A Perfectly Tuned Note
European vehicles are well-known for their signature sound as they pass you by. Their perfectly tuned exhaust notes resonate in the streets, matched with the power and driving experience the engine is producing. Exhaust systems on European vehicles play a crucial role in the performance and safety of your vehicle each time you get behind the wheel.
Many people believe the exhaust system is synonymous with the muffler, but it actually plays a much more crucial role. These components not only help your engine perform by maintaining the right pressures but keep you and your passengers safe as well. By directing harmful fumes away from the cabin and filtering them before they enter the air, the exhaust system helps protect us, and our environment.
Exhaust System Anatomy
There are several components that make up a typical exhaust system. They are as follows:
- Exhaust Manifold: The exhaust manifold is responsible for venting the newly produced fumes caused by combustion in the engine cylinders, and directing it away from the engine.
- Oxygen Sensor: Also commonly referred to as the O2 sensor, the oxygen sensor helps regulate the engine’s computer and regulate the proper air to fuel ratio.
- Catalytic Converter: The catalytic converter, also referred to as the “Cat”, is responsible for helping to filter out harmful components of exhaust fumes before they are released into the air. This part of the system is commonly associated with smog tests in states that require it.
- Exhaust Pipes: The exhaust pipes connect each component of the whole system, and direct the exhaust fumes through each stage until they exit through the muffler.
- Muffler: The muffler is at the end of the system and its job is to dampen sound. This is achieved (or purposely left out in the case of some performance mufflers) with small “chambers” that slow down and quiet the airflow.
Exhaust System Specialists
Common Exhaust System Issues
The most common exhaust issue is an exhaust leak, which occurs when there is a break somewhere in the system and exhaust fumes escape prematurely. This can be dangerous to those in the vehicle, and will likely impact performance. On the Space Coast, like many other coastal communities, corrosion from the salt in the air can cause components to rust prematurely, and in turn leak. If you believe you smell these fumes, you need to get your system checked immediately.
The O2 sensor may also develop issues over time. If this occurs, you can expect the performance of your vehicle to be greatly impacted. When the O2 sensor isn’t correctly measuring the fuel to air ratio, you may have trouble accelerating or have a very rough idle.
Performance Exhaust Systems
Performance exhaust systems are a common upgrade that many European vehicle owners choose. There are several excellent kits available depending on the make and model of your vehicle and your overall goals. The best way to determine which type of performance exhaust system is right for you is by speaking with professionals at a trusted shop like MMS.