Your vehicle’s exhaust system keeps the car quiet and the exhaust fumes away from the cabin. Furthermore, the system helps to keep the engine running properly, reduce emissions, and provide you with optimum fuel efficiency. Driving with an exhaust leak is potentially dangerous as the fumes contain carbon monoxide.
Things to keep in mind when driving with an exhaust leak:
One sign of an exhaust leak is a loud rumbling noise coming from your vehicle while you are driving. This is one of the most common signs, and your vehicle should be inspected by a mechanic so they can determine how much of the exhaust system needs repairs.
Another sign of an exhaust leak is if you have to fill up your gas tank more often. An exhaust leak can decrease fuel efficiency, causing your engine to work harder, and you to fill up your gas tank more frequently.
A third sign your exhaust may be leaking is if your gas pedal vibrates while you are driving. Even the smallest of leaks can cause the vehicle to vibrate, yet the bigger the leak the stronger the vibrations will be. Normally the vibrations start in the gas pedal, then move to the steering wheel, and into the floorboards the larger the leak gets.
When your exhaust system is not working properly, extra heat is flowing into your engine. This can cause the catalytic converter to become damaged. A failing catalytic converter can be expensive to replace, so it is best to have your exhaust repaired before more extensive damage happens to your vehicle’s operating system.
If you have driven with your exhaust leak for a while and now you notice your vehicle sounds like someone is shaking a box of rocks when you are idling, this may be a sign that your catalytic converter is going bad. This means you have waited too long to get your exhaust system checked, and you need to get it inspected by a mechanic as soon as possible.
Signs of an exhaust leak include a vibrating gas pedal, poor fuel mileage, loud noises, and potentially smelling exhaust fumes. If you suspect an exhaust leak, get your vehicle inspected by a mechanic as soon as possible. Inhaling exhaust fumes for an extensive amount of time is not good for you because they contain carbon monoxide. Furthermore, an exhaust leak wreaks havoc on your entire vehicle’s system and can potentially cause more expensive damage.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With an Exhaust Leak? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.