How Long Do Exhaust Systems Last? 

Common car issues include: a flat tire, dead battery, or a sputtering engine. Something vehicle owners can let slip their minds is how crucial the exhaust system is. As cars get more and more modern and sustainable, we think they’re built to last forever. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, especially for your vehicle’s exhaust system. 

Understanding Your Exhaust’s Lifespan  

As a reminder, your exhaust system’s purpose is to help the vehicle run smoothly, convert harmful gasses to safer emissions, and reduce noise. It primarily consists of the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, resonator and muffler, and exhaust pipes. Each component has a different function, but they all work together to run your vehicle efficiently. The more effective each component is, the better the vehicle is. 

Vehicle manufacturers design exhaust components, most of which are made of stainless-steel or aluminized-steel, to last a long time. Yet, there’s no set timeline to predict their lifespan. Unlike, for example, predicting when you need an oil change or tire rotation, along with other annual vehicle tasks. This uncertainty is because many different factors impact its durability. Exhaust components face extremely high temperatures (and frequent temperature changes), and your location’s climate can play a part too. 

Since each component plays its own role, the entire exhaust system won’t fail at once. Rather, small problems will have a domino effect. Vehicle owners ought to pay close attention to their exhaust system for this reason. 

Causes of Physical Damage to Your Exhaust System

The most common exhaust system failures occur when the rubber gaskets and hangers deteriorate. A vehicle’s rubber gasket seals against both liquids and gasses, and they’re found between connected parts, such as the manifold to a header. Exhaust hangers are rubber mounts to keep the exhaust pipe in place. These smaller components can undergo the most temperature and pressure change, accelerating their demise. 

Apart from the exhaust rubber gaskets and hangers, other components are vulnerable to problems. Within these other problematic components, the catalytic converter and muffler are the biggest culprits. The catalytic converter typically lasts 10 years, and the more you use your vehicle the more quickly it’ll fail. It gets clogged, contaminated from coolant, or physically damaged. On the other hand, your muffler should last 5 to 7 years. It’ll deteriorate from excessive use too, and also when other exhaust components fail it hurts the muffler more, since it’s at the end of the exhaust system. 

How Do I Know If My Exhaust Needs Replacing? 

There are common, obvious signs you need to replace your exhaust system. You should periodically inspect every element to your exhaust system (or have a trusted mechanic do this). But the biggest warning signs include:

  • Excessive noises
  • Worse performance
  • Burning or gas smells
  • Physical damage to components 

Is It Worth Replacing the Exhaust?

Yes, it is worth it for every vehicle owner to not only replace the exhaust but replace it in a timely manner. On the small scale, an exhaust problem can mean a rattling sound or corroded gasket. On the larger end, an exhaust problem can mean your vehicle is emitting dangerous, toxic gasses into the environment and maybe even into your interior. Additionally, a replaced, well-functioning exhaust system contributes to better fuel economy, performance, and noise. 

Need to Replace or Upgrade Your Exhaust? Contact Us

Performance Muffler is proud to be your go-to garage for exhaust work and repairs. You can even get a custom exhaust and discover all the benefits that come with it. We’ve been a top automotive shop in the Phoenix area for over 15 years. 

Contact Performance Muffler today for a free quote

About Performance Muffler

Learn more about Performance Muffler and the services we offer. We have locations in Phoenix, Peoria, and Glendale. 

Want to learn more automotive insights and tips? You can browse our blog. We provide expert advice for everything from how excessive sunlight can damage your vehicle to the top 5 car shows in Arizona and more. 

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