Your car’s exhaust system is truly a workhorse when it comes to keeping your vehicle performing optimally and quietly. It does four critical things that help your car starting with keeping your vehicle from sounding like an explosion with every piston stroke. Besides that, you can count on your exhaust to displace gases that the engine spews, prevents the passenger compartment from breathing in those fumes, and also reduces (as much as possible) the harm to the environment from the exhaust gases your car produces.
The main components of most exhaust systems for gas-powered vehicles include an exhaust manifold, a muffler, a catalytic converter, and exhaust pipes (tailpipes) leading to and extending from the muffler.
The exhaust manifold (or header) is directly attached to the engine by way of the cylinder head because this is where the pistons create the used air pressure. It is used to capture that used exhaust and then transport it to the attached exhaust pipes. Both the manifold or header and the exhaust pipes here are rather stable products usually made of long-lasting steel or cast iron and require little maintenance. However, they do have gaskets which may need servicing over time.
Once the pressure of exhaust air reaches the manifold, this is usually where at least one catalytic converter will intersect with the piping. Its job is to collect pollutants such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Such as the name suggests, it converts those harmful gases into less toxic substances such as nitrogen, oxygen, water and carbon dioxide. Catalytic converters only came into widespread use in the late 1990s and were introduced as a way to help alleviate global emissions and the harm they were doing to the environment. All vehicles must have a functioning catalytic converter by law now.
The muffler and tailpipes need to be inspected regularly as the nature of their positioning on the chassis leaves them exposed to the elements of the road, debris and weather. Corrosion is their main enemy, and it was not unusual in years past to need a new muffler every few years or so. However, there has been an improvement in the quality and galvanization of manufacturers’ exhaust systems that have extended the life of the original equipment at least.
The muffler acts as a noise cancellation device designed to reduce the immense sound waves created by the engine. A car’s overall state of health or original design quality can be immediately degraded in the minds of the consumer if that car that sounds terrible, or simply loud or annoying. In that sense, manufacturers have spent a lot of research in making their cars sound as quiet as possible. It is, in fact, a quality issue.
The exhaust pipes, clamps, brackets and hangers are also devices that support that quiet quality, and these fasteners may need replacing more often than the muffler itself.
Repairs or replacements to mufflers and their systems will be needed over time, but aftermarket rust-proofing services can postpone this indefinitely. A vehicle involved in an accident may also need exhaust repair work, but no matter the reason if your car seems to lose power upon acceleration, or starts becoming noticeably louder from inside the cabin, you are likely due for some exhaust work. Fortunately, exhaust work can be diagnosed and repaired in short order, and Flame Auto Repair can accommodate most makes and models on appointment.