Common Car Exhaust System Problems to Watch Out For

Common Car Exhaust System Problems to Watch Out For

One of the most critical parts of your car is the exhaust system. It extends from the exhaust manifold of your car engine to your mufflers. The exhaust system is designed not just to give your car a sweet exhaust note but also to reduce pollution with the help of the catalytic converter. As your engine runs in a real-world scenario, constant back pressure acts on your inlet and exhaust valves, which is not desirable. It reduces the engine’s efficiency and overall life of various components of the engine. The design of an exhaust system is to mitigate this back pressure as much as practically possible. Hence, a well functioning exhaust system is crucial for the overall performance of your car.

There are specific signals to watch out for that your part may need repair or to be replaced entirely, and being able to recognise them early is vital to prevent breakdowns and expensive replacements. Listed below are the general concerns you may observe and the signals you can identify to make sure you can immediately have it inspected by a professional service station.

General Complications


One of the byproducts of internal combustion is moisture which generally condensates in the exhaust system as the temperature in the exhaust system is cooler. Over time, this condensate collection in the exhaust system leads to corrosion or more commonly called rusting. Regions with high atmospheric humidity, like tropical and coastal regions, are plagued by this problem.

Puncture/Loose-Fitting Modules

Loose modules and punctured exhaust systems is an age-old story. Over time due to vibrations in the system, modules in the exhaust system become loose, and if left unattended, the entire system gets damaged. Another common problem that occurs is when the exhaust system gets punctured due to a projectile like a stone strikes any component of the system at an incredible speed.

General Symptoms of a Damaged Exhaust System

Unusually High Sound Levels

When an exhaust system is damaged, the first thing you notice is that the decibel levels of the exhaust note go up. You will hear a much louder and higher frequency exhaust note which feels harsh on the ears. You can listen to this sound even while the engine is idling. Sort out a professional technician’s help as soon as you hear an unusual exhaust note. If left unattended, the catalytic converter may get affected adversely or may get damaged beyond repair.

Decreased Fuel Economy

If you notice a drastic plunge in your fuel economy, the first place to get inspected is your exhaust system. Any obstruction or damage to the exhaust system can lead to back pressure on the engine, leading to lower fuel efficiency. Get your exhaust system checked if you observe a reduction in your fuel economy.

Water Build-up in the Exhaust Pipes

As mentioned above, corrosion due to water build-up in the exhaust system can be an expensive problem. If you observe water logging in your exhaust pipes, then it’s time to examine your old exhaust system.

Foul Odour

Due to inevitable damage or leakage in the exhaust system, 100 per cent of the exhaust gas may not exit from the mufflers. These poisonous gases may get into your car’s cabin. Inhaling these toxic fumes causes various health complications. Also, the water that condenses in the exhaust pipes can harbour bacteria, algae and fungus, which gives out a musty, damp odour. Immediately consult a professional mechanic if you observe such odours.

A good practice is regular maintenance and check-up of your vehicle’s exhaust system by a trained and reliable professional. This will ensure that before any damage occurs, the problem is rectified, and your car always gives you the best performance.

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