Understanding Exhaust System Repair in Downriver Michigan

Exhaust repair

Exhaust repair in Downriver Michigan can be a tricky topic for many drivers, as cost and complexity can vary widely. Your car’s exhaust system may seem straightforward, but in fact relies on a complex network of pipes to efficiently – and safely – emit exhaust fumes from the tailpipe. If you’re faced with an exhaust repair, or simply want to better your understanding of the system’s function, read on; this articles for you!

Understanding Exhaust System Repair in Downriver Michigan

The exhaust system of a car serves as a conduit for which it routes exhaust gasses – biproducts of combustion – out the tailpipe. The exhaust manifold is affixed directly to the motor and accepts exhaust gases from each cylinder before tapering into one individual pipe that connects with the rest of the system. Some performance vehicles will use headers in place of a manifold. With headers, instead of tapering into one pipe, each cylinder will have its own pipe (or “header”) that routes into the rest of the exhaust system resulting in a more efficient flow.

There exists a myriad of exhaust configurations; some for aesthetics, some for performance, and some for both. Regardless of your exhaust plumbing, the exhaust system’s primary purpose is to take spent gases from the engine and deliver them to the outside. This is not the only function, however. The exhaust system also cleans exhaust via the catalytic converter and reduces engine noise through the implementation of one or more mufflers (sometimes called “silencers”).

Understanding Exhaust System Repair in Downriver Michigan

The Cat

Although it doesn’t meow or purr, the catalytic converter is often referred to as a cat for short and is generally the costliest portion of an exhaust system to replace. Cars often use one or more cats to scrub exhaust fumes of harmful hydrocarbons before they exit into the atmosphere. They do this by using superheated precious metals like platinum (hence the high cost) which can convert much of an engine’s harmful emissions into water. Although they don’t enhance a vehicle’s performance, catalytic converters are generally considered mandatory and required for all roadworthy vehicles anywhere in the country. A faulty catalytic converter will typically result in a car that won’t pass inspection.


Cars are inherently loud. Because gas engines work by creating over one hundred small, controlled explosions every minute, sound is a necessary evil. With so many cars on the road today, noise pollution becomes a real concern. This is where your muffler comes in. The muffler works by employing a series of chambers that allow hot gasses to expand, resulting in drastically reduced sound output. They are also tuned to create a more pleasing engine note instead of a deafening roar. Over time, mufflers wear and can develop holes and cracks which of course reduces their effectiveness. If your car seems unusually loud, it’s most likely a problem with the muffler(s). Although a properly functioning muffler is generally requisite for passing inspection, they are fortunately not terribly expensive to repair or replace.

Smoke Show

A properly functioning car should reveal very little visible smoke. Water vapor will occasionally be seen, depending on outside temperature – this is normal. Any other unusually colored smoke is generally reflective of an issue with the engine; not the exhaust system itself.

While black smoke generally indicates a motor is running rich – the air and fuel ratio strongly favors fuel, white smoke suggests coolant is getting into the combustion chamber and burned along with fuel. Unfortunately, excessive white smoke could possibly indicate a cracked engine block, warped cylinder head, or blown gasket. If you see blue-tinted smoke emitting from the tailpipe, it’s likely that your car is burning oil. Although there are several reasons why this could happen, you should check your oil levels regardless, and have an oil change as soon as possible.

Although unusual, colored smoke exiting the tailpipe is generally not indicative of a faulty exhaust system.

What’s that smell?

If you smell exhaust fumes inside the vehicle, a crack or split in the exhaust system closer to the engine side is a likely culprit. A buildup of exhaust fumes in the cabin can also be dangerous to your health, and downright deadly in excess. If you notice an unusually strong exhaust odor inside the car, it’s best to get to a qualified technician as soon as possible to have it evaluated.

Rattling and Hissing

No, it’s not a snake. But it may just be a loose or cracked exhaust pipe. As pressured gasses make their way down the pipe, and small crack or hole will allow some to escape and produce a hissing sound as it does. Depending on where the crack is, you may notice a stronger exhaust smell. If this is the case, get to a service station promptly.

Some portions of the exhaust plumbing are supported by metal brackets and clamps. For various reasons, these brackets can wear down and break. As they weaken, they fail to secure the pipework to the underside of the car which can produce a rattling or popping sound from the car’s undercarriage. Fortunately, repairing these are generally low-cost repairs.

Should your car’s muffler develop a hole or a crack or begin to separate from the rest of the pipework, a loud roar may result. Although it can be startling, its simply a more accurate representation of the engine’s normal operating noise. A broken muffler may turn heads for all the wrong reasons and get you the attention of the local police. Most states have maximum decibel levels for road-going cars. Fortunately, mufflers are generally affordable and easily repaired.

Exhaust systems are big business, and we at Good Care Auto know the competition is stiff. That’s why we employ skilled, ASE-certified technicians using the latest diagnostic and repair equipment to tackle any exhaust job. Through our fast and efficient service, we’re able to save you money – no job is too small. Here at Good Care Auto, we understand exhaust problems can be, well, exhausting. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is standing by to assist you. Give us a call today at (734) 285-1188 and let us get you back on the road!

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