Checking Your Exhaust

Tips For Checking Your Exhaust

The exhaust system on any vehicle, including a motorhome, is the part of the engine which takes the excess fumes and gases produced by the engine and funnels them through a system of pipes to an opening, usually at the back of the vehicle. Many modern vehicles also have a catalytic converter or “cat” fitted to the exhaust to ensure that the fumes are less toxic. Exhausts don’t have as many moving parts as other parts of the engine, but are still prone to going wrong every now and again. Knowing what the main issues are, and how to spot them could help you keep repair costs to a minimum.

MOT or Free Checks

If your motorhome is over three years old, the exhaust system will be thoroughly checked each time you take it for a MOT test. If anything is found to be wrong with the exhaust, you’ll have to pay to have it put right or risk failing the MOT next time round. Many car care centres offer free checks on your exhaust system and catalytic convertor, and these can help put your mind at ease in between more formal checks. 

Problems with the Catalytic Convertor

One of the parts of the exhaust which is most prone to going wrong is the catalytic convertor. Some of the most common symptoms of a catalytic convertor which has broken or is working at reduced efficiency include a drop in fuel efficiency, problems starting the motorhome, lack of acceleration and seeing a warning light on the dashboard. If your catalytic convertor has started to fail, this is easily diagnosed by a garage. A catalytic convertor should last between 70,000 and 100,000 miles. Having a new catalytic convertor fitted can cost upwards of £500, but without a working convertor your motorhome won’t pass emissions tests.

Other Common Exhaust Problems

Apart from the catalytic convertor developing a problem, the main issues associated with exhausts are due to rust and knocks. As the exhaust system lies along the bottom of the chassis, it’s easily knocked if you go too fast over a bump in the road. Similarly, the constant splashing of water onto the pipes from the road can also encourage rust. It’s fairly easy to check for dents, cracks or rust along the exhaust, but it will mean getting down onto the ground and doing a visual inspection. An increased noise or rattling from the exhaust system could be a sign that it has become damaged. Patching or repairing an exhaust system is sometimes possible, but it’s often recommended to replace the silencer, or back box, or whichever part is faulty. 

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