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Common Exhaust Problems


Seen on all petrol and diesel powered vehicles, the exhaust is a vital feature of every motor vehicle, used to direct exhaust fumes from the engine away from the vehicle, as well as reducing the noise from the combustion engine and reducing the toxicity of the fumes. However, like all machinery and components, they can fall victim to errors and faults, which can vary in severity. This article will look into some of the most common faults associated with exhausts, what they can mean and how to rectify them.

Parts of an exhaust system

Exhaust manifold

Located in the engine, manifolds collect the exhaust fumes and send them through the exhaust system, keeping them away from the passengers in the car.

Oxygen sensor

Located on the catalytic converter, these sensors measure the oxygen in the exhaust system, reducing or adding fuel in the combustion process accordingly.

Catalytic converter

Catalytic converters are used to convert pollutants in the fumes into less harmful emissions. If you purchase a vehicle with a catalytic converter already fitted, it is a legal requirement to keep it on – you will fail your MOT if you remove it.

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

The DPF removes particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gas of diesel powered vehicles. As of 2009, it is a legal requirement for diesel vehicles to be fitted with a DPF.


Mufflers are also known as ‘silencers’, and as their name suggests, they are tasked with reducing the noise of the fuel combustion process. Without mufflers, the sound of the combustion process would be significantly louder.

Exhaust Pipes

These are the visible part of the exhaust system, commonly seen at the rear of the vehicle, or sometimes on the side. They direct the gas through the system before it leaves via the tailpipes.


One of the main sources of all exhaust issues is rust. Over the years that a vehicle is used on the road, the exhaust will come into contact with a lot of water – from rainfall to wet surfaces, and the cumulative effect of this contact can be a buildup of rust. If the rust is allowed to build up for too long, it can seriously damage the exhaust, eroding it to the point where it can become loose and drag along the road. If this happens, it is crucial that you find a safe place to stop as soon as possible, as a detached exhaust can expose you to toxic fumes.

Loose parts

Another issue that can plague exhaust systems is loose parts. If you hear a rattling sound whilst you are driving, chances are it may be due to a loose component on your exhaust. This could be anything from a loose bracket, loose heat shield or a piece of the exhaust pipe that has broken away. As well as the sound being annoying in itself, the loose part can also cause extra damage to the system, which could affect more expensive components.

Tyres Northampton offer exhaust repair and MOT services, as well as being experts in providing a huge range of high quality tyres for vehicles of all types. If you would like to know more, please get in touch with us today.


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