You may not give much thought to your car’s exhaust system—but maybe you should. A healthy exhaust system is vital for keeping your car running smoothly and quietly. And that’s not all the exhaust system does. It also prevents you from inhaling noxious fumes while you’re in the vehicle. Finally, the exhaust system enhances fuel efficiency while reducing emissions—meaning it’s good for your wallet and for the environment.
Exhaust systems don’t always run the way they are supposed to, though, and sooner or later you may need to invest in exhaust repair. The good news is, when your exhaust system does need work, it will tell you pretty clearly. All you have to do is watch out for the warning signs.
The Telltale Signs of a Bad Exhaust System
Here are a few of the specific signs that you need exhaust repair:
You hear a rumbling noise. When the exhaust system starts to give out, you should start to hear a low rumbling sound coming from the muffler or the engine. It’ll get louder over time, to the point where your vehicle sounds like an airplane getting ready for takeoff. Some people actually like this sound—it makes the vehicle sound powerful—but know that it is actually the sign of a serious problem.
You sense vibrations. Sometimes, a bad exhaust system won’t cause noise—but it will cause vibrations. You’ll feel these tremors under your feet as you drive, and also in your hands as they are on the steering wheel. These vibrations point to an exhaust problem, but they can also be safety hazards in their own right—so make sure you get them diagnosed as soon as you can.
You notice diminished fuel efficiency. Do you feel like you are filling up the gas tank more often than normal? There are several possible reasons for that—beginning with bad tires. A bad exhaust system could also be the culprit, though—so you may want to have the vehicle looked at.
You start smelling something nasty. Your exhaust system helps to channel bad smells out of your cabin—but when the exhaust system fails, it may not be able to do this effectively. You may start to notice some pretty foul smells when you’re in your vehicle—chemical burning smells, or even just the faint whiff of gasoline and oil.
You see smoke coming from your tail pipe. One of the key components of the exhaust system is the muffler—but if you notice smoke coming out of the muffler, that’s one of the most obvious signs that your system is failing you. With this, and with any of these other indicators, it’s recommended that you have your exhaust system serviced by an auto shop near you as soon as you can.