Exhaust Leak – What To Do When You Are Having An Exhaust Leak?

Exhaust Leak – What To Do When You Are Having An Exhaust Leak?

August 3, 2021 0 By CarGuy

So, you have been experiencing some weird noises coming from under the car when you apply the throttle? You shouldn’t worry, because probably it’s just an exhaust leak!

Exhaust leaks are pretty common and can happen to anyone, especially if your exhaust is pretty old and rusty. Exhaust fumes can escape from small pinholes and ruin your ride quality. But you shouldn’t worry because in this article we are going to try to teach you how to fix this issue once and for all.

An exhaust system in proper working order is essential for your car to run properly. Your exhaust is designed to purify the exhaust fumes and release fewer toxic particles into the atmosphere. So, if you have an exhaust leak it means that this process is stopped at some point and some of the gas that is inside of the exhaust is leaking before it comes to the end of the car.

The exhaust system also needs to be in proper working order if you want the engine to deliver the right amount of power and not to produce unpleasant sounds.

In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know when it comes to exhaust leaks. Which are the main symptoms of an exhaust leak and how to find the leak area. We also going to share some tips on how you can fix this problem using a welder. And lastly, we are going to cover what is the cost to replace a leaky exhaust with OEM or aftermarket exhaust system. If you want to learn more about exhaust leaks follow along till the end!

Exhaust Leak Symptoms

When your car has an exhaust leak, it’s going to develop some symptoms. Like with every other problem that occurs so it’s the case with the exhaust leak. Some of these symptoms are going to affect your ride quality and will probably annoy you. Some of them are going to affect the performance of the vehicle by a slight margin. We are going to list them in this chapter and learn more about them.

Hissing Sound

If your exhaust is leaking then you are probably going to experience some hissing sound from your car’s undercarriage. And if there is a slight pinhole the sound will be weak but as the damage progresses you are going to experience more unpleasant noise that will probably going to annoy you and your neighbors.

If you are running a V8 the engine rumble will increase by a slight margin. And if you have a big hole your car may sound obnoxiously loud.

If you are driving your car on the road like this you are also going to get fined. The police will notice the sounds that your car is making and will probably going to give you a ticket for driving your car in this condition. After this, you will have to take your car and get this thing resolved as soon as possible.

You shouldn’t ignore the sound when first appears. The smaller the hole the easier it is to patch. The bigger the hole the bigger the headache. In the end, you may need to get a new exhaust system.

Down On Power

If you are having some exhaust leaks then you are also suffering some power loss. This power loss is nothing significant but is enough for you to notice the issue.

The reason behind this is that the power loss occurs because your exhaust gasses do not flow smoothly. Any interruption inside of the exhaust pipe is going to possibly cause some power loss.

The exhaust is a crucial power for purifying the exhaust gasses and delivering a good power output. So, if you are having some exhaust leaks. Make sure that you patch them as soon as possible.

Your car will run more efficiently and you will have to visit the gas station less frequently.

Smell Of Gas

The smell of gas is another symptom when you are having an exhaust leak. This is most pronounced in cars that run rich.

If the fuel to air mixture is not good and the car is running rich it means that there is some fuel that is not burnt. This unburnt fuel either burns inside of the exhaust from the high temperatures or escapes into the atmosphere.

If your car smells of gas from the undercarriage. It means that you have a hole inside the exhaust system. Make sure that you inspect the exhaust system and see if there are any cracks that allow the exhaust gasses to escape.

This smell can also be toxic for you since you are breathing in something that is extremely poisonous and can drive you unconscious. That’s why this has to be properly resolved and the problem has to be fixed on time and not allow it to exacerbate and possibly damage your health.

Smell Of Exhaust Fumes Inside Of The Cabin

If you are feeling the smell of exhaust fumes inside of your cabin then you need to act quickly. Your exhaust is probably leaking from the front of the engine. Most likely from the exhaust manifold or the part of the exhaust that is connected with the manifold.

The smell of gas in the cabin is a red alarm. Because this gas is getting into your cabin and as we said it is highly likely to be toxic and can damage your health.

If you breathe too much, it can even put you unconscious and possibly take you into an accident. The best thing to do when you are having an exhaust leak in the cabin is to roll down the windows when you are driving to make sure that fresh air is getting inside of the cabin and book an appointment with your mechanic as soon as possible in order to get this thing resolved.

This symptom does not allow things to be delayed and can cause some permanent damage to your health. So, don’t wait and try to fix this problem as soon as possible.

How To Find An Exhaust Leak?

In order to locate the exhaust leak, first, you need to find the place that the hissing sound comes from. You need to be sure that the sound is coming from a specific place in order to narrow down the search.

If the sound comes from the front of the car, then you need to look at the front catalytic converter and the exhaust manifold.

If the sound comes from the back, then you have to look at the back muffler.

Also, it is a good idea to inspect the connection clamps that hold the muffler. Usually, holes are starting to develop on these spots.

Then it is a good idea to leave your car to cool down in order for the exhaust to be cold. Then get your car on a lift and lift it up in the air.

Take a flashlight and inspect the exhaust system. Make sure that you cover every spot and see for some carbon deposits.

The carbon deposits are a dead giveaway when you are dealing with exhaust leaks. Since you have located the hole in the exhaust, now it’s time to repair it.

How To Repair An Exhaust Leak?

You can repair an exhaust leak in many ways. We are going to cover the easiest ones first and then we will go to more advanced ways of fixing your exhaust.

1. Fixing Leaky Exhaust With A Clamp

Clamps are a good idea if you are having some exhaust leaks. They are also fairly simple to install. All you need are two wrenches to tighten up the clamp where the exhaust is leaking. And that’s it, no more exhaust leaks

2. Fixing the Exhaust With A Repair Epoxy Or Exhaust Tape

In order to fix this problem, you are going to need a steel brush to clean off the rust around the hole. You need to clean off the rust. Make sure that there is no more rust left and you are ready to apply the tape. Before applying the tape make sure that you start the car to heat the exhaust a bit. But not too much. This is required so the tape will glue on the exhaust easier. After the exhaust got up to temp, turn off the car and then apply the tape. Wait a few hours to cure and you are good to go.

If you are having a manifold leak then epoxy is the way to go. This epoxy is so strong that will harden like a rock after applying. It is very effective on intake manifolds.

The intake manifolds know to crack and develop issues. This epoxy is going to fix your problems. In order to apply it first make sure that the engine is cold. You don’t want to apply this epoxy on a hot engine that is working. The pressure will blow off your epoxy and you will not achieve anything.

Then apply the epoxy and leave it to cure for a few hours. After a few hours when the epoxy is hardened you can start the car and you are good to go. Just pay attention that this is a good fix for a certain period. It’s not going to last forever.

3. Fixing An Exhaust Leak With A Welder

If you are skilled at welding, then this job is going to be a piece of cake. You will need a welder and a patch to add to the place that has developed pinholes.

Make sure that you clean off the rust first and the spot has no corrosion. Then you will need to make a patch from a piece of metal. Make sure that you find some thicker metal that will not going to burn from the heat. Then you need to form the metal around the exhaust with a hammer.

After placing the patch and making sure it fits, now it’s welding time. But you need to be aware that you need to set your welder at lower amps in order not to burn through the metal.

Exhaust pipes are not very thick. And if you apply too much heat is going to pass through them. After welding the patch, you are good to go.

4. Replacing The Exhaust With A New One

Replacing the exhaust with a new one is probably the way to go. Especially if you are running some older model. For these cars, exhaust systems are fairly cheap to afford.

Cost To Fix An Exhaust Leak?

Exhaust clamps are fairly easy to install and cheap to purchase. They will cost you around $30 and they will fix your exhaust permanently.

If you opt for the exhaust tapes, they will set you back $10 -$30. Exhaust patches are good but they are not going to last for long. As their name says, they only patch for a small amount of time until you fix the problem permanently.

If you patch a metal plate, then your exhaust is good to go for many more miles. But you should note that some holes can develop around the patch. Since the metal is thin holes may start to develop after few months.

A new exhaust system is the permanent fix for this problem and will cost you from $500 and up to $2000 depending on the type of vehicle and the type of exhaust. Whether is a stock replacement or an aftermarket performance exhaust.


In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to exhaust leaks. We covered all the main symptoms that this problem develops and we also explained how you can locate a leak in your exhaust.

Then we went through all the ways that you can get your problem fixed. There are a few options, but replacing the exhaust is the most effective one. It may be pricier, but in the long run it’s going to pay off.

And lastly, we have covered the cost for each of these methods. Some of them are cheaper and some of them are pricier. Depending on which route you want to go there is a choice for everyone’s budget.