The Dangers Of Exhaust Leaks

The Dangers Of Exhaust Leaks

Is your vehicle spewing exhaust every time you press the accelerator? Is the exhaust making a loud, obnoxious noise every time your vehicle is running? You may think these things are harmless, just something annoying that is on the bottom of your long list of things to do. If those are the thoughts running through your mind, think again. Exhaust leaks not only can be bad for your vehicle, they can also be harmful to the people inside it. It’s important that you know the signs of a dangerous exhaust and what affects it may have on you and the rest of your vehicle.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

This is the most important part of this issue, so it will appropriately be the first danger listed of a leaky exhaust. The last thing you want to do is poison you or your passengers. An exhaust that is leaking may seep into the passenger compartment of your vehicle at any time, creating an immense danger to you and anyone else in the car. Carbon monoxide poisoning makes you incapable of driving properly due to headache, nausea, sleepiness, confusion and/or unconsciousness, also making you a danger to other drivers around you. Carbon monoxide poisoning can even be fatal. This is why a noisy, leaky exhaust should be checked out immediately by a local professional.

Catalytic Converter Meltdown

A meltdown of your catalytic converter is another effect from exhaust leaks that is a large danger to anyone driving with one. If too much fuel gets into your exhaust stream, your car’s catalytic converter runs the risk of overheating to nearly 500 degrees. Temperatures as high as these can be expected to crack and melt the converter’s matrix. These extreme temperatures can also be dangerous, as any flammables that come near that high of heat have an easy chance to start a fire.

Fuel Economy

No one wants to hear that they are throwing money away, but that is exactly what you are doing if you have an exhaust leak. Due to performance decrease, which is touched on further in this article, the fuel will be overly rich. If this is the case, the driver will have to have more of a lead foot, ultimately resulting in poorer fuel economy. If nothing else, fixing an exhaust leak could potentially save you hundreds in extra gas costs over the years.


If your vehicle was made in the last twenty years and has an exhaust leak upstream from the catalytic converter, then there is no doubt that your vehicle’s performance will be negatively affected. This happens because your engine’s oxygen sensors are not receiving the right information from about the engine’s air to fuel ratio. When the wrong information is given, the engine will increase or decrease its fuel injection, trying to compensate for the problem. This results in an unfortunate decrease in vehicle performance.

These are just a few of the many things that can go wrong when you leave an exhaust leak untouched. Anything that isn’t working correctly on a vehicle should get checked out immediately by an auto repair professional, no matter what. This is the best way to prevent further damage for you, your passengers, and the vehicle.

Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited offers the best auto repair Columbia MO has to offer, where their expert staff can get your car back on the road in no time.