Without your vehicle's exhaust system, the exhaust fumes/gases would have nowhere to go. This would cause all kinds of emissions to be released into the atmosphere, and would pose a danger to drivers who would have to breathe them in. That’s exactly why cars are built with an exhaust system that safely deals with these fumes, and decreases them in a big way. The exhaust fumes travel through an exhaust pipe/tube, which carries them through the catalytic converter, right through the muffler, and out the exhaust tip. Along the exhaust pipe are oxygen sensors so that they can keep track of the emission levels.

The exhaust pipe is exposed to some extremely high temperatures, as high as 800 °F, so it is prone to wear, rust, holes, and cracking. Stainless steel pipes will hold up better and for longer, but eventually they will wear down too. Your other option is chrome, but it doesn't tend to hold up as well. If you think your exhaust pipe is ready to be replaced, here are some signs that can help you reach your conclusion.

Because the exhaust pipe runs under your car, once it breaks it will become noticeable by hanging. You don't want to be driving around with your car in this kind of state, instead give a certified mechanic a call so they can come right to your house to have a look.

When the car is running you may start to smell an unpleasant odor that smells "raw", this is because the fumes and gases are leaking.

Since all that exhaust is escaping and leaking, it may also cause a lot of noise. Anytime you hear noises out of the ordinary, it's important to get your vehicle inspected.

If you leave the exhaust pipe for long, then there is a good chance your Check Engine Light will come on, and you may even cause your oxygen sensor to end up failing. This will lead to added replacement expenses that you could have avoided.

The exhaust pipe carries all the hot exhaust fumes from the catalytic converter, to the muffler, and on to the tail pipe. Over time this pipe is bound to fail, and when that happens you’ll need to replace it immediately. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your exhaust pipe/tube is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book an exhaust pipe/tube replacement service with a professional mechanic.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Exhaust Pipe/Tube Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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