How to identify and diagnose the most common exhaust problems

The importance of your car’s exhaust system should not be undervalued. It cleans and ejects fumes, prevents harmful gases from being breathed in by passengers, muffles noise,  and maintains a healthy oxygen-to-fuel balance in your engine.

Because it has several important jobs, your exhaust system works hard, meaning that over time it may experience corrosion and wear. When this happens, it can cause problems for the general running and safety of your vehicle. Any suspected exhaust problems should be checked out by a professional, who will need confirm whether your car is safe to drive.

In addition to consulting a professional, it’s also important to carry out your own vehicle checks at home, such as looking out for appearance of rust, holes and cracks, along with any unusual sounds or smells. Take a look at our simple guide on how to identify and diagnose the most common exhaust problems.


Don’t underestimate the dangers of rust. If any part of your exhaust system becomes rusty, holes can form, weakening parts of the system, which can lead to parts coming loose e.g. the tailpipe. In the worst cases, it can potentially lead to structural or engine failure. Car users should carry out periodic visual rust checks on their car. A rattling sound is also a sign that something has come loose or misaligned, from rust or otherwise.

Congested Catalytic Converter

The job of a catalytic converter is to convert harmful pollutants into harmless gases. However, ultimately, the converter may becoming congested, reducing its efficiency. When driving, if there is a smell of sulphur in the air, or if the floor of the car is hot, then there might be an issue with the catalytic converter.

Failing Oxygen Sensor

Located either side of the catalytic converter, it’s the job of this sensor to measure oxygen in the engine and regulate the air to fuel ratio, helping to improve fuel economy. This sensor can become less accurate over time, lessening the efficiency of your engine. Signs that your oxygen sensor may be failing include a possible warning on your dashboard controls, or you might notice that your engine has been over-consuming fuel.

Faulty Muffler

The muffler works to reduce the noise of your car exhaust, but rust may cause holes to form. Cold weather is especially damaging to the muffler, as condensation in the air can combine with sulphur to create corrosive acids that can attack and weaken the muffler. A sure sign that your muffler needs replacing is if your vehicle has become noisier lately, such as making a roaring sound.

Damaged Exhaust Manifold

An exhaust manifold collects gases from parts of the engine and channels it down the exhaust pipe, preventing any fumes from leaking into the passenger area. This car component is exposed to extreme pressure and heat, and consequently, damage may occur to the manifold, including the formation of fissures or holes, which can lead to leaking. Listen out for hissing sounds, which may indicate a crack.

Here at Fastfit Express, we recognise the importance of an efficiently working exhaust system. We offer high quality and competitively priced exhaust replacement and repair services, making sure that any exhaust problem is quickly resolved to a high standard. Get in touch with our team today to discuss your issue.

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