The average car owner won’t spend too much time thinking about their vehicle’s mufflers. However, a car’s exhaust is an important system that can affect vehicle performance, emissions, fuel efficiency and more.
The exhaust system takes the gaseous emissions produced by the engine and expels them through the rear of the vehicle. This process protects the interior of your car, and the driver and passengers, from carbon monoxide.
The exhaust system, which includes the muffler, also helps to reduce the noise pollution that a vehicle emits as well as reducing exhaust gas pressure, which helps with vehicle performance and longevity.
In order to keep your exhaust system in top condition you need to know when it’s malfunctioning. To help you, we’ve listed six signs of exhaust and muffler problems.
1. Loud Noises
Since the muffler’s job is to reduce noise, louder than usual engine noise is a major sign that something is amiss.
A running car is inevitably going to make some noise. However, if you’re hearing engine noise that’s much louder than usual or rattling sounds when the engine revs it could be a faulty or damaged muffler. These loud sounds are often caused by an exhaust leak near the rear of the car. This leak allows un-muffled gas to escape the exhaust system, leading to increased noise.
Pay attention to any changes in tone from your exhaust. If it makes unusually loud noise when you rev the engine, see a mechanic as soon as possible. Ignoring this symptom can cause the problem to worsen or earn you a noise violation ticket.
2. Unpleasant Smells
Exhaust leaks release more than just sounds. Damage to your exhaust system can lead to an exhaust leak into the interior of your car. An exhaust leak can be a serious health and safety issue for drivers and passengers and should be addressed immediately.
Additionally, the heat created by the engine and the exhaust system can also escape through a leak. This can cause a burning smell to enter your interior. In more serious cases, parts of your exhaust system might start creating smoke.
3. Poor Fuel Economy
Without a well-maintained exhaust system, your engine will have to work harder and burn more fuel. This results in reduced fuel economy. If you notice that you’re making a drive to your local petrol station more often, it could be due to an underperforming exhaust and muffler.
Most modern vehicles have built-in trip computers that help you to track your car’s performance and fuel economy. Pay attention to your mileage and see if there’s a decline in performance.
4. Low Exhaust Pipe
Pay attention to the height of your exhaust pipe. It might seem trivial, but a low hanging exhaust can be a sign of bent pipes or faulty mounts. Another thing to look out for is swaying. If your exhaust pipe is moving in an unstable manner when your car is moving, it’s a sign that something isn’t quite right.
Exhaust systems are often held in place with rubber mounts. This material can wear overtime, causing the exhaust system to hang low or detach.
Driving with a low hanging exhaust can potentially worsen the damage and cause some of the issues that we’ve discussed above.
Once your engine stops running, your exhaust system will begin to cool down. When air makes contact with the cool surface, condensation occurs, leaving moisture in the system. This can potentially damage your muffler if not handled properly.
Overtime, excessive moisture can cause rusting and, eventually, leakages and holes.
If you notice excessive condensation on your muffler or exhaust system, it could be a sign that your system is damaged or wearing out.
Exhaust systems and mufflers are important parts of your vehicle. It’s essential to maintain them if you want to stay safe and get the most out of your vehicle. To avoid major problems with your car’s exhaust system, consult a local mechanic as soon as you notice any of these muffler issues.