How Often Should You Get Your Exhaust Serviced? A Comprehensive Guide


Getting your car’s exhaust system serviced regularly is essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely. But how often exactly should you get this important maintenance done? Here is a comprehensive guide on exhaust system servicing intervals and what to expect during an exhaust service.

What is the Exhaust System and Why is Servicing It Important?

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The exhaust system is made up of the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, muffler and exhaust pipes. It serves to guide exhaust gases out of the engine and reduce noise. A well-functioning exhaust helps optimise engine performance and fuel economy. It also reduces harmful emissions and prevents dangerous fumes from entering the cabin.

Ignoring exhaust issues can lead to more serious problems down the line. A damaged exhaust can allow carbon monoxide to leak into the car. Breathing in these toxic fumes can cause dizziness, nausea and even death in enclosed spaces. An extremely corroded exhaust can also increase the risk of fires.

Getting your exhaust inspected and serviced regularly prevents these dangers. It also avoids unnecessary engine wear, keeps fuel consumption low and ensures you remain compliant with emissions regulations.

How Often Should You Service the Exhaust?

Most automakers recommend having the entire exhaust system inspected every 20,000 miles or 2 years. This timescale can vary though depending on your driving habits and local conditions. Here are some general guidelines on exhaust service intervals:

  • For everyday drivers: Inspect exhaust pipes, mufflers, clamps etc. whenever you change the oil, so around every 5,000 – 7,500 miles. More comprehensive exhaust system service at 20,000 mile intervals.
  • For vehicles in high-mileage fleets: Check exhaust components more frequently, such as at every oil change or 10,000 miles. Complete exhaust overhaul at 40,000 – 50,000 miles.
  • For cars driven in stop-start traffic regularly: Exhaust systems see more wear and tear in these conditions. Inspect every 10,000 miles and service every 30,000 miles.
  • For vehicles used off-road: The jolts and scrapes can damage the exhaust prematurely. Inspect after every off-road trip and service every 15,000 – 20,000 miles.
  • For cars parked or driven on gravel/salted roads: Corrosion occurs faster, so service exhausts more frequently.
  • For modified exhausts: Aftermarket exhausts require more vigilant maintenance. Stick to shorter 5,000 – 10,000 mile service intervals.

Any time you notice louder noises, smells, smoke or performance issues from the exhaust, get it checked out immediately regardless of mileage. Catching problems early prevents further damage.

What Does an Exhaust Service Include?


A comprehensive exhaust service involves thoroughly inspecting the entire system from engine to tailpipe, checking for leaks, blockages, damage and corrosion. Here are some key aspects:

  • Visual inspection of all exhaust components – pipes, catalytic converter, resonator, muffler, clamps, hangers etc. Technicians check for cracks, dents, rust and other issues.
  • Cleaning of the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter and muffler internals to remove accumulated carbon deposits. This helps optimise airflow and engine efficiency.
  • Checking exhaust gases at the tailpipe to ensure emissions fall within acceptable range and there are no hazardous leaks entering the cabin.
  • Tightening loose clamps and hangers and realigning any components that are sagging or misaligned.
  • Sealing any small leaks along the exhaust using high temperature epoxy.
  • Replacing any damaged, severely corroded or blocked parts of the exhaust system. This may include pipes, gaskets, catalytic converters, mufflers etc. Only the affected components need replacement, not necessarily the entire system.
  • Road testing the vehicle to check exhaust sound and performance after service.

Regular exhaust servicing improves safety, prevents bigger repair bills in the future and helps your car stay on the road longer. Consult your owner’s manual and mechanic on the ideal intervals for your vehicle based on usage. Learn all about effective car dent removal and repair procedures in our comprehensive guide.
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FAQs on Exhaust System Maintenance

Can I service just part of the exhaust system?

Yes, only the affected components need replacement when damage is spotted during inspection. You don’t necessarily need to overhaul the entire exhaust system if the issue is isolated. Focus on the problem areas first.

My car’s exhaust sounds louder lately. Is something wrong?

Increased exhaust noise is usually caused by a leak somewhere in the system. This allows gases to escape before being muted by the muffler. Get your exhaust thoroughly checked and any breaches sealed to restore quiet operation and prevent dangerous fumes entering the cabin.

Should I repair or just replace my corroded exhaust system?

If corrosion is extensive, replacing the whole exhaust may be safer and more cost-effective than trying to patch up holes. But for minor surface rust, repairs are fine. Your mechanic can advise if replacement is preferable to exhaust repairs in your car’s condition.

Can I avoid expensive exhaust repairs by regularly servicing it?

Yes, exhaust servicing every 20,000 – 30,000 miles can prevent most major issues through early detection. It’s much cheaper to seal a small leak or replace a single rusted component than wait for entire system failure requiring full exhaust replacement. Stay proactive with maintenance.

Don’t neglect that exhaust service when your mechanic advises it’s due. Keeping your car’s exhaust system properly maintained improves safety, fuel economy and the driving experience. Consult Brendale Mechanic to determine the right exhaust service schedule for your vehicle and catch any brewing problems early. With over 20 years of experience and a reputation for friendly, quality service, you can trust their certified mechanics to inspect and care for your car’s exhaust.

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