Your exhaust pipe is a crucial part of your exhaust system in your vehicle. The exhaust system is used to push harmful exhaust gases away from the internal combustion within your car's engine. The entire system converts burnt gases from the engine into less harmful substances that exit through multiple exhaust pipes. If you suffer from a broken exhaust pipe, your exhaust system will not operate correctly.
The exhaust pipe is in charge of carrying the gases through the entire length of its journey inside of its vehicle to the exit through the tailpipe. Although an often overlooked portion of the exhaust system, the exhaust pipe is necessary to transport the engine’s gases to the outside world.
If you notice signs of a broken exhaust pipe, your car will suffer from severe performance reductions.
- By being aware of the various exhaust system components, the signs of a broken exhaust pipe, steps to replacing a broken exhaust pipe, the price of repairing an exhaust pipe, and the safety of driving with a broken pipe, you can keep your vehicle as safe as possible!
Exhaust System Components
The exhaust system in your car consists of four main pieces that work together to help filter and route dangerous fumes from the engine compartment to the rear of the vehicle and out into the world. The main components are the oxygen sensor, exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, and muffler.
These components are connected by important parts, like the gaskets and seals to help minimize exhaust leaks and the need for a broken exhaust pipe repair. As your engine burns and powers your vehicle, it continuously emits gas containing water vapor, unburnt fuel, and acids.
If you have a broken exhaust pipe, all of the exhaust system’s work will be for nothing, leading to a harmful buildup of gas and engine damage.
- Oxygen Sensor – the oxygen sensor malfunctioning is one of the main broken exhaust pipe symptoms. Located near the exhaust manifold, the o2 sensor is responsible for sending oxygen readings to your car’s internal computer to help regulate the fuel in jet engines. If the o2 sensor is not working correctly, the air and fuel mixture will affect the engine performance.
- Exhaust manifold – the exhaust manifold collects gas from the cylinder heads, pushing them through a single pipe to the catalytic converter. A leak in the exhaust manifold can burn the exhaust valves, harming the cylinders, the pistons, and the engine.
- The constant expansion and contraction of the exhaust manifold can cause leaks and cracks with this part. The leaks let hot gases escape, damaging other engine components. Some symptoms of cracked manifolds include loud engine noises, low engine performance, check engine light on the dashboard, and smells from the engine compartment.
- Catalytic converter – The catalytic converter converts the harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon gases to carbon dioxide and water vapor that is safer for the environment. If you notice the catalytic converter is not working correctly, you will immediately smell rotting eggs’ odor.
- Muffler – the muffler reduces the noises produced by the explosions in the engine and throughout the exhaust system. The sounds of the combustion process are muted by the muffler, helping cancel out the sound waves.
Broken Exhaust Pipe Symptoms
- Very loud engine noise – the most obvious sign that you are experiencing broken exhaust pipe symptoms is excessive sounds or a change in the tone of your exhaust. The change in sound can be due to a broken exhaust pipe, rusted muffler, cracked pipes, or a leaking exhaust manifold gasket.
- Reduced fuel economy – A reduced performance in your fuel economy can be due to a broken exhaust pipe, causing the engine to need to work harder to burn excess fuel and power the car.
- Slow Acceleration – If you find it is harder to accelerate in a shorter amount of time or power up hills, then this is one of the most obvious broken exhaust pipe symptoms in your car. This is often due to a leak in the exhaust system.
- The smell of Strong Gases – the strong smell of noxious gases from around your vehicle means there is a leak in the pipe or the catalytic converter is damaged.
- Banging or Knocking Sounds – Loud noises are one of the most obvious broken exhaust pipe symptoms since this sound is very loud and can sign that your exhaust mount is loose or a broken exhaust pipe. If you find the muffler or tailpipe is dragging on the ground, you need to fix this issue as soon as possible.
- Condensation Rust – Mufflers and tailpipes are highly susceptible to rust due to the prevalence of condensation build-up. As the exhaust system cools down when you are not using the car, moisture can form and cause the muffler and tailpipe to rust. Excessive condensation is one of the most obvious broken exhaust pipe symptoms.
- Misfiring Engine – A misfiring engine is a clear sign your vehicle is suffering from a damaged exhaust symptom caused by a backup in the exhaust system. If this is the case, fumes will not be able to exit, causing a misfire and reduced performance.
- Burning Smell from the Engine – between the exhaust manifold and the motorhead is the manifold gasket. If there is a leak in the manifold gasket near plastid wiring, it can lead to a burning of the plastic and a very noticeable smell. This is one of the most serious broken exhaust pipe symptoms since this can cause smoke and fire in the engine compartment if not addressed.
- Low Hanging Exhaust Pipe – If you find that one of your broken exhaust pipe symptoms is a low-to-the-ground exhaust pipe, you need to replace this piping as soon as possible to prevent loud noises and further deterioration.
- Leaking Exhaust Manifold – If your exhaust manifold is cracked, this can quickly burn the exhaust valves and affect the engine cylinders’ sealing capacity. Back pressure causes the engine to lose power, stutter while accelerating, and misfire.
Broken Exhaust Repair – Steps
When figuring out the broken exhaust pipe repair steps, you can use three different methods to fix the broken exhaust pipe and prevent any future issues!
Method #1 Locate the Source of the Exhaust Leak
- Park the vehicle on a level surface – to repair a broken exhaust pipe, you need to jack the vehicle up so you can access the under area and find the source of the leak. Jack vehicles onto a flat and level surface to ensure the jack doesn’t topple over and hurt the worker.
- Wait for your exhaust to cool off – You can’t work on an exhaust that is still hot or still running. The exhaust gas that travels through the pipe is very hot and can cause damage to you or an auto body worker if you try to find the broken exhaust pipe while the metal is still hot to the touch.
- Once the exhaust has cooled down to work on, Jack the vehicle up, slide a trolley jack under the vehicle's rear. Once in place, lift and lower the handle to jack the car up and find the broken exhaust pipe.
- Inspect the exhaust piping – the next step in the broken exhaust pipe repair is to use the vantage point from jacking the car up to inspect the piping and muffler under the car. Locate the signs of damage by analyzing the piping for rust, corrosion, cracks, or holes.
- Start the engine – the next step in the broken exhaust pipe repair is to find the source of the leak with the engine running.
- Repair the damage – find the best way to repair the broken exhaust pipe by identifying the severity of the damage. If the exhaust pipe is severely rusted, it may be too hard to perform a broken exhaust pipe repair. In this case, you may need to replace the entire part. However, if the damage is a small leak or a broken muffler, you can patch the leak to complete the broken exhaust pipe repair.
Method #2: Patching a Broken Exhaust Pipe
- Scrub around the hole – the first step in the broken exhaust pipe repair for a small leak is to remove all of the dirt, grime, and rust forming around the leaking hole.
- Prepare the surface with sandpaper – Use sandpaper to remove any last bits of dirt and grime stuck to the pipe.
- Wipe acetone around the hole – Acetone ensures the metal surface is clean of anything that could interfere with the new seal around the broken exhaust pipe.
- Wrap exhaust tape around the pipe – If you are using exhaust pipe repair tape, wrap it around the leaking part to help with the broken exhaust pipe repair.
- Apply epoxy -Dab epoxy onto the leak and spread around the area to create a thick film on the leaking portion of the broken exhaust pipe.
Method #3: Replacing Your Muffler
- Spray rust penetrator on exhaust clamps – If you find the broken exhaust repair is more serious than a small leak, you may have to replace the entire muffler. In this case, the first step is to spray a rust penetrator like WD-40 on the fastening hardware to get rid of grime prevention and a tight seal.
- Loosen the Exhaust Clamps – Once the fasteners have been sprayed, use a wrench to remove the nuts holding the exhaust clamp using a socket or wrench.
- Slide the exhaust and muffler apart – Since the muffler and piping are held together with an exhaust clamp, it may take some wiggling to remove the two parts.
- Hang the new muffler – Push the new muffler on the prongs through the rubber with a bit of force to get past the mounts of the broken exhaust pipe.
- Spray exhaust sealant on the pipes – Spraying exhaust sealant helps connect the pipe on top of the muffler to establish a seal between the pies and prevent any exhaust leaks.
- Slide the exhaust pipes together – Slide the pipe from the muffler over the exhaust pipe to help seal any leaks on the broken exhaust pipe.
- Secure the muffler clamp in place – the final step in the broken exhaust pipe repair is to slide the muffler clamp over the area where the muffler pipes overlap.
Broken Exhaust Pipe Repair Cost
The average replacement cost for a broken exhaust pipe is between $803 and $830. This procedure’s labor price is between $97 and $122, with most labor times between 1 and 1.5 hours. The parts for the broken exhaust pipe are between $706 and $708 for most makes and models of vehicles.
You may find that you will have to add other exhaust system components to your broken exhaust pipe repair cost while you are at your local mechanic.
- Replacing your oxygen sensor costs between $20 and $100 depending on your vehicle’s brand and kind of sensor. If you decide to go to a shop for this replacement, the total procedure runs between $113 and $478 for the parts and labor.
- Replacing your exhaust manifold costs between $900 and $1,020. This procedure’s total labor price is between $267 and $335, with the total time between 2 and 4.5 hours based on the type of car you own. Lastly, the price of hte parts ranges between $633 and $680.
- The price of replacing your catalytic converter usually runs between $945 and $2575 including the parts and labor. Unfortunately, the price for the parts alone can sometimes be upwards of $2250 based on the type of vehicle.
- A muffler replacement in your vehicle costs between $75and $750 depending on several factors. The average price for a mid-range muffler in a mid-range car is between $150 and $250 including parts and labor.
Can I drive my car with a broken exhaust pipe?
If you find that you have a broken exhaust pipe, it is too dangerous to continue driving on the road. Since a broken exhaust pipe can lead to your engine’s performance benefits, you will suffer from reduced acceleration, low horsepower, and a reduction in fuel economy. In addition, a broken exhaust pipe can cause harmful gases to leave your vehicle, hurting other people and the air quality.
The Bottom Line
Drivers must be aware of the various exhaust system components, the signs of a broken exhaust pipe, steps to replacing a broken exhaust pipe, the price of repairing an exhaust pipe, and the safety of driving with a broken pipe. Being knowledgeable about the exhaust system can help you keep you and other people safe and sound on the road!