Car Care Exhaust System


  1. Catalytic Converter
  2. Exhaust Gaskets
  3. Exhaust Manifold
  4. Exhaust Pipe
  5. Muffler

Catalytic Converter

Description: Closely resembling a muffler in appearance, the catalytic converter is located in the exhaust system and has an outer shell made of stainless steel. The similarity with a muffler ends there as catalytic converters contain a catalyst made from a noble metal such as platinum, palladium or rhodium. A catalyst is defined as anything that induces or accelerates a change. At least one catalytic converter has been used on cars since 1975; today, cars may have two or more depending on the engine configuration and manufacturer.

Purpose: Using its internal catalyst, a catalytic converter's job is to greatly reduce the level of harmful emissions in a cars exhaust. Namely, these are carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen. All of these emissions are serious health and environmental hazards, plus they contribute to the formation of photochemical smog. A catalytic converter changes these poisonous gases to harmless carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, and water. In a simplistic way, the catalytic converter can almost be thought of as an engine of its own. The converter uses fuel and oxygen to light off its internal catalyst, which consumes a large portion of the gases flowing through the converter. Although a converter greatly reduces emissions, it does not eliminate them altogether.

Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: Catalytic converters do not require maintenance of their own, but their long-term livelihood depends on proper care and maintenance of your vehicle. As an example, if your vehicle begins to run rough, produces smoke from the tailpipe, or the SERVICE ENGINE SOON or CHECK ENGINE light appears, have it checked out immediately by a professional technician. This is especially true if the SERVICE ENGINE SOON or CHECK ENGINE flashes rather than being steadily lit. Neglecting these warning signs can cause expensive damage to the converter, requiring replacement. Symptoms of a faulty or failing converter may include failing an emissions test, poor performance, increased engine temperature, and bucking or hesitation.

Exhaust Gaskets

Description: Exhaust manifold gaskets may be made of embossed steel, sometimes in multiple layers. These gaskets may also be made of high-temperature fibre material, graphite, and ceramic composites, among others. Some gaskets use a combination of different materials. Other types of exhaust gaskets include flange gaskets and ring gaskets located at various connection points in the exhaust system. These gaskets are usually made from the same types of materials as exhaust manifold gaskets.

Purpose: An exhaust manifold gasket seals the exhaust manifold to the cylinder head. On V6 and V8 engines, there are two exhaust manifolds and therefore require two manifold gaskets. An exhaust manifold gasket seals the connection between the manifold and cylinder head. This prevents exhaust leakage out of the connection and also ensures that all exhaust gas will flow through the catalytic converter for treatment. Flange and ring gaskets seal other connection points in the exhaust system, such as between the exhaust pipe and exhaust manifold.

Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: Have your vehicle's exhaust system inspected periodically to keep your car safe. Exhaust gas, especially carbon monoxide, can be deadly if it enters the interior of the car. The symptoms of an exhaust leak may include a louder than normal exhaust sound, the sound of exhaust coming from unusual places on your car, a ticking noise when accelerating, and the smell of exhaust. However, don't rely on your sense of smell as a conclusive means of determining if there's an exhaust leak. Carbon monoxide has no odour. If you suspect any problem with the exhaust system, have it inspected immediately by a professional technician. Another symptom of a potential exhaust leak is a failed emissions test. A leak not only lets exhaust gas out, it also allows oxygen to enter the exhaust stream, which can be detected during an emissions test. You will usually be required to make repairs before retesting, so have the leak checked by a professional technician.

Exhaust Manifold

Description: Made of cast iron or tubular steel, the exhaust manifold mounts to the exhaust side of the cylinder head. An exhaust manifold gasket is used at the connection to ensure a good seal. Engines with their cylinders arranged in-line usually have one exhaust manifold. Engines with V-type cylinder arrangements, like the V6 and V8, have two separate exhaust manifolds, one mounted to each cylinder head.

Purpose: The exhaust manifold routes the exhaust gases leaving the cylinder head to the exhaust system. As such, the manifold also serves as a connection point for the exhaust pipe. Depending on engine configuration and the number of exhaust manifolds, there may be two exhaust pipe connections. Depending on the year, make and emissions equipment installed on the vehicle, the exhaust manifold may also serve as a mounting location for hardware of the air injection system or for an oxygen sensor. Also, some exhaust manifolds may still include a heat riser valve, controlled by a temperature-sensitive spring. This valve is designed to help divert hot exhaust gas through a separate passage in the intake manifold to aid in better warm-up driveability.

Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: Although not commonly replaced with other exhaust system parts, exhaust manifolds should be checked periodically to ensure they are tight, free from cracks, and that the exhaust pipe mounts are secure. A ticking noise during acceleration or the sound or smell of leaking exhaust could indicate a leak at the manifold or its connections. However, don't rely on your sense of smell as a conclusive means of determining if there's an exhaust leak. Carbon monoxide has no odour. If you suspect any problem with the exhaust system, have it inspected immediately by a professional technician. Another symptom of a potential exhaust leak is a failed emissions test. A leak not only lets exhaust gas out, it also allows oxygen to enter the exhaust stream, which can be detected during an emissions test. You will usually be required to make repairs before retesting, so have the leak checked by a professional technician.

Exhaust Pipe

Description: Exhaust pipe is a general term for several different pipes used throughout the exhaust system. Although configurations vary with different makes, models and engines, there is usually a front exhaust pipe connecting the exhaust manifold to the catalytic converter, an intermediate exhaust pipe connecting the catalytic converter to the muffler, and a tailpipe connected to the outlet of the muffler and serving as the exhaust outlet. Exhaust pipes may be made of standard or stainless steel.

Purpose: Exhaust pipes route exhaust gas away from the engine, through the catalytic converter and muffler and out the rear of the vehicle. As a result, pollution and sound are reduced, while ensuring safety by directing exhaust gas away from the vehicle.

Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: Have your vehicle's exhaust system inspected periodically to keep your car safe. Exhaust pipes may not be individually replaceable due to the condition of other exhaust system components, or because the original exhaust system uses a unitized construction, where sections are welded together. Keep in mind that exhaust gas, especially carbon monoxide, can be deadly if it enters the interior of the car. The symptoms of an exhaust leak may include a louder than normal exhaust sound, the sound of exhaust coming from unusual places on your car, a ticking noise when accelerating, and the smell of exhaust. However, don't rely on your sense of smell as a conclusive means of determining if there's an exhaust leak. Carbon monoxide has no odour. If you suspect any problem with the exhaust system, have it inspected immediately by a professional technician. Another symptom of a potential exhaust leak is a failed emissions test. A leak not only lets exhaust gas out, it also allows oxygen to enter the exhaust stream, which can be detected during an emissions test. You will usually be required to make repairs before retesting, so have the leak checked by a professional technician.

Muffler

Description: A standard or stainless steel casing containing an array of baffles and other sound-insulating material to reduce exhaust noise. Some cars may use several mufflers, or a secondary muffler called a resonator.

Purpose: The muffler reduces and changes engine exhaust sound and tone. When properly matched to the engine, a muffler will not impair engine performance due to exhaust back-pressure, which is simply the resistance to exhaust flow.

Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: Have your vehicle's exhaust system inspected periodically to keep your car safe. The muffler may not be individually replaceable due to the condition of other exhaust system components, or because the original exhaust system uses a unitized construction, where sections are welded together. Keep in mind that exhaust gas, especially carbon monoxide, can be deadly if it enters the interior of the car. The symptoms of an exhaust leak may include a louder than normal exhaust sound, the sound of exhaust coming from unusual places on your car, a ticking noise when accelerating, and the smell of exhaust. However, don't rely on your sense of smell as a conclusive means of determining if there is an exhaust leak. Carbon monoxide has no odour. If you suspect any problem with the exhaust system, have it inspected immediately by a professional technician. Another symptom of a potential exhaust leak is a failed emissions test. A leak not only lets exhaust gas out, it also allows oxygen to enter the exhaust stream, which can be detected during an emissions test. You will usually be required to make repairs before retesting, so have the leak checked by a professional technician.