Hints for Exhaust System Maintenance

Hints for exhaust system maintenance reminds us that even though it may not be obviously having some problems on the exhaust system, it is better to always check for immediate repair if ever there are even if it is minor.

Here are some hints for exhaust system maintenance for us to consider.   Critical Checkpoints of the Exhaust System that are still good and are not being replaced should be visually checked.  Starting at the front of the car, make your way to the rear.


Manifold to Exhaust pipe joint:
Gasket sealer ring may be made of cast iron, powdered metal or asbestos compound packing.

Hints for Exhaust System Maintenance Manifold

Look for pin size holes, excessive rust, cracks, and deterioration.

Hints for Exhaust System Maintenance bends


To find faulty brackets, gently force the muffler up and down to see which one is damaged or broken.  When you work on brackets, you will probably find that nuts are easier to remove by using a set of deep six point sockets instead of 1/2 or 9 inches open, box wrench combinations.  If you work on Japanese of European cars (eg. Toyota, Datsun, Colt, Volks, etc.)  metric size tools are probably needed.

Hints for Exhaust System Maintenance brackets


Clamp  (If there is any)
Tighten loose clamps.

Hints for Exhaust System Maintenance clamps

Check for breaks around the perimeter of the endplates, pinholes, and defective muffler baffles.

Hints for Exhaust System Maintenance muffler

Exhaust noises caused by pressure waves in the gasses are regular and normal.  Mufflers usually deteriorate from inside out, so damage may not be visible.  If the muffler begins to rattle and produces excessive noise, the cause is usually a mechanical failure.  Most common defects are loose or damaged baffles or clogged flow tubes.  Also, pay attention to both end plates of the muffler. Tap the muffler with your hand or lightly with a metal tool.  Listen to suspicious sounds made by falling flakes of rust and for rattles from loose tubes or baffles.  A muffler that has deteriorated inside often emits a dull sounding noise rather than a metallic ring when tapped with a metal tool.

If you suspect an exhaust system leak, locate it by means of smoke signals.  Pour kerosene or light oil (or carburetor cleaner, if you have any) into the carburetor while the engine is idling fast.  The smoke produced will seep through and reveal even the tiniest pinhole which will be easily visible on the car.  Sometimes exhaust leaks may be detected by a hissing sound.    


Smoking Car

A simple cause of a smoking car is a loose crankcase bolt.

Hints for Exhaust System Maintenance-smoking car

If your car smokes like this, and afterward you find that it is coming from the oil filter cap, tighten those oil pan screws.  They need tightening to maintain crankcase vacuum. Other causes may be defective pump gaskets, front cover gaskets, intake manifold end seal, and crankshaft seal.  But this is unlikely.




14 thoughts on “Hints for Exhaust System Maintenance”

  1. I really liked reading your post. I am not really a car savvy but I always like to know what is going on with my car, so that I can be able to get the proper repair. And your post just taught me a lot about the exhaust system. I did not know that I had to check the system from the front of the car to the back, I just knew it was on the back, LOL.

    Thanks for sahring

    • Thanks, Adyn. The exhaust system starts from under the hood of your car and extends at the back. Two things can help you determine if there is an issue or a problem: a smoke and a sound. When you smell or see something frequent that you cannot immediately see maybe that comes from your exhaust system.

      You have to have somebody to assist you. It’s either you or that somebody will examine the hood while the engine is idle. Have the engine be accelerated if any smoke or sound aggravates. If nothing under the hood try to see the exhaust pipe and the muffler under your car.

  2. When it comes giving valid information on issues with the car, I can always trust you. You see, ionce had an issue myself and it was something as simple as the clamp that just needed it’s bold to be a little more tighten. Since then,I have been taking note of things related to my car. I like how you have given all this hints and given problems and solutions. Thank you a big bunch. I’ll share this post most definitely.

    • Thanks, John. Exactly, sounds can help us determine what the issue is and loosened nuts can just be tightened so it will not break and needs more expenses and more task to do.

      Thank you for your support and I hope you come again on this website and look for things that benefits you.

  3. Hello! Thanks so much for this article. I think my muffler is spoil because my car has been making a whole lot of noise whenever I try to accelerate a bit which is very strange to the car’s sound. Seeing that the exhaust is the issue, I decided to research if it is what I can attend to myself. Thanks so much for the details given on it. I will surely take note as to make sure to look at the muffler and try to tighten it. Thanks so much.

    • Thanks, Roland. Now you have a hint and you can fix it. Am sure you would have somebody to assist you in the acceleration so you can go and determine the sound where it comes and you will also see if there are smoke emitted. 

  4. Thanks for this tips on how to maintain one exhaust. Most people don’t give attention to maintaining various parts ofnthe ur cars and lack of maintenance of these cars lead to spoiling off various parts, and in the end spend more money to fix them while they can spend little in maintaining them. I am glad to have learned how to clean my exhaust here, now I can easily do it myself. Thanks for sharing 

    • Hi, Chloe. You are right, we should not ignore things if we noticed them. Fixing them immediately can save us from expensive repairs. Loose bolts and nuts when not tightened will definitely break and will give us more time, more money to invest on repairs.

  5. Exhaiset pipes are very integral to a car and getting them to work in perfectly stable condition has been a task for car owners like us. Thanks for taking so much time to explain how the exhaust system work. At least, I would be sure that irrespective of what is going on, I would not be scared concerning my exhaust system again. At least, I have the knowledge about various possible things that could serve as causes of any form of issues with my exhaust. Thanks so much

    • Thanks, Mattias for contributing your opinion on the article. We, as owners of a car really want to have it the best performance every time and we do not ignore small things as long as we can fix them after immediate notice.

  6. I remember recently  when my dad’s car was having some serious smoke out of the engine part just like the picture you have added below this post. He called it overheating, I don’t know if that is even connected to the exhaust system. I think my dad needs to read this post. His car emits some bad amount of smoke too and I believe it’s not helpful to the car. Nice post here on the maintenance of the car.

    • Hi, Henderson. If the smoke comes from overheating it should not emit fowl odor and smoke. If your dad’s car engine is diesel and the exhaust bends have perforations or holes I’m sure when you advance along the road you will smell the exhaust smoke. I suggest you help your dad in examining his car and determine where that smoke comes from.

  7. Wow, I just feel this post is meant for me. I’m a bit obsessed with my car, maybe not obsession but very careful with it especially it’s maintenance. I love cleaning it by myself and even doing some fixing on my own, except it requires expertise I don’t give it out. I’m pleased you took your time to help with the maintenance of the exhaust of ones car and I must confess I really have benefited from reading through. Now I have a better understanding on how to clean mine. Thanks for your time. 

    • Thanks, Dane. I feel and I hear you, we all love our car. My obsession on engines started with a motorcycle and to the four wheels. Although I don’t have much cars, I only have an old one that taught me how maintenance is administered.

      We can really learn especially when the issue comes right under our hands we have to explore and do the things needed to be done. At first when I notice some irregularities in my vehicle I always consult a technician. But in the long run I learned from them. I also went to a short course on engine overhauling so I have an understanding about it.

      I’m sure you love your car and am sure you will learn from it. If you are not sure and the work is a little risky and sensitive consult the mechanics and next time it will happen you know what to do.


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