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How Hot Can Car Exhausts Get?

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The exhaust system takes gases from the engine’s combustion chamber, filters them, and releases them. Here is a slightly exhaustive guide on how hot car exhausts get, the possible reasons for the spike in temperature, and how to maintain the health of your car’s exhaust. 

How hot do car exhausts get? 

A toasty car exhaust is quite common. But how hot do car exhausts get? Knowing the different parts of a car exhaust system can give a better understanding of its functioning. The different parts of an exhaust system include the exhaust manifold, flange gasket, catalytic convertor, pre-muffler, and muffler. In other words, the harmful fumes are removed, emissions and sounds are controlled, and the right pressure is maintained. These work together in harmony to maximize the efficiency of the exhaust system.  

Temperatures in a normal car exhaust pipe range from 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, several high-performance exhaust pipes can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or more. The gases are at their hottest point while exiting the engine and entering the exhaust system. The temperatures of the gases can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit at the exhaust manifold.

Meanwhile, the temperature of the mufflers can be between 300- and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the highest temperature is usually recorded in the catalytic converter, which can range between 1000- and 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.

catalytic converter replacement
Catalytic Converter

Why do car exhausts get hot? 

As mentioned, the major function of the car exhaust system is to remove heat and poisonous gas from your engine. While exhausts getting hot is very much a part of the system’s functioning, you will always have to look for signs that suggest the failure in the exhaust system’s health.  

  • A switched-on check engine light. 
  • Car shakes while driving 
  • Loss of power while driving 
  • Increased fuel consumption 
  • Rust in the system 
  • Smell of exhaust 

Factors that affect the car exhaust system temperature 

Condition of the engine and the exhaust system 

Any restriction in the functioning of the exhaust will tamper with the flow of air. Therefore, the temperature tends to increase. In addition, the gases can get hotter if the engine finds it difficult to produce power. Therefore, an overheated engine can result in a hot exhaust. 

Speed of the engine 

The engine burns the fuel to produce gases. As a result, the car’s high speed can make the engines work faster, producing more gas. In other words, this will make the system run hot.  

Design and length of the pipe 

Heat loss increases with the distance the exhaust gas has to travel. Gases that don’t travel far will come out hotter, raising pipe temperatures. Therefore, how hot exhausts can get is dependent on the length and diameter of the pipe.  

What happens if the exhaust system fails? 

A hissing sound is common when the exhaust or the manifold gasket is at fault. As a result, there occurs leakage in the gas. Issues with the catalytic converter also lead to vibrations and rattling noises. Therefore, when the car loses power or shows a decreased fuel efficiency, a faulty exhaust system or its parts are possible suspects.

Similarly, damaged mufflers create noise, at high speeds.  Exhaust fumes which still contain carbon monoxide at this time is dangerous to your health.

White smoke from exhaust? Here’s what you should do!

How do I prevent exhaust pipe damage? 

Corrosion is a common issue that causes trouble to the exhaust system. The rust that develops fast can cause permanent damage to the exhaust system. Here are a few steps you can follow to prevent exhaust pipe damage.  

Spray off the bottom of the car 

Rinsing regularly eliminates dust, dirt, and other material that cause oxidation, preventing exhaust system rust. If these substances remain in the exhaust, they can trap moisture and aid in corrosion. 

Use an exhaust system with a good review 

Do your research and ask for the best quality exhausts if replacing the old one.  

What is the cost of an exhaust system replacement?

 Add an undercoat 

This will act as an extra layer preventing chances of rust formation. However, another method that substitutes for an undercoat is painting the exhaust. 

Regular waxing 

This can also repel moisture and other particles sticking to the system. However, wax is easily worn out. Therefore, if done, it must be done regularly.

Avoid driving for a short distance 

Frequent short-distance driving doesn’t give the window for the moisture inside the muffler to evaporate, accelerating the chances of rusting.

Conduct regular emissions test  

An emissions test is a mandatory health checkup that should be conducted on your exhaust system. In addition to giving an idea about its overall condition, it will also ensure that the car maintains its fuel efficiency.   


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