An exhaust leak can put you at risk for inhaling harmful carbon monoxide fumes; even repeated minor exposures to car exhaust gases can trigger irritating symptoms. An exhaust leak can also negatively impact the health of the car. A leaking exhaust can lead to expensive repairs, such as a catalytic converter replacement, or a loud or terrible-sounding exhaust.
Exhaust leaks can occur at the rear of the car or under the hood. Typically, rust corrodes exhaust pipes and forms holes or gaskets wear down. The best way to find an exhaust leak is to ask a mechanic to inspect the system. An exhaust system inspection is recommended for any car more than 5 years old.
Exhaust leaks are more likely to occur in vehicles that drive short distances. Because the exhaust system doesn’t heat up, the condensation from the exhaust settles onto the pipes. This can cause corrosion and exhaust leaks, which can be diagnosed after the tell-tale signs of an exhaust leak occur.
Hissing or Popping
The most obvious sign of an exhaust leak is a hissing or popping sound. Unfortunately, the sound can be covered up by the sound of the engine, road, or inside the passenger cab. An exhaust system leak can also make the engine sound louder.
A vibration can be the signs of many car problems, such as bad brakes or a car in need of an alignment. When the vibration is felt in the gas pedal during driving, this can signal that there is an exhaust system leak. Even small holes can trigger the vibration; be sure to mention the vibration to a mechanic who can inspect the system.
Decreased Gas Mileage
An exhaust system leak can disrupt sensors, decreasing the gas mileage of a vehicle. In extreme cases, the leak can lower gas mileage by 3-4 gallons per mile.