Winter Weather Ahead
Frost on your windshield, falling temperatures and snow in the weather forecast – winter is fast approaching! The cold and snow can adversely affect your vehicle’s exhaust system, so take some time before the winter weather sets in to learn what you can do to ensure that your exhaust system can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at it.
From snow and sleet to ice and freezing rain, winter weather can do a number on the roads and highways we drive on. Winter brings many road hazards that pose a threat to the exhaust system on your car.
Mounted on the bottom of the vehicle, the exhaust system takes a direct hit as you drive down the road; potholes, ice chunks and snow buildup can cause it serious damage. Likewise, while effective for removing ice from roads, salt is highly corrosive and can cause problems for your exhaust system. As you drive, salt gathers underneath your vehicle and can cause the exposed parts of your muffler and exhaust system to rust. In addition, your muffler can corrode from the inside out due to moisture collecting in the muffler during short trips. Both of these types of corrosion can cause dangerous exhaust leaks.
What You Can Do
You may not be able to control the weather and road conditions, but there are things you can do to ensure the health of your vehicle’s exhaust system throughout the winter season.
Wash Your Vehicle
While you never know when weather conditions will call for the roads to be salted, there is an important step you can take to safeguard your vehicle’s exhaust system during the winter season. After a storm or driving on roads that have been treated with salt, take your car through the car wash to get off any salt buildup that may have occurred. Whether you go to an automatic car wash or do it yourself, pay special attention to the undercarriage of your car.
Avoid Short Trips
In the winter, your vehicle needs time to warm up. When you make short trips, water vapor collected in the muffler doesn’t have a chance to burn off. This moisture sits inside the muffler and can cause it to rust from the inside out. Longer trips give your vehicle a chance to eliminate the moisture from the muffler.
Signs of Damage
Throughout the winter months, listen for signs that your exhaust system is damaged.
If you hear any of the following, it could be an indication that your exhaust system needs attention.
Hissing - Rattling - Vibrating metal - Roaring
Performing a visual inspection can help you find other signs of a worn exhaust system. Look for:
Holes - Rust or corrosion
If you hear or see any of these signs of damage, it’s time to make an appointment with your service provider. Don’t delay in making an appointment; if your exhaust system is damaged, you’ll need to get it fixed to prevent dangerous gases like carbon monoxide from entering the cabin of your vehicle. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause drowsiness, impairment and even death.
Finally, here’s a winter driving tip related to your exhaust system: if you find yourself stranded in your vehicle during a snowstorm, be sure to keep your tailpipe free of snow and ice before running the vehicle. Doing this prevents the dangerous gases that normally exit through the exhaust system from backing up into your vehicle. To be safe, you can also open your windows periodically to clear the air of any toxic gases.
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.
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