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Exhaust Pipe Repair – Can I Do This On My Own?

Exhaust Pipe Repair – Can I Do This On My Own?

In order to know what is necessary during exhaust pipe repair or how much you might pay for this service at your local auto body shop, you need to know first and foremost – what is your exhaust system? 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Your vehicle’s exhaust system is mainly made of various pipes that are in charge of transporting gases between different locations. Most people know that this is supposed to remove any harmful gases in your engine and put them into the atmosphere – hence why we have so many environmental problems in the world. This is why electrical cars are the wave of the future! However, with this, we need to know the main components of the exhaust pipe repair, so you can recognize the signs and symptoms of any wear on the system, and the “how-to” guide to fix the issue yourself. 

Components of the Exhaust System


Exhaust manifold – this mechanism in your car is in charge of collecting the exhaust from your car's cylinders and siphoning the gases into one pipe for easy transport. If this part is not working correctly, you will have to pay more for your exhaust pipe repair.


Oxygen sensor – located directly on top of the exhaust manifold, the o2 sensor in your vehicle is in charge of measuring how much oxygen is currently in the exhaust. Based on its readings, it has to add more or less oxygen based on the measurement, improving the fuel economy and the miles per gallon the car can earn.


Catalytic converter – the catalytic converter is a key mechanism that converts the dangerous gases from your engine into water vapor and carbon dioxide. Without this converter working correctly, it can harm your exhaust pipe and cause an exhaust pipe repair.


Muffler – the muffler is the piece in charge of quieting or dampening the sounds of the exhaust as it travels out of your car. It is very easy to see a car with an improper muffler, since it will make a lot of noise, causing you to look into a muffler and exhaust pipe repair as soon as possible.

Functions of the Exhaust System


With a typical exhaust system, this mechanism also is in charge of much more instead of just releasing gases. It has four main functions – it has to limit the noise produced, transport and distribute gases out of your vehicle, improve the performance of your engine, and enhance fuel consumption for better fuel economy. 


Control noise – Once the exhaust system does its job of removing the harmful gases from inside of your car, those gases then make their way through the car’s muffler. This muffler is in charge of lessening the sound of the gases leaving your car. If you hear loud noises while this is happening, it is a clear sign of a much needed exhaust pipe repair.


Distribute gases – exhaust gases are collected into one spot – the exhaust manifold. This holding system is in charge of keeping the gases until they are eventually distributed out of the car and into the air. The exhaust manifold is a holding tank and a funnel, catching gases from various cylinders and then siphoning them through one singular pipe. If the exhaust manifold is not able to distribute the gases correctly, then the exhaust pipe repair might be more expensive than usual.


Improve engine performance – If the gases take a long time to leave your car, then it can harm the longevity of your exhaust system and the efficiency. The longer it takes for the gases to be distributed out of your vehicle, the longer it will take to intake oxygen and generate more power for your vehicle to work at the optimal level. Having an exhaust system that is not in good condition and needs an exhaust pipe repair means that your vehicle will not be able to breathe as well as usual – resulting in a detriment to the engine performance.


Improved fuel economy – along with the benefits to your engine performance by preventing any exhaust pipe repair, the quicker that the exhaust leaves your car, the better fuel economy you can enjoy. This is due to the fact that your engine is able to take in more oxygen that has not been damaged by any other gases. Modern exhaust systems usually come with various sensors, like an oxygen sensor, which is in charge of analyzing how much o2 is in the exhaust. Once the sensor has determined the amount of oxygen, the fuel economy will be heightened by adding more or less fuel to the gasoline. 

Signs of Exhaust Problems 


To determine any fixes or repairs that you need to make in your exhaust system, it is key to know the signs and symptoms of exhaust issues in your vehicle, hopefully preventing expensive exhaust pipe repairs in the future. 

Noisy Engine 


One of the first signs that you have something wrong with your exhaust system is that you have a very noisy engine – much louder than normal, even while under added stress. If you have a faulty exhaust manifold gasket, this can cause the exhaust leak in your car, which will often sound like a hissing or tapping that can be audible to the driver. The sound will be even louder when the car is cold or when you are asking it to perform at a higher level, like accelerating suddenly or driving uphill.

Decreased Power 


Struggling to get up that hill? Decreased power and acceleration in your car is a key sign of an exhaust problem and of imminent exhaust pipe repair. This can drastically affect the performance of your engine, since you will not be able to move as quickly and can;t get the same power when you press the pedal. This problem will worsen if you do not fix the issue, so you need to get the exhaust pipe repair as soon as you can. 

Decreased Fuel Efficiency 


When your power and acceleration are suffering in your car, usually the fuel economy and efficiency will also go down. To get your car to work in the same capacity as it did before without the exhaust issue, it has to work even harder, thereby using more fuel to go the same distance and amount. Although fixing your exhaust can be expensive, and you might not want to pay for exhaust pipe repair, you iwl spend a lot more money on extra fuel as the time goes on. 

Burning Smell


If your fuel gasket fails and you notice a leak under the hood of your car in the engine area, then the heat from the exhaust gases could actually cause these parts to burn, leading to the potential of a fire under the hood. Those burning parts then release a smell that will be very noticeable to the driver. It can also cause smoke to come out of the exhaust pipe, but make sure you look into the exhaust system and exhaust pipe repair before this occurs. 

Hanging exhaust pipe


If your exhaust pipe is dragging on the ground, then this is a sure sign for exhaust pipe repair. You need to have this problem fixed immediately so you do not harm the exhaust pipe even more and cause it to fall off completely. If any part of the exhaust pipe will break, this dragging is a danger to everyone in your car and other drivers around you if the exhaust pipe breaks off in the road.

Gas smell 


Once you smell gasoline inside your car, no matter the cause of this smell, this is a sign you need to get it fixed immediately and get your car inspected. This can be a sign of exhaust system issues and exhaust pipe repair. When this happens, it can be caused by one of the pipes or tubes leaking, causing the fuel’s fumes to escape through any openings and into your car’s cabin. 

How to do exhaust pipe repair 


As we know, the exhaust system is composed of many parts that are in charge of transporting gases under the hood of your car to safely out of your vehicle. The exhaust system itself is made of various parts – the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, resonator, muffler, and the piping to connect the parts together and prevent any leaks


Throughout the day while you are driving to work and back, the exhaust system is exposed to other elements in the atmosphere, even if you are idling, parked, or driving at fast highway speeds. These elements include debris, humid and hot weather, and potential treacherous precipitation, like snow and ice. Prolonged exposure to the elements can cause the exhaust pipe to become damaged over time, gaining holes and cracks, leading to the necessity of exhaust pipe repair. 


One way to tell if you need exhaust pipe repair is by listening to your car. If you notice that your car is louder than usual, then chances are you need to fix your exhaust pipe repair – you have an exhaust leak in your car. The only good news about this leak is that the repairs are pretty straightforward and do not take too much labor, leading to minimal costs for a beneficial return. 


This process will take no more than an hour, meaning the labor should not be more than $100 at a high=-end auto body shop. In most cases, the materials can even be found easily in a store or around your house, making the repair potentially very cheap on your end. 

Exhaust Pipe Repair – Steps!


If you decide to do this yourself, we have a guide that you can follow to avoid any mishaps during exhaust pipe repair.


To get started, you will need some tools: gloves, floor jack, flashlight, repair tape, safety jack stands, screwdriver, hose clamps, steel wool, tin snips, and a wire brush.


Step 1 – The first  step is to raise the vehicle off of the ground by using the floor jack, keeping the tires on the passenger’s side of the vehicle on the ground. Once this is done, use the jack stands to secure the driver's side, giving you plenty of room to move around while keeping your vehicle secure. 


Step 2 – locate the exhaust leak in your car. Slide under the vehicle to visually inspect the exhaust system with your flashlight. Usually, you can find the broken part of the exhaust pipe facing the ground, since this is the component of the pipe that undergoes the most exposure over time. If you can’t find the damage, you might want to start your car and listen for the leak. This can oftentimes lead you to where the spot of necessary exhaust pipe repair is. 


Step 3 – prep the exhaust surface. Once you find the leak and know where the exhaust pipe repair needs to be performed, the next step is getting the pipe warm. Use safety gloves to protect your hands and use a wire brush to clean the damaged area that might be full of debris. 


Step 4 – cover the hole with the steel wool. Take the wool and cover the damaged area. 


Step 5 – put repair tape on the damaged part of the exhaust pipe. Use the tape to wrap it around the damaged area, ensuring you stick the steel wool to the exhaust pipe.


Step 6 – if you have an empty soda can, use this to completely seal off the leak during the exhaust pipe repair. Cut the soda can to fit around the pipe, giving you a curve to go around the exhaust pipe repair, covering the wool and repair tape.


Step 7 – take the hose clamps and secure the soda can to the exhaust pipe for a snug fit.


Step 8 – activate the adhesive repair tape, letting the car idle until it is warm to allow the repair tape to securely fit on the exhaust pipe during the exhaust pipe repair. 


Step 9 – the last step in this exhaust pipe repair is to test drive the car to check if the repair holds during use. Use your floor jack to remove the safety jack stands and lower your vehicle, starting the car, and taking it for a test drive.