Car Care: Check exhaust before it can break

You are driving along and you notice a rattling sound coming from your exhaust system - the rattle then becomes a knock and moments later your exhaust is trailing along the road with a trail of sparks behind it.

If you notice something wrong with your exhaust, then it pays to check your exhaust and muffler as soon as possible. Here are a number of things you may need to look out for when checking.

1. Every inch
Be sure to examine and check thoroughly all areas of the exhaust from the engine down to the tailpipe. Cracks and other holes often appear where the exhaust manifold connects to the cylinder and the main pipe.

2. Muffler
If the car in question is your daily driver, make sure to go over the muffler with a fine-tooth comb. Stone chips, grit and other nasties can be thrown up and potentially dent, or puncture the muffler.

3. Rust
Like those dents and chips, rust can appear without warning. As your exhaust has connect points from the engine to the muffler and sometimes in between, rust can often take hold in these areas.

4. Light headed
If you start to smell fumes or feel a bit drowsy while behind the wheel, it could be your exhaust has a leak somewhere.

DIY:
If you find your exhaust has broken away entirely, do not fret, because if you have the right tools, you can fix this yourself.

The car needs to be elevated so a hoist or wheel ramps is a must. Do not ever attempt a job like this under a jack.

For this job you will also need the following items, which can all be bought from automotive and hardware specialist stores.

*Tin snips
*Jubilee clips
*Flat head screwdriver
*Eye protection
*An empty tin can
*Exhaust sealant
*Other assorted spanners and pliers
*Thick gloves
*Plus wear some old clothes because there is a chance you will get dirty.

Once you have found the break, use the tin snips to turn the can to a clean sheet of tin, then roll it up till it is able to fit in one end of the broken exhaust. Make sure you have your thick gloves on when doing this because tin is not a soft material.

Pushing the other section of exhaust into place, the tin can will now bridge the two halves together.

The next step is to ensure the exhaust will not run away on you again. First off, attach the first jubilee clip around the looser section of your exhaust. The second one should link with the first around the other half of the break, binding the two together, then use your flat-head screwdriver to fasten.

Finally you apply the exhaust sealant to the broken areas and wait until it has set.

This is not designed as a long-lasting repair. For a full repair, it is best you seek the advice of an automotive exhaust specialist.

- NZ Herald

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