Your Car’s Exhaust System: The Basics

Understanding the inner workings of a car can make your head spin a bit if you’re not a professional mechanic or car enthusiast. Terms like internal combustion, cylinder head, spark plug, piston, crankshaft, and transmission may or may not mean something to you, but you still need to remain aware of your car’s most important parts to seek repairs when needed.

Oil, transmission, and tires are major players that typically receive the service they need to continue running smoothly. But what about the exhaust system? Here’s your basic introduction to understand how it works, why it’s important, and how to know if the system need repair.

The Inner Workings of the Exhaust System: The exhaust is a complex system that actually starts rights behind the engine. After gases combust they move through the exhaust. In this process the gases are evaluated by oxygen sensors, purified by the catalytic converter, and muted by the muffler.

Positive Impacts of a Working Exhaust: Since the exhaust system essentially refines the gases coming through, a working exhaust prevents additional pollutants from entering the air and poisoning the air we breathe. It also ensures that the exhaust is blown away from your vehicle and the noises of this process remain quiet.

Signs and Symptoms of a Problem: It’s easy to ignore a problem, hope it will go away, or keep your fingers crossed that you imagined the problem at all. However, driving with a damaged exhaust can be detrimental to your health, obnoxious while you drive, and infinitely more expensive to fix as the problem becomes worse and worse. If you notice any of these warning signs, turn the car around and drive right to an auto repair shop to nip the problem in the bud.

  • Loud engine noises are a classic sign of a faulty exhaust system. Since the noise is caused by leaks, it could also indicate that harmful fumes are entering the vehicle and placing your health at risk.
  • Strange vibrations in the steering wheel or gas pedal also indicate a leak. This often comes along with the loud engine noises.
  • Fuel efficiency takes a nose dive when the exhaust is malfunctioning, so if your wallet is feeling lighter and you’ve become a frequent visitor to the gas station, chances are your car’s exhaust needs repairs.

It’s critical to your car’s health (and your own!) to attend to exhaust problems as soon as possible.

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