If you’ve ever sat in traffic or walked behind an idling car, you have an idea of how harmful exhaust gases can be. Without a working exhaust system, they could be even worse. Your vehicle exhaust and emission control system is meant to dampen the noise made by the vehicle and control the harmful gases and pollutants your car emits. A healthy exhaust system means a healthier environment and a quieter car on the road.
Exhaust System Components
These aren’t your grandfather’s exhaust systems. Modern cars still use a fairly traditional setup for exhaust, but the materials available make cars quieter and cleaner than ever. Aluminum blends and alloys allow heat to dissipate more quickly and create a more efficient system.
When you think about an exhaust system, it’s usually the muffler that gets the attention. This is probably because it’s at the end of the line. In general, there are two kinds of mufflers: baffled chambered mufflers and those using sound absorbing materials. The baffled chamber mufflers use corridors and plates to deflect the sound waves inside the chamber to reduce the noise and force.
The sound absorbing varieties are usually straight chambers that use metal, perforated pipe, fiberglass or other materials well-suited to sound absorption. This type of muffler is also intended to reduce back pressure of the exhaust gases back to the engine and, as a result, isn’t usually as quiet as the baffle chamber variety.
Service and Maintenance
The most common service items for exhaust systems are the muffler and catalytic converter. The muffler reduces noise and the catalytic converter reduces pollution. Both are fairly tough items and require little direct maintenance, repair or service. A faulty catalytic converter and muffler are generally signs of poor maintenance in another area of the vehicle.
Your car produces carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, phosphorous, lead and other heavy metals and nitrogen oxides while it runs. The catalytic converter turns the harmful gases and emissions into relatively harmless ones that are much less harmful to the environment.
Engine skipping and other inefficiencies lead to fuel and fuel vapor being unburned. The unburned fuel eventually finds its way into the catalytic converter and causes it to overheat. This causes damage to the coating made of precious metals. When the coating becomes corrupted, the system breaks down and you will have to replace the catalytic converter. This preventable repair could cost you thousands.
Your vehicle’s exhaust system is a low maintenance item. But if you don’t take care of the other systems in your vehicle it can cost you extra thousands to replace it.