Saving Money on Automotive Maintenance: Exhaust Leak Problems & Repairs

    July 8, 2013

Not getting much fuel to a gallon? Hearing a small rumble from underneath your car? Your car could be more than just aging. It could be a serious issue with your exhaust.

Exhaust leaks today are becoming less and less common with more efficient machinery and higher levels of checkup on cars, but with older cars, the dreaded sound of a deep, throaty sound and the smell of gas are the first signs of a serious concern.

car exhaust

Two Main Causes

Auto maintenance experts will tell you there are two main causes for the decay of exhausts.

  1. The position of the exhaust – Being at the center of the car underbelly, the exhaust endures all the bumps and scratches while driving, which causes deterioration over time.

  2. A problem with the catalytic converter – The aim of this funny sounding device is a benevolent one. Not installed on older models, the instrument is in charge of converting toxic byproducts from combustion into less harmful substances such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. This presents an issue of its own. The water vapor produced by the catalytic converter doesn’t get expelled on short trips because the machine has not warmed up sufficiently to be effective. This means the water vapor condenses back into water. If sulfur, another byproduct of engine emissions, is present, it can form a corrosive acid which can eat away at the exhaust.

Negative Effects of Exhaust Leaks

Exhaust leaks can lead to many negative effects. The obvious, noticeable ones are reduced fuel economy due to the leak and the loud rumble that accompanies the leaks. The most serious, and sometimes deadly, side effect is carbon monoxide poisoning. A byproduct released during combustion, it only takes a small amount of the odorless and colorless gas to have an impact on your health, and possibly lead to death.

Do-it-Yourself Exhaust Repair

So why am I telling you all of this? Since 1996 I’ve been driving a Nissan Maxima. It’s in good condition, well kept, and used daily. It had clocked up about 284,000 miles until I heard a small rumble from underneath. It was my first exhaust leak on the car.

I was expecting it, as stock exhausts will usually last about 100,000 miles before incurring a leak, and older cars are more vulnerable.

Straight away I went underneath and had a look at the damage. I decided the most effective product to use, without the overhead of hiring a mechanic, was LOCTITE 2” Black Insulating and Sealing Wrap. I wrapped the self-fusing silicone rubber wrap around the substrate, being sure to overlap the wrap with itself. This is an important step because the product does not bond to the substrate.

Completing the Repair

When I repair or assemble exhaust components, I always generously coat all connections and fasteners with LOCTITE anti-seize lubricants in order to make sure all connections fit into place correctly, and so that I can disassemble in the future if I so desire.

How the Repair is Performing

After a couple of months, the LOCTITE 2” Black Insulating and Sealing Wrap is holding up well with the car and I don’t have the dreaded rumble or potential threat to my health.

Other Uses for Insulating and Sealing Wrap

I’ve also used the wrap on many other projects around the house such as hose repair, pipe repair and even as an electrical insulation wrap. Watch this video to see how to use the wrap, and what other auto maintenance applications you can use it on:

Over to You

Do you have any questions about this repair, or using the wrap in general? Let me know in the comments! 

About the Author, Loren Nauss

Loren Nauss is currently Business Development Manager for maintenance chemicals at Henkel. In his 24 years of experience, Loren brings expertise in everything mechanical to his personal and work-related projects. Loren's built, assembled and fabricated American and foreign cars, trucks, motorcycles, manufacturing, processing, and pumping equipment. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Business from Eastern Connecticut State University.

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One response to “Saving Money on Automotive Maintenance: Exhaust Leak Problems & Repairs”

  1. Anthony Peterson says:

    I could neva get a long-lasting repair using hi-temp silicone wrapping. It’s a lil luck and a lot of skill. My leaks were at the connecting points along the exhaust system, at the flanges. Frustrated at repeatedly replacing the gasket btwn the flanges and at having to flatten the obviously metal fatiqued flanges, I designed a fix not found on the aftermarket. C Flange Bracket. This is a real fix. Not a spam. American idea. I had to mention due to my other posted that had been removed by other admins. Chk it out.
    Plz comment. Opinions matter.

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