into a single muffler.

Because of this, the engine wastes less power. Which means there is more power available to increase performance.

Oxygen Sensor

Oxygen sensors are typically positioned on either side of the catalytic converter. They measure how much oxygen is in the exhaust system, and in the waste gases. Ideally, there would be none.

 What Does An Oxygen Sensor Do?

An oxygen sensor helps to fine-tune the intake process and is often located in the exhaust manifold.

 Based on the oxygen levels, a sensor then either adds or reduces fuel in the combustion process. This allows the exhaust to have the right fuel to air mixture.

 The engine should use the exact amount of oxygen required to burn the fuel completely. This would mean that no oxygen or fuel would be leftover.

The Engine Control Unit (ECU) of a modern fuel-injected car, analyses the exhaust sensor oxygen reading. Then the ECU can help make sure that the best mix of air to fuel is in the engine cylinder. It does this by changing the amount of fuel being injected.

Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converters are found between the silencer and the manifold. Their role is converting pollutants found in exhaust flames into pollutants which are less harmful to both people and the environment.

If your vehicle originally had a catalytic converter fitted, then it is required by law to have one. If it is removed, your car will fail a roadworthy inspection. All modern cars have a catalytic converter.

What is a Catalytic Converter

Car manufacturers are now required by law since 1986 to fit all new passenger vehicles with a catalytic converter. But what exactly is a catalytic converter

It transforms exhaust gases which may be harmful into environmentally friendly elements. In simple terms, it gets rid of anything nasty from the exhaust gas.

The catalytic converter turns the pollutants from exhaust gases into nitrogen, water and carbon dioxide. Its purpose is to make sure that whatever comes out of the exhaust pipe won’t harm the environment.

This is a crucial part of the car exhaust system, and it helps to reduce pollution.

An exhaust manifold is critical

Its purpose is to get exhaust gases from the engine cylinders. Exhaust manifolds will correctly direct the gases throughout the rest of the exhaust system. It makes sure that that toxic gases from the exhaust do not go inside the vehicle and poison the driver and passengers.

What Is An Exhaust Manifold?

Exhaust manifolds are positioned on a vehicle’s engine, and for most vehicles, it is usually where the exhaust starts.  

It’s made of cast iron metal and used to connect the engine with the other parts of the exhaust system.

The manifold has individual tubes on one side. The tubes connect to each engine cylinder. They then merge into the exhaust manifold and come out the other side as a single tube.

Did you know that engines have intake manifolds too? But they go the other way. From the engine, there is a single starting point for fresh air. This is then split into each separate tube. Then the tubes will split off the manifold. They then take air to each cylinder individually for combustion.

How Car Exhaust Systems Work

Each time your car runs, inside the engine there are thousands of small explosions happening. Each explosion produces power. It does this when it pushes against the pistons of the engine.

A side effect of the explosions is that, besides producing power, they produce leftover gas too.

The gas contains chemicals which are potentially dangerous. They include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons.

To stop the gases from entering the cabin and causing people to inhale them, they have to be directed away from the engine compartment. This is the primary function of a car exhaust system.

But modern vehicles have been designed for exhaust systems to do more. If exhaust gases go directly into the atmosphere, it causes them to affect more people. Not to mention, the non-stop engine explosions also produce noise pollution.

The car exhaust systems of today, have been designed to take care of all these problems.