Exhaust Systems and Mufflers | Clackamas Tire & Brake
A properly performing Muffler and Exhaust System is better for your car and the environment.
The Exhaust System is responsible for several key jobs in your vehicle: noise reduction and also reducing harmful engine emissions. Gases are created during engine combustion that move through the exhaust system starting at the Exhaust Manifolds connected to the cylinder heads, pass through the Oxygen Sensors where the gas is analyzed and then filtered through the Catalytic Converter and then finally, out of the vehicle via the Muffler.
When any part of the exhaust system is damaged, your vehicle will begin to suffer - by running rougher and louder, decreasing your gas mileage, and by releasing more toxic gas into the air that is harmful to people and the environment. It's the reason that many states, including Oregon, require vehicles to pass an Emissions test before they are deemed road legal. Oregonians must submit their vehicle to DEQ Emissions Testing every two years in order to renew their tags.
Failing DEQ usually indicates a Muffler or Exhaust problem.
Exhaust systems have been made with stainless steel parts and the EMS (Engine Management Systems) have been controlled by computers since the 1990's. Mufflers have been designed to last for years without issue, some even can last the lifetime of the vehicle. If you hear noise that gets worse or louder when accelerating, your muffler may be damaged and need repair or replacement.
Wear-and-tear to the Exhaust System can be a results of climate and road conditions that damage and break down the components over time. It's important to regularly inspect all exhaust components and replace any parts that are broken, missing, or malfunctioning. The Oxygen Sensor is the most frequently replaced part of the Exhaust System.
High Performance Mufflers are available. These aftermarket parts do not increase gas mileage but can further reduce sound. Aftermarket Muffler Systems are available for performance and sound control. Flowmaster is one of the best brands in performance Exhaust Systems. We also carry Magnaflow Exhaust Systems, known for high performance and great sound.
- WHAT ARE THE MOST OBVIOUS SIGNS OF AN EXHAUST PROBLEM?
Do you hear a deep, rumbling sound coming from your vehicle? That's a pretty good indication that your exhaust system or muffler needs to be serviced. Driving on an exhaust leak or a bad Catalytic COnverter often times damages other important systems in your vehicle. If you smell exhaust inside your car or suspect a leak, roll your windows down while you drive and get your vehicle inspected immediately.
Sometimes the sound from an exhaust leak is loud; an obvious sign that something is wrong. On the other hand, an exhaust leak could be a simple ticking sound when you start the engine and disappears as soon as you start to drive. It's a hard to notice indication that their could be a small crack, bad fitting, or gasket leaking when the exhaust system is cold - but seals up when the metal heats and expands.
- WHAT IF MY VEHICLE CANNOT PASS DEQ TESTING?
In the state of Oregon, any vehicle newer than 1975 must pass DEQ Testing - also known as a Clean Air Station or Smog Inspection Station - in order to be road operable. You cannot renew your vehicle tags without passing DEQ first. There is a $22 fee for DEQ testing. You are not charged this fee if your vehicle fails and you have the opportunity to service and repair your vehicle before testing again. DEQ Testing can only be done by the State of Oregon.
In the event that your vehicle is unable to pass Emissions Testing, your vehicle will require maintenance or repair in order to pass DEQ. Our Repair Facility is fully equipped and highly experienced in exhaust and emissions related repairs that can get your vehicle back to safe Emissions standards. For DEQ Testing Facilities near you, please visit the Oregon State DEQ website.
- WHY DO I SEE SMOKE AND DRIPPING FROM MY MUFFLER?
Smoke is expected when the vehicle is first started and warming up. This is only a concern if the engine has been running and dark smoke is coming from the exhaust system and muffler. Dripping is something we expect to see, it's not a leak. It's simply water condesation that drains through the Muffler or out of the tailpipe. It's caused by the engine and it's normal for all vehicles.
- CAN THE MUFFLER BE TAKEN OFF MY CAR OR TRUCK?
Yes, the muffler can technically be removed. This is dangerous and not recommended by automotive technicians or police. First, vehicles without Mufflers are not street legal and can no longer be driven on public streets or highways. Mufflers do exactly what the name implies, muffle noise, and removing the muffler results in a lot of loud noise from the engine. Most importantly, this is a serious safety concern: by removing the Muffler, you leave your vehicle open to the exhaust fumes entering the cabin of the cabin of the car. This is known to cause illness and death.
- WHY IS THERE COLORED SMOKE COMING FROM MY VEHICLE'S EXHAUST PIPE?
Smoke emerging from your tailpipe is usually a sign of a problem with your engine. It doesn't mean necessarily that you need to replace your engine, but you do need to document/photograph the smoke that is coming from your exhaust system and bring your vehicle into a local ASE Certified Technician for inspection. There are three common colors of smoke: white smoke, blue smoke, and black smoke.
White smoke is actually steam caused by water or antifreeze. This steam is created because your car's engine is burning coolant. Any amount of Antifreeze that enters the cylinder will produce the white smoke or steam that you see. The problem stems from leaks in the cylinder head gaskets that seal the cylinder head where it attaches to teh engine body. The gaskets prevent coolant or antifreeze from entering the combustion chamber where a fuel and air mixture is compressed and burnt.
Blue smoke is an indication that engine oil is being burnt along with the fuel and air mixture in the engine’s cylinders. This is more likely to occur in older vehicles with higher mileage. The vehicle engine has many seals and gaskets that are designed to keep the oil from entering the cylinders and blue smoke is an indication that one or more of those seals or gaskets has failed. Excess amounts of oil being burnt in the cylinders will cause the spark plugs to foul. When spark plugs foul, your engine starts to misfire.
When excess fuel is entering the cylinder, black smoke may start to show in the exhaust pipe; the air/fuel mixture is critical to efficient combustion, the excess fuel cannot be burnt. This condition is often referred to as ‘running rich’. This condition can cause poor fuel economy (bad gas mileage), poor engine performance and produce an odor of fuel. On older vehicles using a carburetor, odds are that the carburetor is out of adjustment. Other causes for excess fuel or ‘running rich’ could be a faulty fuel pump, a leaky fuel injector, or a faulty engine computer or computer sensor.
- I'M SEEING BLUE OR BLACK SMOKE COMING FROM MY EXHAUST!
Check would be to see if there is the correct amount of coolant or antifreeze inside the radiator overflow. Next, examine carefully to see if the antifreeze is contaminated with engine oil. Pull out the engine dipstick for any signs of the oil being contaminated with antifreeze. Additionally, check the underside of oil fill cap. When oil is contaminated with antifreeze, the color of the oil will be similar to a chocolate milkshake. If your car’s engine oil is contaminated, do not start the engine. There is most likely serious internal engine damage – and operating the engine could make it worse.
How does antifreeze or coolant get into the engine oil? This usually occurs as a result of the engine being overheated. Excess heat causes the head gasket to fail. That allows the coolant or antifreeze to enter the combustion chamber (cylinder).
Check the engine oil and make sure excess fuel has not contaminated the oil. In the case of fuel contamination, there will be a distinct odor of raw fuel in the engine oil. In either of the cases listed above, the smoke from your tailpipe should not be ignored. Book your next service appointment to determine the reason why smoke is coming from your tailpipe.