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Exhaust system - Tips on check-up, common defects and replacement

The combustion gases of gasoline and diesel engines are very hot and also extremely toxic. The exhaust system was developed to displace the gases properly. But these components have more tasks than just the displacement of the exhaust gases.
An exhaust system is primarily used to dissipate the engine smoke in such a way that it does not cause any damage in or outside the vehicle. The second task of the exhaust system is not less important. The explosion sounds that would arise in a normal operating cycle of the engine are reduced so much as to create acceptable noise. Here exhaust systems can also help by giving the vehicle a robust and a characterful sound. The third task of the exhaust system is the purification of the combustion fumes.

Components of the exhaust system

An exhaust system has three components:
    1. The tubing extends directly from the engine block to the tail pipe. The components are a manifold, a down pipe, a flexible pipe, a center pipe and a tailpipe. Diverse silencers are integrated in the piping. These can be front, center, and rear muffler. 2. The exhaust gas purification is made of catalyst and lambda probe. In the catalyst, the toxic nitrogen-oxide gas resulting from the combustion is decomposed into harmless nitrogen and oxygen molecules. The lambda probe measures the gas concentration in the hot exhaust gas and passes the values to the control unit. This regulates the fuel supply of the engine so that no damage is done to the catalyst. 3. The accessories consists of various clamps and gaskets, which are necessary for the installation and operation of an exhaust system. They include end pieces and panels which can improve the looks of the vehicle. These rubbers are highly stressed and prone to cracking. Once a damage is determined, the rubber should be replaced.

Common defects in exhaust systems

The worst enemy of exhaust systems is the rust. Since exhaust systems are exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations, it is hardly possible to prevent any damages to the rust preventive coating. Except for a very expensive pure stainless steel exhaust, there is no way to make a durable rust-resistant exhaust system. The individual components rust in different degrees.
The silencers provide a large contact surface for rust. In case of damage, a slow increase in an engine noise is noticeable. These components are generally so inexpensive that a replacement is cheap, fast and durable.
The flex pipe is usually made of stainless steel. It helps to compensate vibrations from the engine and to save the catalyst from unnecessary vibration. The strong movements and the hot-cold change have a highly destructive effect on the flexible pipe. Should it break, the motor will get extremely noisy because there is nothing left to reduce the engine noise. Flexible pipes are also very inexpensive and easy to change. Exhaust manifolds are made of a heavy cast iron pipe and usually last the car's lifetime. Likewise, the center tube is usually also very durable.
The catalyst consists of a ceramic body which is coated with platinum. This platinum layer usually lasts forever. However, it can be damaged by the inevitable vibration of the ceramic body. If a defective catalyst has not been already detected in the emissions test, it can be felt as a rattling and clattering. In this case an immediate replacement is recommended: A defective but still present ceramic body in the catalyst can still be sold to a recycler. The empty housing is however worthless.

Legal framework

Exhaust systems are safety-relevant components and they also have ecological importance. Defective exhaust systems are very harmful to the environment due to their faulty cleaning and damping function. The deliberate driving of a vehicle with a defective exhaust is illegal and can be fined.

Tips for getting an exhaust system

For normal small cars and mid-size vehicles the exhaust systems are usually very inexpensive. At AutopartsPro.co.uk you will always find interesting promotions. One can scarcely prevent the wear of exhaust systems. Regular checks of rubber holders, if they are alright and in place, help to avoid harmful voltages or tearing of the exhaust. Otherwise, it is important to replace defective parts at an early stage, to maintain the operational reliability of the vehicle.

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