Your vehicle’s exhaust system serves a relatively simple purpose. The primary goal of your vehicle’s exhaust system is to direct the gasses coming from the combustion chamber to a safe place. It stops the gasses from coming into your cab and causing you serious harm.
What the exhaust system does
Because the exhaust system pushes the gasses away from you and your windows, it’s usually somewhere under the rear bumper. The secondary purpose of the exhaust system is to muffle the sound of the explosions happening inside your engine.
In order to accomplish these goals, your exhaust system uses a variety of manifolds, heat shields, pipes, joints, flexible unions, mufflers, and rubber hangers. One of the most important of these is the exhaust flex pipe. The exhaust flex pipe is a type of metal bellows that allows the exhaust system flexibility. Flex pipes are an essential part of any front-wheel-drive vehicle and on most all-wheel-drive vehicles.
The exhaust flex pipes are typically made the same way exhaust bellows for engine exhaust industry are manufactured because they require high amounts of strength as well as great amounts of flexibility. They also need to be able to resist extreme temperatures. For example, in 2015, researchers at Brown University discovered a new material made of a mixture of hafnium, nitrogen, and carbon had the highest melting point of any substance at 7,460 degrees Fahrenheit. While exhaust flex pipes don’t need to withstand temperatures that high, they should be rated for temperatures up to around 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to check for an exhaust leak
If you notice something is wrong with your exhaust system, the first step is identifying where the problem is. Let your vehicle sit for about an hour before you start inspecting; otherwise, it will be too hot to touch. Start at your exhaust manifold and follow the piping back under your vehicle all the way to the rear. Look for any holes, dents, creases, or places where the pipe has broken or come apart. It’s also wise to inspect each of the exhaust components as you go back.
Exhaust leaks can be very dangerous, so make sure you put together a plan to fix the problem if you do find a leak in your exhaust system.