Car Exhaust System – Its Working & Common Problems with Causes & Solutions

Importance of Exhaust System

It is easy to understand and maintain the battery, brakes, and tyres of your car, but when it comes to the exhaust system things do appear somewhat complex. An exhaust system emits waste gases and other combustion products from engine to generate minimal noise, smoke, and pollution in the environment. Without it your vehicle is a mere source of air and noise pollution. It is vital to have a well maintained exhaust system for clean and efficient vehicle running; not only will it add to your contribution towards keeping a pollution free environment, but will also ensure your life’s safety and bring better mileage of your vehicle. We will further talk about the functioning and components of exhaust system, causes of its failure and the ways to maintain it.

How Exhaust System Works?

Fuel combustion is what takes place in starting the vehicle engine, which causes emission of exhaust gases from the flue of the vehicle. The gas is rich in black particulate matter and disperses in the form of a plume.

After having some idea about its working pattern, let us understand its basic components and their individual roles. The system comprises of exhaust manifold, oxygen sensor, catalytic converter, muffler or silencer, and exhaust pipe or tailpipe other than a series of clamps, hangers, flanges, and gaskets.

1. Exhaust Manifold: It is an assembly often made of cast iron, designed to accumulate the exhaust gas from multiple cylinders into a single pipe.

2. Oxygen Sensor: This component is mounted in or close to the exhaust manifold in the exhaust pipe. It measures quantity of oxygen present in the exhaust, which helps the computer in adding or subtracting fuel to get the correct mixture to achieve maximum fuel economy.

3. Catalytic Converter: This interesting part known as catalytic converter abides by the clean-air laws as it restricts the toxic gases (nitrogen oxide, nitrogen monoxide, and carbon monoxide) and noxious fumes produced by cars. This another exhaust pipe extending to a muffler aims at converting harmful gases to water vapour and inert gases.

4. Muffler: It is the part that brings down the noise levels produced as a result of the combustion process in the running engine. Silencer is the common term used for Muffler.

5. Exhaust Pipe: As the name suggests, it is a tube, made of steel (or stainless steel), connecting all the above mentioned components and works as a medium for carrying gases from one place to another within the exhaust system and eventually venting them out of the tail pipe.

Few Signs to Identify Where The Problem Is?

Car Vibrations: Exhaust problems

Car Losing Power: Exhaust problems or something else

Check Engine Light ‘Status-On’: Catalytic converter issues

Rattling Noises: Catalytic converter issues

Loud Exhaust Noises: Muffler or exhaust pipe issues

Decreased Fuel Efficiency: Exhaust issue or something else

Listing Down Some Useful Inspection Tips for Your Exhaust System Problems:

  • From the engine to the tail pipe, specially where the manifold connects to the main pipe and cylinder, check the entire exhaust system for cracks

  • Check the exhaust port near the cylinder head for any discoloured paint or burn marks

  • Look for any punctures, holes, or obvious rust on muffler

  • Try to sense the replacement needs of any component by checking its internal corrosion with the help of a screwdriver

The Causes and Solutions to the Major Problem of Exhaust System: Corrosion

Over time your exhaust system catches rust due to moisture caused by chemical reactions during combustion, climate changes such as rains and salty roads, and short trips during winters. We can deal with both internal as well as external factors causing corrosion with adequate maintenance.

The foremost reason playing the lead role in corroding the exhaust system is the moisture generated due to secondary products produced by catalytic converter and by-products formed during the combustion process.

Short trip (less than 15 miles at a time), especially in winters, is the second major cause in reducing the life of your exhaust system. On switching the engine off, the remaining water vapour in the pipes condenses and turns back into a liquid which rusts away the pipes. If short distances is your routine drive then Exhaust Service Rotherham suggests that you replace your plain steel exhaust system with a stainless steel one to avoid corrosion.

Also in winters, if salt is used on roads in and around your location then consider washing the underside of your car with water once in every few weeks. It is necessary to run the engine after washing away the salt to avoid water retention in pipes.

Even if the check engine light is not on, you may still sense an increase in gas consumption. This could be due to a worn out oxygen sensor which decreases your vehicle’s gas mileage a great deal. When oxygen sensor loses its efficiency, it starts producing rich fuel mixture and as a result the engine starts burning more fuel than required. Exhaust Service Rotherham suggests that you spend a few bucks on replacing the oxygen sensor every 60,000 miles instead of paying extra for more gas.

Now coming to the next part of the exhaust system – muffler, which asks for replacement in consequence to rusts through. Several options are available in the market and Exhaust Service Rotherham suggests you never compromise on quality for cheaper price. If you plan to keep your vehicle for a long period, it is necessary to spend on best quality name brand muffler.

Though its rare but catalytic converter may need replacement due to clogging. The question is how to identify if it is clogged? Loss of power, glowing red converter, heat coming out of the car floor or a sulphur smell are few of the signs to pick on. Replace it immediately as your vehicle can never do without a catalytic converter.

In case, you still doubt your inspection, let ETS Auto Centre help you in diagnosing and repairing the exhaust problems of your vehicle.

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