Common Signs of a Leaking Exhaust
Your car’s exhaust system is made of pipes that guide harmful exhaust gases away from the engine and into the outside atmosphere. Exhaust gas typically flows through the exhaust manifold, the catalytic converter, the resonator, and finally the muffler, which connects to the tailpipe. If there’s a problem with this system, poisonous gases can travel into the passenger cabin. These colorless and odorless fumes can put you and your passengers at serious, potentially fatal, risk.
If you notice any of the symptoms below, you should make an appointment as soon as possible.
1) Hissing or Popping Noises Coming From Your Exhaust System
This is the biggest clue to look for. If you hear an intermittent hiss or popping noise when the engine is running, that’s a huge cause for concern. Pay close attention to the quality of the sound coming from the tailpipe. A particularly high-pitched hiss or whistle at the tailpipe may be a sign of restriction in the exhaust system or unusually high back-pressure, which can be dangerous.
2) Small Leaks In Your Exhaust System
Over time, small leaks can develop in the exhaust system. But, eventually, all leaks get bigger. To inspect for small leaks, have your mechanic start at the engine and go all the way back to the tailpipe. Be sure they check where the exhaust manifold mates to the cylinder head, as this can be a vulnerable place.
3) Vibrations In Your Steering Wheel
If vibrations occur when you touch the steering wheel, foot pedals, or seat, you may have a rusty exhaust system. When vehicles don’t take many long trips, the muffler and pipes don’t get hot enough to evaporate collected water. The leftover condensation just sits there and, as a result, the system rusts over time. If you notice an abnormal vibration or loss of power when operating your car, you should have the exhaust system checked as soon as possible.
4) Reduced Gas Mileage
Similar to vibrations, increased fuel use is a sign that something may be wrong with your car. If the engine is getting poor fuel mileage, there’s a good chance the engine is struggling to exhale the engine’s exhaust. When there’s an exhaust leak, your engine has to work harder which requires more fuel. If you notice that you have to fill up your gas tank more often than normal, have your exhaust system checked out by one of our professionals.
Exhaust noise always means trouble. You should always have your exhaust system professionally checked while your engine is running, as any leaks tend to be obvious when your car is on. At V&F, our expert mechanics use latest the diagnostic equipment and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts to make sure we get the job done right. If you are worried something may be wrong with your exhaust system, call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.
This article was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for clarity.