Let’s talk about “what’s that smell?” And WHAT is that NOISE????
This time of year, we’re reaching that “sweet spot” in Ohio weather where it’s getting warm enough for the windows down, but not so daggone hot that we need to ride around in an air conditioned bubble. Especially if you’ve not had your windows down for long periods of time, you might now notice that your exhaust is making a bit more noise than normal. A lot of people tell us that while sitting in drive through lanes at fast food places, they are in a ‘tunnel’ of buildings and all of a sudden hear their own sound bouncing back at them and they don’t like it.
First off, your car’s exhaust system is almost as long as your car is, which means there is a lot of real estate for us to check. We check all 8 (Smart) to 15 (Hummer) feet for tiny little holes, or full out breaks. Your exhaust system starts just at the back of the engine. The manifold is where the exhaust exits the engine. That hot, gassy air next moves through oxygen sensors, then into your catalytic converter, and then some more oxygen sensors check to make sure the air is cleaner than it was when it went in… INGENIUS!! Then through pipes, your muffler, then out your tailpipe. This happens in seconds. Cool, right????
All of these pieces have joints and connection points. There are flanges and gaskets that help seal things up. A hole or breach could happen at any of these points. Also, your entire system has points where hangars or brackets are employed to hold the system close to the car. If one or more of those break, your system comes under a bunch of stress, which can make small issues turn into big issues.
In addition to being a complete workhorse, your exhaust system can be very “vocal.” You might hear a rattle if a gasket or flange is broken, a shaky sound if a bracket is loose, or a full out RUMBLE if your muffler has come off. It also can smell really badly. If you have a break or a hole before the converter, you might be releasing really gassy fumes into the atmosphere. You might even be blowing some black smoke out from the area under your front seat. The gassy fumes can be dangerous because they can seep up into your cabin as well… and where there are gassy fumes, there can be carbon monoxide. This stuff is no joke!!! But most of us will notice the NOISE first…. and most local townships, cities and townships have noise ordinances which prohibit the full out NO MUFFLER sound. You’ll know it when you hear it… it’ll be SO LOUD it’ll nearly make your teeth shake in your head!!! We often see catalytic converters that have been stolen (grrr!) and that will make your exhaust incredibly loud also. Believe me, you’ll know it when you have an exhaust issue… plus, we’ll hear you coming!!!!