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How do I know if my exhaust needs replacing?

If your car is more than three years old, it is legally required to pass an annual MOT (Ministry of Transport) test to ensure it's safe to drive. The exhaust system on your vehicle is far more complex than people realise - comprising the manifold, silencer, various sensors, catalytic converter, and exhaust pipe. Just like the engine, all of these parts must be in correct working order for the exhaust system to function effectively.

Depending on your vehicles usage, exhaust systems can vary in how long they will last, but like any other part they can be subject to damage and routine wear and tear. If you've found yourself wondering if your exhaust needs replacing, this blog post is for you.

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Purpose of the exhaust system

Your exhaust system has three primary functions:  Understanding how it works can help you know when it should be replaced

  • Directing exhaust fumes (all the nasty gases they contain) well away from passengers by pushing them out through the pipe located at the back
  • Shielding passengers, as well as passers-by, from the noise created by the constant stream of explosions, which are part of the fuel-burning process
  • Cleaning the chemical cocktail that is produced by burning fuel so that it’s less noxious to those exposed to it.

If you were to travel in a vehicle that had no exhaust system, not only would this be pretty noisy, it would also be incredibly dangerous.

My exhaust is making a hissing noise

You might not notice this immediately as it’s not an easy sound to catch.  Especially if you drive in a noisy urban environment. If you do notice an unusual noise you could be dealing with a cracked or corroded exhaust pipe, manifold, or a leaking gasket. Both of these faults will require repairing.

My exhaust is making a roaring noise

When you accelerate, your silencer should prevent the exhaust system from making an inordinate amount of noise. If the exhaust is roaring, it usually points to an issue with the silencer and it may need replacing. Or due to erosion from the acidic moisture and condensed exhaust gases. If there is corrosion or cracking, you will need a replacement.

My exhaust is making a chugging noise

If you notice a strange chugging noise, or even feel as if the car is being hesitant when accelerating your exhaust may need replacing.  This could be a sign that gases are not flowing properly through the exhaust system and there may be a blockage. One of our technicians can carry out a free check to find out more.

My exhaust system is rattling

Exhaust systems can become misaligned over time and cause a rattling noise.  A misaligned exhaust system could mean that the systems supporting the fixtures have fractured due to vibration or corrosion. Having one of our qualified technicians look at your exhaust system could prevent your exhaust system from falling off whilst you are driving.

There is rust on my exhaust system

Rust on the external exhaust system is fairly common and worth getting checked.  This should ensure that the exhaust system remains structurally secure. It is common for exhaust systems to corrode from the inside out as moisture sits inside of the system.  Particularly when the car is used for short journeys.  This can be much harder to spot and can result in sudden failure of the system.

We can check for structural weakness by gently assessing the rusted area.  If we feel that the corrosion is excessive we will advise that the system is changed to prevent it from falling off.  Rust can cause cracks and holes, which may lead to your exhaust failing, so it’s well worth keeping on top of this.

My car doesn’t seem as fuel efficient as it used to be

Has your car’s fuel efficiency suddenly dipped?  You may need to check your exhaust system for leaks or cracks.  An exhaust leak will reduce the efficiency of the engine preventing the lambda sensor fitted to your exhaust system from reading correctly.  This can cause the engine warning light to illuminate.  As a result of the incorrect readings, the sensor sends messages telling the car to burn more fuel resulting in loss of fuel efficiency.

Replacement car exhausts and exhaust checks at The Auto Care Group

At the Auto Care Group we stock a large variety of car exhausts, lambda sensors and catalytic converters for a wide selection of makes and models at the lowest guaranteed prices. Contact us today to book your vehicle in for a free exhaust diagnostics check.

We have sites in Darlington and Stockton-On-Tees:

Darlington Tyre & Auto Care 01325488855

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Teesdale Tyre & Auto Care 01642 676667

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