How Long Can I Drive With An Exhaust Leak?

How Long Can I Drive With An Exhaust Leak?

22nd May 2019

If you see symptoms of an exhaust leak, this is NOT the question to ask. If you’re not sure, we’ll help you find the signs of an exhaust leak in your car.

If your vehicle has an exhaust leak, you'll probably wonder if it’s safe to drive. You might also want to know if the exhaust leak will affect your vehicle's performance. (Hint: It WILL affect your car’s performance but that’s not the biggest problem.) While the severity of exhaust leaks varies, they usually create one or more symptoms. This could lead to other problems for you and your vehicle. That’s why it’s best to immediately fix an exhaust leak.

Overview of Exhaust Leaks

It’s when exhaust gasses leak out of the exhaust system before reaching the tailpipe. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for this to happen. These exhaust leaks are problematic for a few reasons. They can throw off sensors, which can make the engine burn too much or not enough fuel. They also release gasses into the environment. Lastly, these leaks can pose a risk to your health and that of your passengers.

Symptoms of an Exhaust Leak

When an exhaust leak occurs, you might notice a few things. Here are some of the signs of an exhaust leak that you should be on the lookout for:

  • Whistling noise coming from the engine bay
  • Excessive vibrations originating from the exhaust system
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Check engine light (CEL) comes on
  • Rattling noise coming from the catalytic converter

It’s best not to ask, “How long can I drive with an exhaust leak?” if you see these signs. For safety’s sake - and the environment - focus on how to fix it.

How to Fix an Exhaust Leak

First, you'll need to identify where the leak is. It can be anywhere between the engine's combustion chamber and the tailpipe. These leaks normally occur at the exhaust manifold. This collects gasses from the cylinders and funnels them through a pipe. This pipe leads to the catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, and then the tailpipe.

If there's a crack in your vehicle's exhaust manifold, it can cause an exhaust leak. Some drivers weld their cracked exhaust manifold, which might or might not work. You probably should consider replacing yours instead. This makes sure that no exhaust gasses can leak from the manifold.

Exhaust Leak Repair for DIYers

Is this something you plan to do yourself? If so, you probably already know what you need to do for your vehicle’s make and model. But do you have the necessary tools for the job? Here is some of what you’ll need to fix that exhaust leak:

  • Hydraulic Jack
  • Jack Stands
  • Screwdriver
  • Ratchet Sets
  • Nitrile Work Gloves
  • Shop-Vac
  • Wire Brush
  • Shop Towels
  • Exhaust Putty
  • Exhaust Tools and Clamps

  • Shop JB Tools and get the best prices on everything you need to fix an exhaust leak.