When examining your vehicle's exhaust system, it's normal to find that each of the pipes involved have been welded together. However, sometimes you may find that an exhaust clamp has been used, which is even more common when an after-market pipe has been used. The exhaust clamps have one single purpose, and that's to join to pieces of pipes together without fear of them coming apart.
These exhaust clamps come in a variety of options which are band clamps, V-band clamps, lap band clamps, hanger clamps, narrow band clamps, and U-clams - which are the most popular. Once the clamps become broken, or even start to wear down, you risk them falling off and allowing pipes to come loose. Once these sections come loose, they can hand under the car. Not only that but it will allow exhaust fumes, which are highly dangerous to inhale, to escape. If you suspect your exhaust clamps may have reached the end of their lifespan, then these are signs you can check for.
You may be able to see the exhaust pipe hanging below the vehicle. If it looks like a pipe has come loose, and is just hanging there, you'll want to have this looked at immediately. Remember, those noxious fumes that are going to be escaping are so dangerous they can even lead to death in extreme cases.
If you notice your exhaust is suddenly quite noisy, it could be because the exhaust clamps have started to break or have broken completely.
It’s important to note if your exhaust pipes are hanging below your vehicle, allowing exhaust fumes to escape, your vehicle likely won’t be able to pass the emissions/smog test.
Repairing the exhaust clamps isn't possible instead you will need to completely replace it. At that point you may want a expert mechanic to also take a look at your full exhaust system, just to be sure all is good and nothing else needs replacing.
Exhaust clamps play an important role in the overall exhaust system. They hold the pipes together and ensure none of the harmful fumes can escape. Once these parts break, you will need to have them repaired immediately. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your exhaust clamp is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book an exhaust clamp replacement service with a professional mechanic.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Exhaust Clamp Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.