Your exhaust system is an important part of your car and maintaining it is key. Keeping exhaust systems maintained is primarily about one thing: rust prevention.
Rust (corrosion) happens when the metal components of your exhaust system are exposed to moisture – usually from weather elements like rain and snow, and also from water vapor that happens as part of the combustion process.
WHAT IS THE EXHAUST SYSTEM?
Your vehicle’s engine is connected to a system of parts that work together to carry the byproducts from the gasoline combustion process from the engine, through the tailpipe, and safely away from your car or truck. This system also helps to reduce noise. There are a few essential parts in this system:
The catalytic converter uses a catalyst (platinum and palladium) to convert three harmful compounds of your vehicle’s exhaust (hydrocarbons – unburned gasoline, carbon monoxide – formed by gasoline combustion, and nitrogen oxides – created when the engine’s heat forces nitrogen from the air to combine with oxygen) into harmless compounds. The catalyst helps to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water, and nitrogen oxides back into nitrogen and water.
A muffler is installed within exhaust systems – although it doesn’t serve a primary exhaust function. Auto mufflers are designed to be a “soundproofing” device that helps to quiet the noise created by the engine, which is how it gets it’s name – it “muffles” the sound. There is also a trade-off when auto mufflers are used, you trade power increase for noise reduction. Auto mufflers also cause an increase of back pressure which decreases engine efficiency. So the choice is yours if auto mufflers are right for you.
Your vehicle’s tailpipe discharges any remaining exhaust vapors/gases following the full combustion process.
WHY ARE EXHAUST SYSTEMS IMPORTANT?
When exhaust systems are functioning as they should, the gases that are created as part of the fuel combustion process are safely processed and carried away from the vehicle. Exhaust contains carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous to people and animals – so leaks in your exhaust system could be a big problem. Check your exhaust system on a regular basis, and if you notice any warning signs (if your car sounds different – is loud or begins making a deep rumbling noise when running), bring your car in to be checked, since this can be a sign of an exhaust problem.
WINTER WEATHER? RINSE OFF THE SALT!
If you live in a colder climate (like we do here in Brighton, MI), your car or truck will be exposed to road salt for a significant portion of the year. While this keeps the roads passable when the snow starts to fall, salt is corrosive – which is not good news for your vehicle’s exhaust system. Many exhaust systems suffer from rust due to this corrosion. To prevent rust and corrosion during the winter months, have your undercarriage rinsed every few weeks. Removing the salt on a regular basis will help to maintain your exhaust system by minimizing corrosion and rust.
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