The exhaust collects discarded gases from engine cylinders into one pipe. These gases are then delivered to the exhaust pipe where they are dissipated into the atmosphere. Driving with an exhaust leak is a dangerous because of potential fires, and the fumes you will inhale while driving.

Some things to watch out for include:

  • If your engine is making a popping noise or you hear a puffing sound that could mean a leak in the exhaust manifold. The exhaust manifold is part of the exhaust system that collects the exhaust, so with a hole in it, all the exhaust will escape. If you notice these signs, you should have your vehicle checked out by a professional mechanic right away.

  • A hole in your exhaust can allow the exhaust fumes to seep into the interior of your vehicle. This can expose you to carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a gas that can causes you to feel ill. Symptoms of exposure to carbon monoxide include: nausea, vomiting, cold, and flu-like symptoms. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide is hazardous for both children and adults and can potentially be fatal. If you smell exhaust fumes inside of your vehicle, have it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.

  • The exhaust helps to control the emissions that are released into the atmosphere. Having a hole in the exhaust can increase these emissions and harm the environment. Most vehicles have to pass emission tests, so a hole in your exhaust may prevent your vehicle from passing the emission test administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • If you suspect a hole in your exhaust, you can examine the muffler yourself. With the car off and the parking brake on, look at the muffler of your vehicle. If you notice heavy rust, wear, or a hole in your exhaust, make an appointment with a mechanic to get it fixed as soon as possible. Rust on the outside can mean even more of a problem on the inside of the muffler, so it is best to have a professional look at it.

Driving with a hole in your muffler is potentially dangerous. Exhaust fumes leaks into the interior of your vehicle and exposes you and your loved ones to carbon monoxide. Furthermore, a hole in the exhaust pollutes the environment more than a properly working exhaust.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With a Hole In Your Exhaust? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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