Thursday 11th of February 2016 09:25:01 AM

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A noisy exhaust is not only bad, it is dangerous

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A one percent concentration level of the carbon monoxide that could leak into the passenger cabin as a result can kill a person in less than three minutes

Is your vehicle exhaust system so noisy that your ride sounds like a rally racing car? You possibly know that means trouble because of the noise. What you possibly do not know is that many motorists miss other problems related to the exhaust because they are quiet, not heard or even sensed. Most of these problems of the exhaust system are caused by a leakage and they are quite dangerous even when they are quiet.

An exhaust system leak can be very dangerous because it provides a direct path for carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment through the cowl vent at the base of the windshield.

This colorless and odorless carbon monoxide gas can be lethal especially if the windows are rolled up and the deadly gas finds its way inside the passenger compartment.

A small exhaust leak that causes exhaust gases to get inside the vehicle can affect the people on board. Carbon monoxide as small or little as 0.08 % (almost 800 parts per million) can cause dizziness, headaches, chocking, nausea and bring on stupor in less than two hours. A one percent concentration level of carbon monoxide can kill a person in less than three minutes.

Another effect of a leaking and loud exhaust is if a vehicle has been getting poor fuel economy or loss of power. The exhaust system might have an internal restriction or a blockage. Exhaust system restrictions can be caused by a damaged or crushed pipe, or collapsed baffles inside a silencer or resonator.

But the most common cause these days often turns out to be a plugged or chocked catalytic converter due to the bad fuels we refill at the pump.

So if you hear of any exhaust noise, do not ignore it because it might be the muffler or pipes are probably leaking. That means repairs or replacement are needed.

These days many people put decorations on the exhaust that makes their vehicles light at night. Nothing wrong there; but you should also note the quality of the sound coming from the tail pipe.

A high – pitched hiss or whistle at the tail pipe may be a result of a restriction in the exhaust system and unusually high back pressure.

That is why vehicle owners are advised to take their vehicle to do an oil change at a professional garage with qualified mechanics. Such experts usually do not merely change the oil; they also inspect other parts of the vehicle at the same cost.

Taking off a few minutes to inspect your vehicle exhaust system can really save you an extra expense on fuel and also saving the environment from pollution and noise.

Original exhaust system components can work for about six to eight years before breaking down and rotting. This, however, cannot be taken as a guarantee because some, especially vehicle that make frequent short trips commonly terms as stop and go driving like taxis, fail sooner.

Even your short trip from home to work and back or the weekend drive to the nearest supermarket, especially during cold weather conditions, leaves water in the exhaust system due to condensation in the system. The silencers and muffler including the pipes do not get hot enough to burn off and evaporate all the water that collects in the exhaust system. Since the system is of a reasonable length all the way from the catalytic converter in the front to the rear where the exhaust gases are emitted, the moisture will puddle inside the muffler and silencer and cause them to rust from inside.

This water combines with sulfur in the exhaust gases to form highly corrosive acids that eat away the metal. Mufflers and resonators mounted aft of the rear axle are especially vulnerable to this type of corrosion because they run much cooler than front mounted silencers. They, therefore, become a moisture trap and often fail becoming noisy because of internal corrosion.

One may question me about noisy racing vehicles. Are they also in trouble? Of course, they aren’t. Racing cars are designed with engines with a very high compression ratio and their ignition angle is very different from everyday vehicles. Secondly, they are driven for just a given time, and their high fuel consumption is not of concern.

So do not let your vehicle’s loud exhaust sound like a racing car. It might sound like fun but it is expensive and dangerous. However, even when the vehicle exhaust system is not that loud, always ensure your vehicle runs and warm up to burn off all the moisture that may be trapped in the exhaust system. This will help to avoid rusting and will give the exhaust system a longer service life. Finally, do not put off or suspend any repairs on the exhaust system because delay can be deadly.

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