Do I need a new exhaust?

By David Sholicar

The exhaust is a critical part of any vehicle with a petrol or diesel engine (although clearly not a component required on the growing number of purely electric vehicles!)

exhaust pipe

Your exhaust may not be a silent hero but it's a hero nonetheless. It does far more than simply removing fumes from the engine. The exhaust is essential in maintaining overall engine performance, fuel efficiency, reducing noise and in ensuring that your vehicle meets stringent emissions guidelines. But how can you tell when your exhaust needs replacing?

In general, exhausts are designed to last for around 5 years, but it can be far longer than this depending on a number of factors. These include the type of exhaust system, for example, stainless steel exhausts will outlast their mild steel counterparts but are more-costly.

We refer to the exhaust as a hero for various reasons. It is constantly exposed to extremely high temperatures from the exhaust engine gases, combined with often adverse road conditions. All of this, over time, can cause cracks, impact damage and holes through long term corrosion.

10 reasons you might need a new exhaust

The following are just some of the signs that may indicate an issue with your exhaust system. By no means all of these indicate that the exhaust system requires replacement:

  • The exhaust is loose. Possibly a broken or detached mount but may be the result of corrosion.

  • Visible rust. Surface rust is common but as corrosion progresses, it causes holes and, ultimately, system failure.

  • Excessive engine noise. May be a sign that your exhaust is damaged or nearing the end of its life. The failure of internal baffles or the presence of holes can result in increased noise levels.

  • Rattling. If there is a rattling sound as opposed to a roar, this may indicate that the internal components of the catalytic converter are damaged. This may be the result of impact damage, but it can also be caused by general wear and tear.

  • Roaring. Indicative of a hole or loose joint.

  • Lower fuel efficiency. Whilst there are a variety of possible reasons, a reduction in fuel efficiency could mean that your exhaust is leaking. This will affect the engine's performance with a commensurate effect on fuel efficiency.

  • Clanking noises. This could be an indication that the exhaust - or part of it - has become detached.

  • MOT emissions failure. A compromised exhaust may result in excess emissions and an MOT failure.

  • Excessive deposits. If the inside of the tailpipe is showing excessive deposits, this may indicate the internal components have reached the end of their lifespan.

  • Exhaust emitting from the underside of the car. An indication of a hole or other damage.

  • Scraping along the road. Extremely dangerous but more common than you might think.


Our experienced team of qualified fitters can soon assess the condition of your exhaust and make appropriate recommendations. We can replace all or part of your exhaust system, as appropriate, ensuring that you keep the cost down to a minimum.

Why not book your free exhaust check today?

Book a Free Exhaust Check

Share with your friends...

About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
View authorArrow right
How To Check your Suspension Bushes
The problem with suspension bushes is they deteriorate gradually, which means any issues will not be immediately obvious.
Find out moreChevron
How To Identify Issues With Your Vehicle From Just Your Exhaust
Vehicles are pretty good at making you aware if something is wrong. Here is a quick list of scenarios you may have experienced that are your exhausts way of alerting you to an issue.
Find out moreChevron