Exhaust Leaks: How To Find And Fix Them

Exhaust leaks can be the last thing you want to encounter as a driver. They make an annoying noise, affect your vehicle’s performance, can be harmful to the environment, and, in rare situations, can even be dangerous if they are too close to fuel or flammable elements. Luckily, you can find exhaust leaks and fix them yourself. The experts at Performance Muffler offer advice and tips to handle an exhaust leak on your own. 

How Does the Exhaust System Work

If you’re looking for a quick refresher on how exhaust systems work, take a glance at some of the other blogs to give you a better understanding of how the exhaust system plays a role in your car’s performance:

How to Find an Exhaust Leak

The first step to solving any problem is identifying it. Exhaust pipes can get hot, so it is smart to check for a leak while the vehicle is cold and has been off for a good amount of time. There is typically a leak in one of three areas:

  • The mounting surface of the engine
  • The downpipe/catalytic converter 
  • The manifold itself, which is the cast iron/stainless steel unit that collects gas from different cylinders and tunnels them through the exhaust pipe, can crack

With these areas in mind, you can knowledgeably start your inspection. First, pop the hood and check the exhaust manifold. You may not be able to see the manifold if it is covered by a heat shield, but you can still listen near the top of the manifold. A leak can make a variety of noises, but it can be audibly enhanced by revving the engine, which will change the frequency of the leak’s noise. So, this can help you distinguish it from any other odd noises, such as an engine knock or lifter noise. 

A ticking sound that seems to be lower down the engine, likely indicates the problem is either the flange gasket connecting the manifold or the catalytic converter. When the vehicle is cold, you can put your car on ramps to thoroughly follow and inspect the exhaust system. Feel around the pipes for any air leaking out. 

How to Fix an Exhaust Leak

For a leak at the manifold or joints, replacing the failed gasket will seal the leak. Each joint has a replaceable gasket, making for a convenient fix. The only issue might be rusted nuts or bolts, making it slightly difficult to remove. When you fix a leak at a joint, you will want to ensure that the surfaces are clean. Material by an old gasket can accumulate, so a wire brush can be helpful to clean any build up. 

If you are replacing a muffler, resonator, or catalytic converter, keep in mind that these items may be welded in place, rather than clamped or bolted down. You will likely need to cut out items with a hack or reciprocating saw. If you ever have any doubt or worry about your process, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Performance Muffler to help assist your exhaust leak fixes. 

For any fast and temporary fixes, epoxy bonds and tape do the trick. But you’ll want to clean these surfaces before applying, so they can have an optimal impact. A fix like this may last for a decent amount of time, but remember that it is just a temporary fix for any emergency situation. It’s best to take your vehicle to a professional sooner rather than later. 

Final Thoughts

The car’s exhaust system is a vital component to your car’s performance and lifetime. Don’t mess with or sit on exhaust leak for a long time. It will damage your car. Let the vehicle sit, and try to find and fix the problem on your own. If you discover the issue is too big to handle by yourself, seek professionals to efficiently and affordably take care of your ride. 

About Performance Muffler

Performance Muffler is a garage for people who “get it.” First opening our doors in 2007, we have been a top shop for custom exhaust work in the Phoenix area ever since. Visit our website to see how we stand out in quality, experience, and customer service. 

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