How to Tell if Your Car Needs a New Exhaust

After you have consistently maintained your vehicle’s exhaust, over time it will eventually need to be replaced entirely. Unless you are aware of the changes your car will go through when it is time to get a new exhaust system, it could be hard to know when that time will exactly be. An exhaust is a complex system that works simultaneously with all the pipes it is comprised of. Due to its intricacy, it can be difficult to pinpoint where the issue is coming from.

Typically, your car’s check engine light will let you know there is a possible issue within the exhaust system. Other than the check engine light, there are several severe signs to look out for when your exhaust has a problem. If those issues cannot be salvaged, your car is ready for a new exhaust. Here is how to know when to replace it.


The most common sign that will present itself when you need a new exhaust would be the roaring noise your muffler will make. The sound that your exhaust makes travels through the muffler. The muffler then will reduce the vibration, lowering the sound that the system makes. Unfortunately, if your exhaust is damaged, the sound it produces will be louder than usual. The sounds you may hear include hissing, banging, and vibration due to the transmission of gases. Along with the vibration that you will hear, your gas pedal may also vibrate heavily too. This signals that there is an issue with the exhaust.

An exhaust keeps the engine noise faint. If there are any holes due to rust, sounds will escape through. It will create rumbles and muffling noises because it is no longer a sealed unit. If your vehicle sounds louder than usual, this is an indication of an exhaust leak which is harmful due to the poisonous fumes.


Taking a look at your exhaust is another way to see if it needs replacing. Your muffler, tail pipe and entire exhaust system will show visible signs that it needs to be changed. If you see black spots, these are caused by carbon deposits as a result of leaks. It is common for an exhaust to have rust, but if you see an extreme amount, this can be detrimental. An abundance of rust will cause your exhaust to fall apart, break and leak gas by cause of holes. It is best to spot excessive rust before the exhaust begins to breakdown, creating unsafe conditions for your car.

When your vehicle is going through its regular servicing, have your exhaust looked at. Decay and fractures may be the early indications of repair. The initially signs of corrosion can be visual, before you hear or smell a change in the way your car usually operates.


Fumes are a major indicator that your exhaust needs to be replaced with a new one. It is important not to ignore foul, rotten egg-like smells because they are seriously harmful to your health and the environment.  It helps to think of an exhaust system as the lungs of your vehicle. What your engine takes in, the exhaust system releases it; similar to exhaling and inhaling. When carbon deposits and rust spreads, toxic gases will leak and become more potent in the air. The exhaust gas that you are smelling are not properly traveling through the muffler, thus fumes get trapped in your car as well. This is a problem with your catalytic converter, one of the many elements that make up the entire system.

A leak in the exhaust system is dangerous because the fumes you are inhaling are made up of carbon monoxide which is poisonous. If you are running your car in a confined space and breathe in the toxic gas, you can potentially face health risks. For the reason that this can cause severe damage to your well-being, it is best to have a professional handle the installation of a new exhaust.

Proof of when to get a new exhaust amounts to many different factors. However, they all rely on your senses. How to tell when your vehicle needs a new one is contingent on the sounds you hear, the visible wear, and the smells that are exuded. If you have any questions, call A1A Exhaust Tech. Our expert exhaust techs will be more than happy to help you out!