Why A Broken Exhaust System is Dangerous
If you have something wrong with your exhaust system, it’s extremely important you get it into a car repair shop right away. Why? Because it’s much more than just an annoyance when driving down the road. It’s a danger to you and your passengers. In this article, I’ll tell you how to identify if your exhaust is broken, explain why it’s dangerous, and how it can even affect the performance of your car.
If you think your exhaust might be broken, it’s important to get it looked at right away. Ignoring it could potentially be fatal — I’m not kidding.
How to Tell Whether It’s Broken
The easiest way to tell if your exhaust pipe (or system) is broken is by listening. Exhaust pipes are what regulate the sound of your car, along with many other things. So, if you hear a strange noise coming from underneath you, or from the back of the car, there is something wrong with it.
Granted, it could just be a minor crack or the whole unit could be falling apart. Another telltale sign is if you hear a scraping noise behind your car. That means the pipe is hanging lower than it should be and the pipe itself could have cracked, or the support system holding it is broken.
If you think your exhaust pipe has a minor leak – but you aren’t sure where – there is a quick way to check that, too. This is an old trick, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already heard it.
Take your hand and put it over the end of your exhaust pipe with the car running. Only do this for a few seconds. Make sure your hand completely encompasses the end of the pipe and listen for your engine changing over to a higher-pitched noise. If it does, that means you don’t have an exhaust leak. However, if you do have a leak, it will cause a plume of exhaust to billow out from wherever the leak is. Look for this spilling from underneath the car, or have a spotter pinpoint the exact location of the leak.
Again, only do that for a few seconds until you hear a change in how your engine sounds. Doing it for any longer could potentially damage your engine.
Why is it Dangerous?
Why is an exhaust leak dangerous? Because it provides a direct path for carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment through the vent at the bottom of the windshield. I’m sure you’ve heard of carbon monoxide, so you should know that letting that silent gas willingly into your car’s cabin isn’t a good idea. Even a minor leak can cause dizziness, headaches, choking, and nausea in less than two hours. Prolonged exposure to anything more than a minor leak can actually kill you.
I’ll stress this again: it’s imperative to get investigate any funny sounds coming from beneath the car and get them fixed right away.
It Can Affect Your Car, Too
Along with being dangerous to you and your passengers, it can also affect the performance of your car. If the exhaust is leaking, that also means the engine’s performance is messed up. It can negatively impact the power and even lower your fuel economy.
It’s amazing how a leak could cause all that, but it can. Be vigilant about your car, and make sure it gets in for routine maintenance checks. Plus, a rattly exhaust will prevent your car from passing inspection.