When it comes to engine components, the car exhaust system is undoubtedly one of the most simple in design. Its job is straightforward: funnel exhaust fumes from the engine to the rear bumper, and muffle the noise of the engine in the process.
Despite its simplicity, your exhaust system is vital to keep your engine running smoothly. Any leaks or faulty sensors within the system can significantly degrade your engine’s performance and efficiency. Leaks can also make your car loud, smelly, and potentially dangerous to drive. That’s why it’s imperative to have your exhaust system periodically inspected and repaired immediately if any issues arise.
Why Exhaust Leaks Develop
Leaks are a relatively common issue with exhaust systems. Routing the exhaust piping from the engine to the rear bumper requires numerous bends and interconnected flanges. The immense heat generated by the engine predisposes the welds and gaskets throughout the exhaust system to developing stress cracks. Even the smallest of cracks allow exhaust gasses to seep out.
Your exhaust system is also prone to damage from road debris. The pipes are mounted underneath your chassis relatively close to the ground. Your tires constantly kick up pebbles and grit as you drive, and the exhaust system is hanging right in the line of fire.
Car Exhaust Leaks Make Your Engine Loud, Inefficient, and Dangerous
Your exhaust piping is fine-tuned to generate a specific amount of back pressure and allow exhaust gasses to flow as smoothly as possible. Leaks cause pressure drops and turbulence within the system. As a result, your engine won’t be able to expel the gasses as efficiently, which causes a loss in horsepower and fuel efficiency.
Leaks also make your car loud. The mufflers and resonators at the rear of your exhaust system are designed to silence your engine as much as possible. Leaks allow excess noise to escape before it reaches the mufflers which causes an annoying droning noise every time you accelerate.
Most importantly, car exhaust leaks put you and your passengers at risk. One of the by-products of engine combustion is the toxic gas carbon monoxide. The majority of carbon monoxide is burned off by the catalytic converters toward the front of your exhaust system while the rest is expelled safely into the atmosphere behind your rear bumper. A leak in the wrong place can let that carbon monoxide seep into the interior of your vehicle and potentially poison you and your passengers.
Burnt-Out Catalytic Converters
Mounted within the front section of your exhaust system, you may find one or more oval-shaped pipe components known as catalytic converters. The interior piping contains a honeycomb-style webbing that heats up immensely as exhaust gasses pass through it. The intense heat catalyses carbon monoxide and other pollutants, converting the majority of them into cleaner, safer gasses before they are expelled out into the atmosphere.
All of that heat slowly burns up the metallic honeycomb webbing over time. Eventually the webbing becomes incapable of generating enough heat to burn off an ample amount of pollutants passing through.
Faulty Catalytic Converters Cause “Check Engine” Errors and Inefficiency
As your catalytic converters becomes faulty and ineffective, your car will become increasingly loud and smell of sulphur. That’s because an excess amount of exhaust gasses and pollutants are escaping your mufflers, which are designed to work in conjunction with fully-functioning catalytic converters.
Your exhaust system also utilizes oxygen sensors mounted into the piping right before and after each catalytic converter. The sensors monitor the levels of gasses and pollutants passing by and relay that information to your engine computer, which uses the data to fine-tune its fuel injection parameters. When your oxygen sensor detects a faulty catalytic converter it triggers a “check engine” light (CEL). As a result, your engine will run less efficiently and consume more fuel to compensate for the sensor error.
If you notice that your car is more noisy, smoky, or smelly than it was when you bought it, take it to a reputable TerraClean auto service centre immediately. Beyond the annoying sound and smell, the issue may be more serious than you think.
What can I do? Speak to the experts!
TerraClean is patented technology that reduces emissions and acts as preventative maintenance for your vehicle. With a network of over 500 UK and Ireland centres, our independent dealers are trained to identify the cause of engine blockages and use our patented technology to remove carbon and other lacquers which build up within your engine over time. From Car Exhaust Gas Recirculation systems to Diesel Particulate Filters – TerraClean is a widely recognised for its ability to reduce harmful emissions, improve Mile Per Gallon and prolong the life span of engine components.
To find out what TerraClean can do for you read our Engine and DPF Cleaning FAQs today.