While the exhaust systems found on many newer vehicles are typically fully welded in their construction, exhaust clamps are still commonly found on the exhaust systems of many vehicles. Exhaust clamps are simply metal clamps that are designed to hold and seal together different components of the exhaust system. They come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate different types of exhaust pipes, and can usually be tightened or loosened according to need. When the clamps fail or have any issues, it can cause problems with the vehicle’s exhaust system, which can affect engine performance. Usually a bad or failing exhaust clamp will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.
1. Noisy exhaust
One of the first symptoms of a bad or failing exhaust clamp is a noisy exhaust system. If one of the vehicle’s exhaust clamps fails or has an issue it can lead to a loud exhaust as a result of an exhaust leak. The exhaust may ring noticeably louder at idle, and noticeably louder during acceleration.
2. Loose exhaust components
Another symptom of a problem with an exhaust clamp are loose exhaust components. The exhaust clamps are designed to hold together and seal the exhaust systems pipes. When they fail, it can cause the exhaust pipes to come loose, which can cause them to rattle and sometimes even hang visibly beneath the vehicle.
3. Failed emissions test
Another symptom of a problem with the exhaust clamps is a failed emissions test. If any of the exhaust clamps fail or come loose, an exhaust leak can form which can affect the vehicle’s emissions output. An exhaust leak can disturb the vehicle’s air-fuel ratio, as well as its exhaust stream content - both of which can cause a vehicle to fail an emissions test.
While they are a very basic component in function and design, exhaust clamps play an important role in securing and sealing the exhaust system where they are applied. If you suspect that your vehicle’s exhaust clamps may be having an issue, have the exhaust system inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if your car needs an exhaust clamp replacement.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Exhaust Clamp and was authored by Ed Ruelas.