Car exhaust system guide by expert mechanic

This article seeks to give an overview of your car's exhaust system from an expert's point of view. Ever asked questions  like, "What makes a car sound louder than others?" and "How can you ensure that your car emits moderate discharges?" The answer is easy, the exhaust system. Now, let's take a deeper look.

What is the Car Exhaust system?

The car exhaust system is part of the four major components of a combustion engine. It is a very vital part of a vehicle. The Car Exhaust system collects gases from the cylinders in the combustion chamber and retrieves harmful substances (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons).

With the help of the catalyst, it purifies and makes these substances harmless to car users and society at large. Furthermore, the car exhaust system regulates the noise level of an engine, and it releases the purified exhaust gases to an appropriate place in the vehicle, away from its occupant.

Without the exhaust system, nobody will be able to stand the heat from the engine. It regulates it to the barest minimum. Lastly, if there is an issue with your Exhaust, your engine is in danger of failing.

Parts of a Car Exhaust System

Parts of an automobile exhaust system

The exhaust system consists of several components that function together to reduce noise and provide a channel for exhaust gas to exit the engine under the vehicle.

  • Exhaust Pipes:

The exhaust pipe has a link and a basement where the catalyst is found. It links up all the parts of the exhaust system. It permits the engine movement to avoid harm from coming to the exhaust system.

  • The Catalytic converters:

These are fixed between the exhaust manifold and the Muffler. It reduces the harmful release of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons into the environment. It converts toxic engine discharges to carbon dioxide (C02) and water (H2O).

  • Muffler:

This is at the rear side. It is a sound regulator. Nonetheless, it silences the noise of a vehicle's engine as discharges dispense from the exhaust system. It also assists in regulating fuel intake. The more pronounced the noise of the engine is the more intake of fuel.

  • Manifold:

This is directly attached to the engine. It accumulates exhaust gases from two or more cylinders and then channels them into a joint outlet which is the exhaust pipe.

Car exhaust Manifold
  • Oxygen sensor:

This is fixed on the exhaust manifold, the oxygen sensor determines the level of oxygen existing in the Exhaust, and it adds more or less fuel based on the outcome. Excessively oxygen means the fuel used by the car is not sufficient, while a reduced amount of oxygen means too much fuel is being used.

  • Clamps/gasket:

It is essential for the proper sealing and durability of the Exhaust.Furthermore, other exhaust system components include the resonator, which acts as a mini muffler and cancels out some sound made by the vehicle and makes the sound more suitable. Nonetheless, the headers, which are found mostly in high-performance vehicles, works like the exhaust manifold.

The function of the car exhaust system

  • It collects exhaust gases: Exhaust gases are collected by the exhaust manifold from all cylinders and discharged through the exhaust pipe.
  • Works as a sound regulator: it absorbs the engine's sound and reduces the engine's noise with the help of the Muffler. We have a good article on how to quiet an exhaust without losing performance. It would be best if you read it.
  • It restricts harmful gases: It reduces the harmful release of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons into the environment with the aid of Catalytic converters.
  • A car exhaust system improves engine performance: If there is an issue with your exhaust, your engine is in danger of failing. If the amount of time the exhaust gases take to leave your vehicle increases, it will take more time to absorb oxygen and produce more energy. Furthermore, having an exhaust system functioning well or installing a high-performance exhaust system will allow your vehicle to breathe more and even quicker, which means more power and better performance.
  • It improves fuel consumption: The faster the Exhaust, the more fresh oxygen the engine is free to take in, resulting in better fuel economy. Currently, exhaust systems come with an oxygen sensor that determines the amount of oxygen present in the Exhaust. Furthermore, from there, you can add more or less fuel to maximize fuel economy. You can see our article on fuel consumption for more insights.
  • It regulates pollution: Exhaust helps the vehicle to function with reduced smoke and pollution diffused to the atmosphere.

How to improve my exhaust sound?

Problems with a car exhaust system

A vehicle's exhaust sound is affected by different factors. The most vital factor is the size of the engine. The bigger the engine capacity, the louder the exhaust sound. Another factor is the level of restriction of noise in the Exhaust.

Some exhaust noise levels have been extremely restricted. It is worthy to note that restricting the noise of an exhaust means restricting the power. To improve an exhaust sound means to increase the sound of the Exhaust of a car. People have several aims for improving their exhaust sound.

Nonetheless, to improve the exhaust sound, you can replace the Muffler, add or replace the exhaust tip, and increase the exhaust pipe diameter to ½ or 1 inch. Also, when the Exhaust noise is more than usual, you have to look at the Muffler and catalyst, which are the components that regulate sound in Exhaust.

Why do I need an exhaust system in my vehicle?

An exhaust system is essential. You cannot do without it. Without the exhaust system, the engine cannot function well. The exhaust system is what removes the harmful gases produced in the engine. It controls noise coming from the engine, carries harmful gases, and restricts its effect on society. Nevertheless, it improves engine performance and fuel consumption.

Recommended read:

What part of the exhaust is the catalytic converter?

The catalytic converter rests under the car in the exhaust system. It is usually fixed in the middle of the exhaust pipe. It sits between the exhaust manifold and the Muffler.

Therefore, there are two types of catalytic converters. Namely: Bang A and Bang B. One is with the Exhaust Manifold. While the other is at the middle part of the Exhaust. They are linked with an indicator.

Why do some cars have four exhaust pipes?

The size of the engine determines the number of exhaust pipes in a vehicle when a vehicle has more than one exhaust pipe, the liter/volume of the engine increases.

Furthermore, having more exhaust pipes can aid the free flow of the engine and increase the power the engine produces. A vehicle with four exhaust pipes has a 3.5 to 4.5 liters engine. Furthermore, the more the exhaust, the more the fuel intake/consumption. For example, a 6km drive can take up to 10litres of fuel.

Is a cat-back exhaust worth it?

Yes, it is not worth it. A cat-back exhaust makes the Exhaust sounds different from a normal exhaust. You can find this in race cars.

 cat-back exhaust

Role of Muffler in a car exhaust system

How do I know if my car needs a muffler?

You can easily detect this in your automobile when the sound or output from your vehicle exhaust seems to be higher than the initial noise.

Can I drive a vehicle without a muffler?

Yes, however, you will be driving your automobile with a noisy sound.

Is having no muffler is bad for the car?

Yes, it isn't good for a car. Therefore, you will have bad sounds from your vehicle, and the fuel consumption will be high. However, it will not affect the engine performance.

Car Exhaust system replacement

How much does it cost to fix an Exhaust?

It depends on the car. An Exhaust unit is expensive. Furthermore, to fix an exhaust, for example, a corolla 2003 will cost $240.

How much is a new car exhaust?

A new exhaust, for example, a corolla, can cost up to $400.

Maintenance of the car exhaust system

Many factors, such as weather and driving conditions, can affect the life of the exhaust system. Some helpful practice includes:

  • Ensure the combustion system is functioning well.
  • Kindly ensure to clean up the Exhaust surrounding when you drive through a muddy place not to cause rust to the exhaust system.
  • Ensure there is no excess fluid flowing into the Exhaust
  • Kindly ensure the oxygen and heat sensor are regulating the fuel well. If that is not the case, too much fuel will get into the exhaust system.
  • Furthermore, when the fluid flows into the Exhaust and is heated up, the liquid will turn into solid and cause blockage to the exiting hole, thereby polluting the catalytic converter and the Muffler.
  • Lastly, Corrosion, also known as rust, is very harmful to the exhaust system. Corrosion may come from external factors such as rain, snow, and salt.

Notwithstanding, if you drive maybe during the winter when road salt is on the road, make sure to wash the underside of your vehicle with water every week. Salt quickens corrosion or rust; washing it off as fast as possible will help stop the rust.

Furthermore, some factors that will indicate exhaust system problems include decreased power, decreased fuel economy, hissing noises, metallic rattle noises.

In addition to this, an excessively loud engine, exhaust gases, the presence of an engine check light, and physical damage due to the system hanging below the vehicle.

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