What does my exhaust do?
Although there are no moving parts, your exhaust system is one of the hardest worked parts on the car. It is a series of pipes linking the engine to a silencer and a catalytic converter which performs the following functions:
- Controls noise.
- Directs exhaust fumes away from passengers.
- Improves engine performance.
- Improves fuel consumption.
The exhaust is made up of the following components:
Exhaust Manifold Connection
The exhaust manifold acts as a funnel. It collects exhaust gases from all cylinders of the engine then releases them through a single opening, often referred to as the front pipe.
There may be more than one silencer box fitted to your car. The silencer is specially designed to absorb sound waves created by the engine and reduce this noise to a legally and environmentally acceptable level. The silencer joins onto the tailpipe at one end and the catalytic converter at the other.
The tailpipe is the part of the exhaust that extends from the back of the car. It allows free exit of the exhaust gases into the atmosphere.
If you notice any of the following you should have your exhaust checked by a technician to find out whether any components need replacing:
- Rattling – a rattling noise may indicate loose brackets holding the system in place.
- Roaring – a roaring noise could be a potential problem with the silencer.
- Hissing or popping – this could be a sign that the muffler or one of the pipes is leaking.
- Blue smoke – this could indicate a fault in the engine which is putting burnt oil into the exhaust system and resulting in blue smoke.
- White smoke – white smoke when first started is normal. If it continues, this could be due to an internal coolant leak and the white smoke is the result of burning antifreeze. If there are no water leaks underneath your car it could be a leaking head gasket or a crack in the engine.
- Rust or corrosion on the pipe as well as cracks, especially where the pipes connect could indicate a problem.
Questions and Answers
What are the different types of exhaust systems?
The three main types of exhaust systems are header-back, cat-back, and axle-back. Depending on what type of system you choose, aftermarket systems will come with some combination of header or intermediate pipes, crossover pipe, catalytic converter, mufflers, and tailpipes.
Does a broken exhaust affect acceleration?
If the pipes become damaged or corroded, they can sometimes produce an exhaust leak that can cause the vehicle to experience performance issues. An exhaust leak from a broken pipe can cause the vehicle to experience a decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency due to the loss of backpressure.