Saving Money on Automotive Maintenance: Exhaust Leak Problems and Repairs

Not getting much fuel to a gallon? Hearing a small rumble from underneath your car? Your car could be more than just aging. It could be a serious issue with your exhaust.

Exhaust leaks today are becoming less common with more efficient machinery and higher levels of checkup on cars, but with older cars, the dreaded sound of a deep, throaty noise and the smell of gas are the first signs of a serious concern.

car exhaust

Two Main Causes of Exhaust Leaks

Auto maintenance experts will tell you there are two main causes for the decay of exhausts.

1. The position of the exhaust – Being at the center of the car’s underbelly, the exhaust endures all the bumps and scratches while driving, which causes deterioration over time.

2. A problem with the catalytic converter – The aim of this funny-sounding device is a benevolent one. Not installed on older models, the instrument is in charge of converting toxic byproducts from combustion into less harmful substances such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. This presents an issue of its own.

The water vapor produced by the catalytic converter doesn’t get expelled on short trips because the machine has not warmed up sufficiently to be effective. This means the water vapor condenses back into water. If sulfur, another byproduct of engine emissions, is present, it can form a corrosive acid that can eat away at the exhaust.

Negative Effects of Exhaust Leaks

Exhaust leaks can lead to many negative effects. The obvious, noticeable ones are reduced fuel economy due to the leak and the loud rumble that accompanies the leaks.

The most serious, and sometimes deadly, side effect is carbon monoxide poisoning. A byproduct released during combustion, it only takes a small amount of the odorless and colorless gas to have an impact on your health, and possibly lead to death.

Do-it-Yourself Exhaust Repair

So why do you need to know this? Since 1996, a Henkel team member been driving a Nissan Maxima. It’s in good condition, well kept, and used daily. It had clocked up about 284,000 miles until a small rumble started sounding from underneath. It was the first exhaust leak on the car.

It was not unexpected, as stock exhausts will usually last about 100,000 miles before incurring a leak, and older cars are more vulnerable.

Time to go underneath and look at the damage. It seemed like the most effective product to use, without the overhead of hiring a mechanic, was LOCTITE® 2” Black Insulating and Sealing Wrap. 

Just wrap the self-fusing silicone rubber wrap around the substrate, being sure to overlap the wrap with itself. This is an important step because the product does not bond to the substrate.

Completing the Repair

When repairing or assembling exhaust components, you should generously coat all connections and fasteners with LOCTITE® anti-seize lubricants – in order to make sure all connections fit into place correctly, and so that you can disassemble in the future if you so desire.

How the Repair is Performing

After a couple of months, the LOCTITE® 2” Black Insulating and Sealing Wrap is holding up well with the car, and there is no longer the dreaded rumble or potential health threat.

Other Uses for Insulating and Sealing Wrap

You can also use the wrap on many other projects around the house such as hose repair, pipe repair and even as an electrical insulation wrap.