The Most Common Exhaust System Problems

The Most Common Exhaust System Problems

That’s why the expert technicians at Christian Brothers Automotive¬†are letting you know about some common exhaust system problems you could potentially run into.


There’s no enemy quite as dangerous for the exhaust system as rust. Taking short trips frequently lets water vapor collect in the exhaust system, but it never gets hot enough to burn off. Gradually this condensation will turn to rust and corrode your exhaust from the inside out.

Faulty Oxygen Sensor

Despite many of today’s cars having numerous oxygen sensors, a malfunction in just one can be enough to confuse the computer. If your oxygen sensor becomes faulty, the engine’s computer can’t create the correctly balanced air-fuel mixture. This could lead to a mixture that’s low on air and high on gas, a blend that’s hotter than intended and may cause a clog in your catalytic converter.

Exhaust Leaks

Rough road conditions are difficult for many vehicles to handle. If you regularly drive on rough roads, your exhaust system may not last as long as it normally would. The bumps, holes, and shaking that happen while you drive in these conditions can lead weak areas, like joints, to crack and leak poisonous fumes into the passenger cabin.

Clogged Muffler

Another problem that arises from frequent rough road conditions is a clogged muffler. While driving on bumpy roads, small internal parts can come loose, leading to a clogged muffler.

Broken Hangers

Hangers are the handy little parts that are meant to protect your exhaust system from banging around when you hit a bump. However, they aren’t invincible. Once the hanger breaks and falls off, all the exhaust pipes become free to move around. Their movement may lead to dents, cracks and, in some cases, entire pieces of the exhaust system to break off.


Strange vibrations coming from your steering wheel or gas pedal are pretty good signs that your exhaust system is in need of repair. If it’s bad enough, your whole car may be shaking. These vibrations pose a real threat to not only your car’s health but also your own because they can alter your ability to control the vehicle with precision.


The first noticeable sign of an exhaust leak is usually an increase in engine noise. An exhaust leak is most likely in your system’s manifold or anywhere there are joints along the exhaust system. If the leak is in the manifold, not only will your engine’s volume increase, but toxic fumes could enter the passenger cabin. That is a serious issue that you need to get repaired immediately, and our local auto repair experts can help!


Everyone knows a smoking car is never good, but few people know what that different colors of smoke have different meanings. Blue/gray exhaust smoke is an indication of oil burning in the combustion chamber. This could be caused by valve seals, valve guides, piston rings, worn cylinder walls or the PCV system. Black smoke means there is a rich fuel condition, which could be caused by fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulator and the fuel return line. Finally, if the smoke coming out of your exhaust system is white/gray, then you may have coolant burning in the combustion chamber. Meaning that either your cylinder head, engine block or head gasket are cracked or damaged.

You can prevent these exhaust problems from happening to you. Have your exhaust system inspected every year or two, regardless of whether you’ve noticed an obvious problem. Schedule an exhaust system service today and let the ASE-certified technicians at Christian Brothers Automotive take care of you. We’ll show you the nice difference.