Exhaust System Basics

Auto Mechanic 5 - Depositphotos - 5031727Many people don’t really think about their exhaust system and how it works. They just put fuel in their car and never think twice about how it’s processed and how its waste is dealt with after the fuel is used. Understanding your exhaust system is important because it can help you diagnose problems that you may not think about otherwise. Here’s a brief overview to give you solid understanding of your exhaust system.

The Goal of an Exhaust System

The exhaust system exists to remove the fumes that occur after gas has burnt and pump them out of your vehicle. Without an exhaust system, these fumes would circulate throughout your engine causing serious damage to the motor or even getting pumped back into the car itself. This exhaust can cause significant problems to people if inhaled over a long period, such as loss of consciousness, brain damage and even death.

Basic Operation

Most people know the tailpipe of their car carries out the exhaust, but not everybody knows what goes on underneath the hood. The cylinder head and exhaust manifold are also essential to a good exhaust system. The head closes the top of the cylinder and forms a space where the exhaust fumes can gather. The manifold collects these exhaust fumes and them pumps them into a pipe that flows through your engine and out through the tailpipe. The muffler helps make this system less loud.

More Complex Functions

Exhaust fumes can be used to help improve your car’s performance. For example, vehicles with a turbocharged engine often use these fumes to drive the wind turbine that powers the turbocharger. The turbocharger then increases your engine power and stabilizes your speed and acceleration. Before passing through the turbine, the fumes must travel through an air filter to remove a substantial portion of the toxic components from the vapor. The catalytic converter helps remove most of the poisonous elements in the exhaust and converts it into non-toxic fumes.

Diagnosing Exhaust System Problems

One of the most basic ways to diagnose exhaust system problems is to pay attention to the emissions coming out of your tailpipe. If there is a larger amount than usual or if it smells strongly, your system may be malfunctioning. If your car is louder than normal near the tailpipe, the muffler is likely damaged. If you smell exhaust in your car, immediately park it and open the windows. Have it towed to a repair shop to have the exhaust system checked immediately.

November 27, 2012 by Jamie Rettig