The exhaust system of your vehicle plays an important part in the proper operation of the vehicle. Vehicles create harmful gases during the combustion of fuel that happens when the engine is running. The exhaust system is used to expel those gases from the car, and to control the emissions that come out of the vehicle, the exhaust system also deadens the sound that is made by the internal combustion of the engine. It is important to keep a close eye on your exhaust system and to have it fixed if a leak is detected.

The exhaust gases of a vehicle are made up of: Hydrocarbons (unburned fuel), Carbon Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Phosphorus, Lead and other metals. These poisonous gases can be hazardous if they leak into the cabin of the vehicle. Having them properly exiting the vehicle through the exhaust, via the exhaust manifold, exhaust pipe, catalytic converter, muffler and tailpipe gets them away from the cabin of the vehicle.

The catalytic converter helps to turn these gases into mostly harmless fumes, that do much less damage to the environment. Routine inspections of the exhaust system is recommended. Your trusted repair facility should be looking for worn, rusted or deteriorating exhaust pipes, mufflers and catalytic converters. Some of the symptoms to look and listen for are: increased exhaust or engine sounds louder while running the vehicle, popping or ticking noises especially when cold, gas or rotten egg smells inside the cabin of the vehicle, sometimes a lack of power or backfiring while accelerating.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend having that exhaust system checked out. Whenever you are advised of an exhaust repair that is needed, we highly recommend having that repair performed. The most harmful gases from exhaust are the ones that you cannot smell like carbon monoxide, so that routine inspection of your exhaust system is very important. Keep that exhaust system in proper repair for your health, the health of your family and the health of the environment.

Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive, providing auto repair and auto maintenance in Historic Downtown Gresham. If you have questions or comments, call them at 503-465-2926 or email them at [email protected], you can also visit our website at

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