While there are potentially dozens of problems with the average exhaust system, finding out what’s wrong with yours is vital to get the problem fixed. Whether the exhaust pipe, muffler, or any of the connections in between are broken, there are some common ways to fix them yourself. Thankfully, you can get yourself a few thousand more miles with some solutions you’ll find at any auto parts store.
Here is how you can take matters into your own hands.
Make Your Initial Assessment
Before you start going to work, you need to assess the situation. While you might be eager to get started and repair your issue, you need to examine the region around the exhaust pipe you’re looking to repair.
If you see that there’s a crack or any holes, you have options for repair with some easy and inexpensive remedies. If you’re looking to get some repair paste or putty, you can fill in the area for the price of a latte. When you combine that with a rust converter to keep rust from spreading as the surface deteriorates, you’ll have a longer-lasting solution.
For a section of pipe that needs to be replaced, you can find some alternatives to help you avoid major repair temporarily. Cutting off the damaged area and then replacing them with a small section of pipe that uses exhaust adapters, you can get more life out of your muffler. Get the exact diameter with the help of a vernier caliper so that you can tell your auto part store what pieces you need.
Small spacer pipes aren’t meant as a permanent solution but they can work wonders when you’re in a bind. Bent pipes require you to use a pipe shaper, which is a tool that might be impractical to purchase but you might be able to borrow from an auto parts store. Listen to their advice before you start bending and manipulating your pipe.
Repairing Your Pipe Takes Patience
Because this is a common enough issue that many auto owners take into their own hands, there are a lot of commercial exhaust repair kids available. Follow the instructions carefully so that you’re able to replace or repair your muffler or pipes in a way that lasts for a while.
Start off by cleaning up the area you’re trying to fix. Leaving dirt, debris, or rust around the region will cause further deterioration and make it hard for most adhesive to stick.
Idle the engine for a few minutes so that you warm the exhaust system up. Give yourself some space so that you don’t inhale any of the exhaust while it’s running and warming up.
You’ll need a piece of aluminum to place over the hole or the crack you’re trying to repair. You can cut a piece from a soda can if necessary, which should suffice. If you’re using putty, then you should use a metal screen but be careful not to burn your hands while you’re applying it.
Take a patch or wrap tape around the damaged area if it’s minor. You can then secure the tape with a clamp or a wire.
Heat from running your car is going to melt your patch and help to strengthen the seal over the patched area. After a few miles of driving, you’ll find that the patch is going to be adequately secured.
Preparing Your Car for Replacement
If it looks like the repairs are going to require you to get serious about replacing a section of broken or rusted pipe, you need to prepare your car.
Park it in a well-ventilated place to start. This way you won’t get sick while you’re working and testing things out. If you have jack stands or wheel ramps, put your car on these and set the emergency brakes to keep it from rolling.
Block the front and rear wheels with wooden blocks to keep the car from moving when you’re underneath it.
Grab some safety goggles to start the process. You don’t want rusty metal flaking off and landing in your eyes.
Start removing any screws from your exhaust system so that you can get access to everything. Get some rust penetrant in case you need to apply that to bolts in order to allow them to turn. Use the right kinds of socket and wrenches to avoid breaking the bolts.
Now you’re ready to get to work.
Replacing a Section of Pipe
When it’s time to replace a section of pipe, you need to start by cutting off the piece that needs to go. The best tool for the job is going to be either a hacksaw, exhaust pipe cutter, or a tubing cutter with a chain.
If you don’t own the tool, some auto parts stores have one you can borrow or rent. The biggest issue is going to be creating sparks. You could start a fire when you’re near the fuel tank.
With an accurate measurement, it’s time to cut the pipe you’re going to replace it with. Consider that you need space for it to fit over. Use an expander tool to help widen the pipe so you can join the two together.
Once it’s over the original pipe, use exhaust clamps to secure it. Don’t overtighten the clamps or you’ll end up creating an exhaust leak because of the bends between the two pipes.
If it looks like you might need to replace the whole system instead, find the best exhaust system and have a professional help you out.
Understanding How To Fix a Broken Exhaust Pipe Isn’t Easy
When you’re making an assessment of what’s wrong with your exhaust pipe, it might not be all that clear to you. You might sense or smell a problem, but not be able to pinpoint it. That’s when you need to call in a pro.
If you’re looking for a car that’s lower maintenance than the one you’re driving, check out our guide for tips.