Do I need a new exhaust?

Your car's exhaust does a lot more than just remove spent fumes from your engine. A properly functioning exhaust system helps to control noise, improves engine performance and even aids fuel efficiency.

Read on to learn more about your exhaust system, and how to tell if your exhaust is in need of attention, repair or replacement.

How does the exhaust system work?

The exhaust is a complex system made up of several components including the manifold, catalytic converter, sensors, silencer and exhaust pipe. Each of these parts has to be in good working order for the system to function properly.

As you drive along, the exhaust system's manifold collects harmful gases produced by each of the engine's cylinders, and funnels them into the catalytic converter. The converter's job is to remove harmful elements from the gas such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen monoxide.

Next, the gas goes through the silencer to reduce noise levels, before safely exiting the vehicle through the exhaust pipe, away from you and your passengers.

More modern, fuel-injected cars are also fitted with sensors to measure the ratio of oxygen to harmful exhaust gas as it leaves the vehicle. These sensors are usually fitted within the tail pipe, and provide information on emissions and fuel efficiency to the vehicle's onboard computer.

How long should an exhaust last?

There are many factors that play a part in how long your exhaust is likely to last - your driving style, usage and vehicle make and model all affect your exhaust's lifespan.

Modern car exhausts are typically made from either chrome or stainless steel, and are designed to last for the life of the car. High quality non-stainless steel exhausts will last for about five years - the exhaust pipe is exposed to very high temperatures that over time can cause rust, wear, holes and cracking.

Signs you need a new exhaust

  • Engine noise: Has your engine become noticeably louder? The silencer is the part of the exhaust system that reduces the rumbling noises produced by the engine - even slight damage will cause a big difference in engine noise. If the car is producing more of a rattling sound than a rumbling one, this could be a sign that your catalytic converter is either loose or needs repair. The catalytic converter is the most fragile part of the exhaust system, and can easily become damaged by driving on uneven roads or over speed bumps.
  • Rust: Have a look at the exhaust itself and inspect for signs of rust or splitting. Some exhaust corrosion is normal on older cars, but if you can see excessive damage it might be time for replacement.
  • Reduced fuel efficiency: An increase in your fuel consumption can be caused by a whole host of things, including a leak in your exhaust system. A leak will affect the system's ability to transport fumes, leaving your engine operating at a hotter temperature and reducing your fuel efficiency.

Regular Car Servicing and maintenance can prevent damage to the exhaust system; however, if you think there may already be a problem, don't wait to get it checked out by a qualified technician. Ignoring the warning signs may cause further damage to the exhaust and other important car parts, costing a lot more to repair in the long run.

Free Exhaust Check at Halfords Autocentres

Think there might be a problem with your exhaust system, but not sure where to start? Get a professional opinion on the condition of your exhaust with a Free Exhaust Check at Halfords Autocentres.

If, on inspection, your exhaust does need replacement or repair, we will provide a free, no-obligation quote upfront. We will always discuss recommended repairs with you before any work is carried out.

Book a Free Exhaust Check