Should you drive a car if your exhaust pipe is broken?

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Why You Shouldn’t Drive With a Broken Exhaust Pipe?

These are the factors that stand against driving w

These are the factors that stand against driving with a bad or broken exhaust pipe, regardless of your state, city, or region.

1. Your Engine Will Be Affected

If you got a bad exhaust and you keep driving with it, over time, your engine would be affected – the performance would drop, and it may start overheating. This is how a bad exhaust system can contribute to engine failure or damage.

The exhaust pipe is meant to remove bad/harmful emissions from the engine. These emissions comprise harmful carbon deposits, which, normally, should be treated in the catalytic converter, before being released into the air as steamy fumes/gases.

But, when the exhaust pipe is broken, the cat converter and muffler may fall out of place. This will affect how the harmful emissions are removed; the carbon gases may get back into the engine and start forming buildups that affect your engine’s performance.

Related Post: Do I Need A Resonator On My Exhaust? (YES! Here’s Why)

2. Air Pollution

The thick, dirty carbon monoxide emissions released through a broken exhaust pipe pose a serious health hazard.

It is the work of the catalytic converter to reduce the harmfulness of the carbon gases from your engine, but when the exhaust pipe is faulty, the cat converter won’t function as supposed.

3. You’d Attract a Heavy Fine

One of the disadvantages of driving with a faulty exhaust pipe is that you would get fined if caught up by the cops. Depending on the location you are driving, the fine could be a heavy one, which would burn a hole in your pocket.

Can I drive my car with a broken exhaust pipe?

If you find that you have a broken exhaust pipe, it is too dangerous to continue driving on the road. Since a broken exhaust pipe can lead to your engine’s performance benefits, you will suffer from reduced acceleration, low horsepower, and a reduction in fuel economy. In addition, a broken exhaust pipe can cause harmful gases to leave your vehicle, hurting other people and the air quality. 

Step 1: Materials and Tools

This is a fairly simple job (it only took me half an hour), but you do need some specialist materials:

  • Wheel ramps or axle stands. Do NOT attempt any jobs underneath a car supported just by a jack. People die like that.
  • Eye protection (unless you enjoy rust, dirt and toxic chemicals being dropped in your eyes…?)
  • Metal snips.
  • Jubilee clips.
  • Screwdriver (flat-head, to match the jubilee clips).
  • Assorted pliers, spanners and thumpy things.
  • Exhaust repair paste (available from any car spares store).
  • An empty tin can.

You should also wear appropriate clothing – spare a thought for whoever does the laundry in your home, and be aware that you could quite easily get un-removable gloop on your clothes. An old hat might help as well.

Step 4: Fixing

Although the rolled can completed the exhaust, and took the weight of the looser section, it was not secure enough to move the car, nor was it fume-tight. I needed to pull the loose section up tight against the fixed section. I put one jubilee clip around the loose section of exhaust, and threaded the second clip through the first, then around the protruding part of the fixed section. Tightening the first clip provided a firm anchor point, then tightening the second clip pulled the broken ends tight together. I then smeared the joint in copious quantities of exhaust fixing paste and left it to set. Unfortunately, I have not found any tool more effective for getting the paste in the right place than the human finger. If you have sensitive or broken skin, you can either use a small spatula or stick, or wear gloves. Once I was happy the whole thing was fixed, I snipped off the loose ends of the jubilee clips, to try and stop loose stuff getting caught under the car in future.

Broken Exhaust Repair Steps 

When figuring out the broken exhaust pipe repair steps, you can use three different methods to fix the broken exhaust pipe and prevent any future issues!

Method #1 Locate the Source of the Exhaust Leak

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface – to repair a broken exhaust pipe, you need to jack the vehicle up so you can access the under area and find the source of the leak. Jack vehicles onto a flat and level surface to ensure the jack doesn’t topple over and hurt the worker. 
  2. Wait for your exhaust to cool off – You can’t work on an exhaust that is still hot or still running. The exhaust gas that travels through the pipe is very hot and can cause damage to you or an auto body worker if you try to find the broken exhaust pipe while the metal is still hot to the touch. 
  3. Once the exhaust has cooled down to work on, Jack the vehicle up, slide a trolley jack under the vehicle’s rear. Once in place, lift and lower the handle to jack the car up and find the broken exhaust pipe. 
  4. Inspect the exhaust piping – the next step in the broken exhaust pipe repair is to use the vantage point from jacking the car up to inspect the piping and muffler under the car. Locate the signs of damage by analyzing the piping for rust, corrosion, cracks, or holes. 
  5. Start the engine – the next step in the broken exhaust pipe repair is to find the source of the leak with the engine running. 
  6. Repair the damage – find the best way to repair the broken exhaust pipe by identifying the severity of the damage. If the exhaust pipe is severely rusted, it may be too hard to perform a broken exhaust pipe repair. In this case, you may need to replace the entire part. However, if the damage is a small leak or a broken muffler, you can patch the leak to complete the broken exhaust pipe repair. 

Method #2: Patching a Broken Exhaust Pipe

  1. Scrub around the hole – the first step in the broken exhaust pipe repair for a small leak is to remove all of the dirt, grime, and rust forming around the leaking hole. 
  2. Prepare the surface with sandpaper – Use sandpaper to remove any last bits of dirt and grime stuck to the pipe.
  3. Wipe acetone around the hole – Acetone ensures the metal surface is clean of anything that could interfere with the new seal around the broken exhaust pipe. 
  4. Wrap exhaust tape around the pipe – If you are using exhaust pipe repair tape, wrap it around the leaking part to help with the broken exhaust pipe repair.
  5. Apply epoxy -Dab epoxy onto the leak and spread around the area to create a thick film on the leaking portion of the broken exhaust pipe. 

Method #3: Replacing Your Muffler

  1. Spray rust penetrator on exhaust clamps – If you find the broken exhaust repair is more serious than a small leak, you may have to replace the entire muffler. In this case, the first step is to spray a rust penetrator like WD-40 on the fastening hardware to get rid of grime prevention and a tight seal.
  2. Loosen the Exhaust Clamps – Once the fasteners have been sprayed, use a wrench to remove the nuts holding the exhaust clamp using a socket or wrench. 
  3. Slide the exhaust and muffler apart – Since the muffler and piping are held together with an exhaust clamp, it may take some wiggling to remove the two parts. 
  4. Hang the new muffler – Push the new muffler on the prongs through the rubber with a bit of force to get past the mounts of the broken exhaust pipe. 
  5. Spray exhaust sealant on the pipes – Spraying exhaust sealant helps connect the pipe on top of the muffler to establish a seal between the pies and prevent any exhaust leaks.
  6. Slide the exhaust pipes together – Slide the pipe from the muffler over the exhaust pipe to help seal any leaks on the broken exhaust pipe
  7. Secure the muffler clamp in place – the final step in the broken exhaust pipe repair is to slide the muffler clamp over the area where the muffler pipes overlap. 

What More?

Summarily, while you can drive with a broken exhaust pipe, it is not advisable that you do so. If the exhaust is not badly affected, it’d cost you less to get it fixed, but if you ignore and keep driving with the broken exhaust, you may end up paying costlier fines.

Read Also: Symptoms of a Bad Catalytic Converter