We’ve all heard it– the rumbling sounds of a Mustang’s V8; the rapid-fire blat blat blat of a modified Honda Civic; or the rasp of a Subaru WRX. The unique configuration of a car’s exhaust system is responsible for all these sounds and more.

Regardless of the type of vehicle you drive, every exhaust system is composed of a few basic parts. Held together with a series of clamps, and working in conjunction with hangers, flanges, and gaskets, your exhaust system performs the task of preventing harmful engine emissions from entering the car. Our Clearfield car repair team breaks down the basics below.

Parts of the Exhaust System

While the configuration may vary, a basic exhaust system contains the following parts:

  • Exhaust Manifold – Think of this component as a funnel for fumes. It directs engine emissions from the engine cylinders to an exit, known as the front pipe. 
  • Engine Cylinders – These create the power of the engine. In the cylinders, fuel is heated and converted into energy to get your vehicle in motion. Within a cylinder is a piston that moves up and down, compressing the fuel and creating combustion.
  • Front Pipe – This part of the exhaust system sends toxic engine emissions through a catalytic converter, the function of which is to filter the toxic fumes and particles into less harmful gasses. As a result, the gasses emitted from the converter in a gasoline engine become inert. 
    • Inert gas is one that is non-reactive when combined with other elements. The job of the catalytic converter is to transform a toxic gas like carbon monoxide (CO) into carbon dioxide (CO2). Some toxic gases from an engine are converted into water vapor.
  • Muffler and Resonator – After the catalytic converter, the gasses go through the muffler, which deadens sound. Mufflers are a series of tubes, holes, baffles, and chambers that manipulate the sounds produced by the engine so they are muffled. The resonator acts like a tuner, altering engine noise frequencies to create the ideal exhaust note.
    • Exhaust Note – Did you know you can tune your car to have different exhaust notes? Like an instrument, your car produces a cacophony of sounds. The type of engine you have (V8, six- or four-cylinder) can contribute to the exhaust note your car produces. With customization to your exhaust system, you can alter the final note of your car’s engine. For example, customizing the stock exhaust manifold or muffler on your vehicle can change your exhaust note from a rumble to a rasp.
    • Master Muffler Clearfield can help you with car repair needs related to your stock muffler and exhaust system, or we can work with your customized upgrades. We provide both standard and custom exhaust replacements and/or customizations.
  • Tail Pipe – This is the pipe, typically found at the back of the car, that provides a final exit for all the fumes created by the engine. 

At Master Muffler we might be slightly biased, but we are pretty passionate about this important operating system in your car.

Purpose of the exhaust system

Now that you know what parts are in the exhaust system, let’s talk about why we have them. 

The first patent for a vehicle powered by a gasoline engine was requested in 1886. But, for about a decade, mufflers weren’t a part of the exhaust system. People could hear you coming from a mile away! In 1897, the first muffler was invented to silence the exhaust of a motorbike, and everyone heaved a sigh of relief; motorcycles and automobiles would no longer terrorize the ears of pedestrians or horses along the roadways.

In addition to muffling sound, an exhaust system is also designed to reduce air pollution, enhance engine performance, and improve fuel consumption.

Toxins Produced by Engines

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Nitrogen Oxide
  • Nitrogen Monoxide

In 1962, the catalytic converter was patented to reduce the toxic emissions produced by car exhaust. In modern vehicles, catalytic converters are responsible for converting about 90% of these pollutants into inert gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor. Before the use of catalysts in cars, it’s believed the pollution emitted by one car would equal that produced by 100 cars today.

In a diesel engine, a particulate filter works with a catalytic converter to not only reduce toxic fumes emitted but actual particulate matter as well. These filters are 90-99% effective at keeping pollutants out of the air.

Due to environmental regulations on emissions, it’s important to visit your trusted Clearfield car repair experts for routine maintenance to prevent damage to your exhaust system. You don’t want to be known as the noisiest car on the block!

How the Exhaust Improves Engine Performance

Whether you’re working with your original exhaust system or an aftermarket upgrade, a performance exhaust can more efficiently direct gases out of the engine. As a result, the engine can focus on creating more power for your vehicle and can run smoother. The faster the “bad” air leaves the engine, the faster “good” air can combine with fuel and get on with the work of combustion.

For Clearfield car repair needs ranging from mufflers and oil changes to emissions testing and tire rotation, make your appointment with Master Muffler today.