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Tech Talk

Exhaust Systems Repair

Exhaust systems repair work is an important part of what we do here at Brake Works, but it’s up to you to notice the telltale signs of problems with this vital part of your vehicle.  Here’s a look at the major components of the exhaust system, what they do, and the kinds of problems they can develop.  If you notice any of these symptoms, bring your car or truck to us right away.

- The exhaust manifold bolts directly to your engine’s cylinder head.  Its job is to provide an escape for the gasses created by burning fuel.  It looks like a bunch of tubes that all run together into a single pipe.  Never touch it!  It gets extremely hot and can cause severe burns, even if the car isn’t running. 
 

  • The exhaust manifold can develop problems over time because it expands and contracts with the heat passing through it.  It’s made of special materials that can withstand this for years.  But over time, these compounds eventually develop leaks, either in the manifold itself, or at the gasket where it bolts to the engine.  This is especially true on some late-model vehicles that use thinner castings to save weight.
     
  • Some symptoms of exhaust manifold trouble include a popping or hissing noise during engine operation, discolored or burnt paint on the cylinder head, or evidence of melting or burns on the spark plug wires.
     
  • These sorts of problems are extremely dangerous to your safety.  That’s because they can allow exhaust gasses to pour directly into the vehicle interior, where they can make you ill, cause you to pass out, or even kill you.  If you suspect exhaust manifold trouble, then come see us right away.  In the meantime, you may want to drive with a window down as much as possible to lower your risk of asphyxiation.

- The exhaust manifold/head pipe connection – This is the next part of the system.  In modern cars, there are a variety of gaskets and flanges that are intended to prevent wear at this point.  However, these fail over time.  Signs of this kind of trouble include hissing or popping sounds, discoloration around the connection, or missing hangars or other parts – all reasons to have us check it out.

- The oxygen sensor helps the engine to maintain the proper fuel/air mixture, which in turn promotes both cleaner emissions and better fuel economy.  Over time this component can fail.  First signs of this usually include poor MPG rates and higher levels of exhaust gasses in the emissions.  If these problems are ignored, it can eventually result in overheating of the catalytic converter.  That in turn can form blockages in the exhaust system, which can cause severe engine damage.

  • If you notice a reduction in fuel economy, or if you fail an emissions inspection, come see us right away.  We’ll check to see if the oxygen sensor is to blame.  If it is, we’ll replace it with a new one that will save you money on gas, as well as prevent needless pollution of the air we all breathe.

 

- The catalytic converter is the next stop for emissions gasses on their way to the tailpipe.  A feature of cars since the 1970s, the converter changes harmful gasses into harmless ones. 

 

  • When it begins to fail, signs can include poor gas mileage; an inability to accelerate beyond low speeds, and highly polluted emissions. 
     
  • Make an appointment to bring your vehicle in if you notice any of these symptoms.  We can isolate the problem and fix it, getting you back on the road right away.

- The muffler’s main job is to dampen the noise levels that come from the exhaust system.  Over time it can rust or develop holes, causing loud operation or poor engine performance.  Often it only takes a visual inspection to reveal these problems.  Our technicians can outfit you with a new muffler, ensuring that your car or truck is as quiet as the day it rolled off the dealer’s lot.

- Last but not least, the tailpipe is the point where the engine gasses enter the atmosphere.  Over time it too can corrode, or become damaged by striking objects on the road surface.  Any of the symptoms discussed earlier can be signs of a damaged tail pipe.  As before, the solution is to bring your vehicle into Brake Works.  We have reasonable prices and the tools, training, and hands-on experience to keep your vehicle running safely at peak performance. So whether you need exhaust systems repair or just routine maintenance, you won’t go wrong by coming to us.