Exhaust Service at West Service Center, Inc.: Passing the Smell Test

The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most Chesapeake car owners realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All Virginia folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That’s why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so essential. We can help you with that at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it, and you will die.

To keep this gas, and others, from entering your van passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at West Service Center, Inc. for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other Chesapeake roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your van exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You’ll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn’t require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler’s job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter’s. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most Chesapeake car owners don’t realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in Chesapeake with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn’t mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your van engine running smoothly and maintains good gas mileage. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your van healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the van, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn’t. If you don’t inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your van owner’s manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it’s good health advice for all Chesapeake drivers and their families.

Chesapeake Exhaust And Emissions Service

Many Chesapeake auto owners don’t realize that there is more to exhaust system maintanance than just tailpipes and mufflers. And if you can see smoke, or if it’s too loud. Exhaust service at a full-service automotive center like West Service Center, Inc. is really a lot more comprehensive these days.

For example, in the U.S., the federal government required catalytic converters for all cars in Chesapeake in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. Virginia and federal emissions requirements have forced manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental laws. This also goes for cars sold in Canada.

So, exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer-controlled emissions devices are now necessary. And because it’s so sophisticated, auto manufacturers recommend having your emission system checked out by a qualified technician, like the ones we have at West Service Center, Inc., regularly to make sure everything’s working right – which is usually every six months or 6,000 miles.

If your ‘check engine light’ comes on while you are driving around the Chesapeake area, especially if it’s flashing, then you need to bring your car into West Service Center, Inc. ASAP. Chances are it’s an emission related problem. Signs of exhaust or emissions trouble include difficulty starting, engine noise or smoke.

So let’s do a quick rundown of the exhaust system for Chesapeake auto owners. First up, the exhaust manifold. That’s the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe.

The exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and other joints along the way. Now, if the manifold is cracked or loose, or a gasket is leaking, then harmful gases could escape into the cabin, where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it’s important that your exhaust system doesn’t leak.

The exhaust pipes connect the various critical components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.

Next comes the catalytic converter. This part actually looks like a muffler. It changes toxic chemicals into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any maintenance itself for Chesapeake car owners, but eventually it wears out. If yours has stopped working, you probably won’t discover it until your car fails its Virginia emissions inspection.

Next, the muffler. The critical job of this aptly-named part is to muffle engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound. Many Chesapeake drivers don’t know that you can actually customize your car’s sound with different mufflers – which is pretty cool because in addition to changing the look of your ride, you can also customize its sound!

Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can actually leak and they need to be replaced right away. The exhaust system is attached to the car by a series of hangers and clamps that hold the system in place. And when these hangers come loose or break then hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines. Just think of how harmful a hot curling iron can be – but worse. It’s not good to have that waving around. Talk to your honest West Service Center, Inc. service advisor.

And finally, we end at the tailpipe. Appropriate name. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. And one other component is the oxygen sensor. It monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine-control computer can adjust the vital fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.

We hope this hasn’t been too ‘exhausting’ of a discussion. Remember that a properly functioning exhaust system is vital for Chesapeake car owners’ health and safety. Talk with your honest service advisor at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake if you think you might need an automotive analysis of your exhaust system. A quick look can sure save a lot of pain down the road.

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