Responsible for reducing the toxic gases and emissions produced, your vehicle’s exhaust system is an essential component for safe operation. However, a failing or leaking exhaust can cause dangerous odorless gases to enter the atmosphere and affect air quality. Toxic emissions may also leak into the passenger cabin and cause sickness over extended periods. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look under the hood and discover five reasons why your exhaust may leak and how to prevent it.
Damaged Catalytic Converter
The catalytic converter is a vital component of your vehicle’s antipollution system, and it’s necessary for an exhaust’s proper function. Catalytic converters are responsible for transforming toxic fume particles into less dangerous components before they leave the pipe. While highly efficient, this mechanism can overheat, harbor fuel in the emission, and fade out. You may notice a sulfurous smell in the cabin or coming from the exhaust when this happens.
Fuel can cause an exhaust leak is various ways. A combination of air and fuel could be pouring unreacted gasoline into the exhaust system, causing a gasoline smell in the cabin. A surplus of fuel or air could also make its way to the engine, where the system cannot efficiently compensate. If gasoline gets into the exhaust, it can damage the catalytic converter and cause flares.
Engines are no strangers to small oil leaks. But with a more major oil leak, the oil can drip into the hot exhaust pipe and burn, causing a foul odor in the cabin. Oil leakage may indicate engine wear and require new gaskets or seals.
The studs that connect the manifold to the cylinder may deteriorate over time. Driving over potholes, debris, and other road hazards may also shake bellows loose. The signs you need new bellows are hard to ignore, so you’ll want to correct the issue immediately. Without the bellows’ extra shock absorption, each impact can cause the motor to move back and forth.
A damaged engine may also be responsible for an exhaust leak. Once the exhaust leaks, it can no longer transport toxic fumes away from the engine.
There are many reasons why your exhaust may leak, but detecting them early is your best defense to ensure they don’t affect your vehicle’s efficiency. Having an automotive mechanic routinely service your vehicle will help.