What is the exhaust system?
The engine is connected to a system of long metal tubes and other parts that work together to reduce the noise and the by-products created in the gasoline combustion process and carry them from the engine through the tailpipe and safely away from the vehicle.
The exhaust system has a few essential parts; each plays a vital role in the process:
Catalytic Converter: This sends the gases through a final “burn” to remove leftover exhaust gases not burned by the engine and exhaust manifold.
Muffler: Muffles the sounds of the gases as they are transported through the system.
Tailpipe: The tailpipe carries the air and water vapor away from the vehicle.
Why do I care about it?
When the exhaust operates properly, the gases created during the fuel combustion process are carried safely away from the vehicle through the muffler and tailpipe.
Motor vehicle exhaust gas contains carbon monoxide, a toxic gas which can cause headache, nausea, dizziness, and general disorientation in humans. Leaks in the system can allow these dangerous exhaust fumes to leak into the passenger area causing discomfort and possible illness to people riding in the vehicle.
Check your exhaust system frequently, if you notice that your car seems to sound different, loud, or suddenly makes a deep rumbling sound when it’s running, this may be a sign of a hole or leak in the exhaust.
What can I do to keep it in good shape?
Keeping your exhaust system in good shape means thwarting its worst enemy: rust.
Rust, or corrosion can occur when the metal parts of your exhaust system are exposed to moisture from outside elements like rain and snow, or from the water vapors that are created as a natural part of the combustion process.
If you live in a colder climate and your vehicle is exposed to road salt, have the undercarriage rinsed every few weeks. Salt contributes to corrosion of the metal parts of your car, so removing it regularly will extend the life of your exhaust.
Understanding how your vehicle’s exhaust system operates and investing in a little preventative maintenance can go a long way toward minimizing problems down the road.