An Exhaust Leak: Why It Happens
An exhaust leak is a quick way to drive up your expenses. Not only can a leak lead to costly repairs, but you will also experience a decline in your fuel efficiency, which drives up your fuel costs. It's clear that an exhaust leak is an issue, but what's not always as clear is why this issue occurs. If you have a leak, learn about some of the culprits that might be behind the problem.
Expansion and Contraction
If you've ever touched the hood of your car before you started it up and then again after a drive, you know that the area goes from cool to hot. All of the components under the vehicle's hood are subject to this temperature variance, including the exhaust.
As the temperature increases, the exhaust assembly will expand in response to the added heat, and as the temperature cools, the assembly contracts back into its original size. This routine expansion and contraction process puts wear on the metal that holds together the exhaust, which can lead to cracks and ultimately leaks.
Just between the exhaust assembly and the engine is a small gasket, which is intended to contain any fluids that flow through the area. Keep in mind that gaskets are typically made from a similar metal material as the exhaust assembly. As a result, the temperature changes that take place in this area can lead to the gasket experiencing the same fate.
If you experience this issue, you might notice a watery solution or oil-like fluid leaking from the area. Fortunately, a leak from the gasket is often an easier fix since a repair professional can generally detect and repair a gasket issuer easier than an entire exhaust assembly.
One of the more common but overlooked reasons for an exhaust leak is rust — more specifically, rust that is linked to normal wear and tear. If you have an older vehicle and you experience this issue, it's highly likely that a quick look at the exhaust will reveal a rusted assembly.
Rust is a normal occurrence and is the result of a reaction between moisture that rests on the assembly and the metal itself. Since rust leads to deterioration, a leak is often the result of a breakdown in the exhaust housing that has caused small holes or cracks to form.
If you detect an exhaust leak, you want to speak with a repair professional at a local car exhaust repair shop as soon as possible to diagnose and correct the problem.