How to Fix a Bad Exhaust Leak

exhaust leak

If you have a leak in your exhaust, that can cause a lot of problems for your car. The leak might affect the gas mileage, it might cause that annoying “check engine” light to come on, and, in worse case scenarios, a leak in your exhaust pipe could even fill your car’s cabin with dangerous carbon monoxide gas.



If you suspect a leak in your exhaust pipe, don’t sit on it. Get it repaired as quickly as you can. It is better for your car and better for the environment. Here are some handy tips you can use to fix your own exhaust leak:

Signs of Damage

First things first, you need to make sure it really is an exhaust system leak that you’re dealing with. All fuel vehicles generate emissions. When the car is working properly, exhaust gas will exit through the exhaust pipe. When things aren’t working the right way, however, you may notice some of the following issues:

-A bad odor emitting from the exhaust pipe of the car

-The “check engine” light has come on



-An extra noisy exhaust pipe

All of these are signs that something is not quite right with the way your exhaust pipe is functioning.

Finding the Exhaust Leak

Small exhaust leaks usually show up with a small amount of soot around the rim of the outside of the pipe. Look for that soot while inspecting the entire exhaust including the flex joints.

Remember that parts of the exhaust system are hidden in wire mesh so you have to look thoroughly to find the source of the leak. You’ll likely have to jack your vehicle up high so you can get a full view of the entire exhaust system.

Once you’ve located where the leak is, it’s time for repairs:

Fixing Your Car Exhaust Leak

To fix your exhaust leak, you’re going to need a steel brush to scrub the area surrounding the leak and some exhaust tape.

Scrub the leak area well to get rid of dirt, mud, and rust and then follow that up with some sanding with fine grit sandpaper. This will remove any remaining particles of dirt that the steel brush didn’t.

Next, rinse the scrubbed area with acetone. Applying acetone will help the exhaust tape adhere to the pipe. Follow the instructions on your exhaust tape as some tape brands bond well with warm surfaces and others require wet surfaces. Use two layers of tape for a strong, tight grip.

If the hole is smaller than three inches in diameter, you can patch it with aluminum patches. Holes bigger than this will require a complete replacement of the part. Use hose clamps to hold aluminum patches in place until completely dry.

As you fix your exhaust pipe, don’t forget to wear gloves and goggle to protect your skin and eyes from acetone, rust, and dirt particles.

Learn More DIY Auto Repair Tips

Performing your own auto repairs, such as fixing your car’s exhaust leak, can save you a lot of money. It can also turn into an enjoyable hobby as you learn more about the inner workings of your car. To discover other ways to repair your car yourself, visit our website for lots of helpful tips.