Exhaust Leak? Here’s What You Need to Know

An exhaust leak in your vehicle is not something you just shrug your shoulders with. Your vehicle’s performance will greatly suffer. Also, an exhaust leak will gradually result in engine damage. Not to mention, the danger of inhaling harmful fumes such as carbon monoxide.

If you own a vehicle, you want it to be in excellent working condition all the time. Therefore, when a vehicle problem like an exhaust occurs, it’s important that you know how to fix it.

There are a some instructions necessary for you to know if you have an exhaust leak in your vehicle. In this article, you will find out what an exhaust leak is, how to identify it as well as the easy ways you can do to solve the issue. 

What exactly is an exhaust leak?

An exhaust leak is a faulty condition in your vehicle’s exhaust system where most of the toxic exhaust gases in the combustion chamber make their way out of the exhaust system before they could get into your vehicle’s chimney–the tailpipe.

In an efficient car, exhaust gases are evicted through the exhaust port or tailpipe. However, there are situations where some gases will escape before they can get to the tailpipe.

If the toxic exhaust gases escape between the combustion chamber and tailpipe, your machines has an exhaust leak.

Why is it a problem?

An exhaust leak is a problem for many reasons. First, the leaks can damage the sensors of your vehicle. With abnormal or faulty sensors, your engine will consume either too low or high amounts of fuel.

The second reason why we find an exhaust leak to be problematic is the logical fact that the toxic fumes can greatly affect our health as well as the environment.

Exhaust gases are released before they can pass through the catalytic converter, a component of your vehicle’s exhaust system. Therefore, with an exhaust leak, you are polluting the precious air that we breathe.

How do you know if your vehicle has an exhaust leak?

As a vehicle owner, you want to be aware of the many screaming red flags that tell you an exhaust leak is happening. Look out for these signs:

Creating loud noises

One thing to look out for is an abnormally loud noise that you may hear as soon as you start your engine. It’s likely that the sound will change or become louder as you speed up. This could be a sign of a leak in your vehicle’s exhaust gasket.

As you know, the gasket is situated in the middle of the engine block and the exhaust manifold piping. The gasket is always kept hot and cool.

In this case, if you don’t find visible cracks in the piping, the next thing you should examine is the gasket and check if the issue comes from there.

Having poor fuel efficiency

If you notice you frequently have to gas up at the station than you normally would, then this could well be the cause of an exhaust leak. It causes difficulty in your engine as well as your oxygen sensors to perform at their finest. As a result, you will have bad fuel economy.

Vibrating gas pedal

An exhaust leak causes your vehicle to vibrate. When air escapes from a crack, faulty seal or hole, the annoying metal vibrations occur. The larger the leak, the bigger the vibration. The vibrations usually start in your vehicle’s gas pedal or accelerator.

If you don’t fix this issue as soon as possible, the steering wheel of your vehicle will start to vibrate soon, then your floorboards next.

Causing unusual smell

Another red flag is when your vehicle smells something like sulfur, as this could be a sign of a weak catalytic converter. Part of the job of your vehicle’s exhaust system is to ensure you don’t breathe in toxic fumes.

The catalytic converter is a component of your vehicle’s exhaust system, so you may want to have it inspected. As the name suggests, a catalytic converter converts dangerous fumes into less harmful ones.

Gas pedal is creating unusual noises

You will experience loud and strange noises as you step on the accelerator. This happens in a vehicle with an exhaust leak. On top of the vibration, the gas pedal becomes loud and disturbing.

You can test your vehicle by placing your foot on the accelerator. Are there unusual sounds? Are you hearing noises like air escaping? If yes, then you definitely have a problem there.

If you can’t identify the sound whether it’s a vacuum leak or exhaust leak, a smart move would be to take your vehicle to the nearest mechanic for proper inspection.

Is it safe to drive a leaking vehicle?

The exhaust system of your vehicle is crucial and should be unimpaired at all times. The job of your exhaust system is to keep your vehicle quiet as it runs, allows your engine to run smoothly, and keeps toxic fumes away.

Remember, the fumes contain carbon monoxide which is very dangerous to our health and environment. Therefore, it is not okay to drive a leaking vehicle.

How do you fix an exhaust leak?

You can fix the exhaust leak yourself, but of course, only if you have the knowledge in doing so–otherwise, leave it to the professional.

For little punctures, you can fix them with an exhaust patch, while an aluminum patch should be used on larger punctures. 

Make sure the area surrounding the leak is clean, free from rust, debris, mud and dirt.  Sand the area to smoothen out the surface. Then, use acetone on the area to allow better adhesion as you patch them up. 

Conclusion

If you suspect an exhaust leak, we suggest you get your vehicle inspected and repaired if needed as soon as possible. 

An exhaust leak should never be taken lightly as it can be dangerous not just for your vehicle, but for you as well as the environment.

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