Exhaust Leak Issues: Don’t Ignore These Signs and Symptoms

exhaust leak symptoms

The exhaust system carries the harmful gases from the combustion chamber away from the car. However, when the exhaust system malfunctions or leaks, it can release these toxic gases inside the vehicle chamber. That said, it may release fumes from the exhaust pipe, leading to environmental damage. Not only that, it deteriorates the car’s performance.

From unusual noises to inefficient engine performance, many exhaust leak symptoms can cause unimaginable damage to the engine. Let’s learn the signs of exhaust leaks in cars and their possible fixes, but before that, here are its causes.

What Are the Causes Behind an Exhaust Leak?

exhaust leak may be due to rusty or worn-out gaskets or exhaust manifold
Exhaust system components may be rusty or worn out leading to an exhaust leak

The car exhaust system may leak due to several reasons. These reasons will cause a noisy engine and damaged car parts. The following are the causes of exhaust leaks:

  • Rusted components in the exhaust system, such as a malfunctioning exhaust manifold, can cause leaks.
  • Driving conditions can deteriorate exhaust system components. For instance, various trails can damage the car exhaust system if you are off-roading.
  • Worn-out gaskets can allow the exhaust gases to leak. These gaskets seal joints between different components and may wear out with time.

These reasons can be the reason behind several exhaust leak symptoms. For instance, low fuel economy and black or white smoke from the exhaust can be due to a failing car exhaust system.


Different road and weather conditions may damage vehicle components. Therefore, their maintenance becomes essential. Car exhaust may also undergo wear and tear. That said, it results in unwanted noises or car performance drops.

If your car exhaust leaks, the following signs will help identify the problem quickly. Let’s go through them.

Loud Exhaust Noise

When you accelerate the car, you may hear a car engine revving sound. However, when you hear unusually loud noises when accelerating, it may indicate an exhaust leak. Moreover, you can find one or two mufflers in a car to reduce noise. However, the failing muffler may be a cause of loud exhaust noises.

A ticking or clicking sound indicates a malfunctioning exhaust manifold or gasket damage. That said, when you determine any of these exhaust leak symptoms, visit a professional mechanic to get your car diagnosed.

Smoke From the Exhaust

white or black smoke from exhaust due to leakage
Among the crucial signs of an exhaust leak, you may see white or black smoke from the pipe due to incomplete processing of the gases

Many countries have authorities, such as the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) Dubai have emission tests to register vehicles to avoid carbon footprint. If your car has an exhaust leak, you may witness black or white smoke from the tailpipe. That said, it will lead to emission failure when registering your car. 

Moreover, another car exhaust leak symptom is rising fumes from the engine hood since the exhaust has failed and can not contain the gases. That said, the vehicle will fail emission tests if there is an exhaust leak.

Burning Smell Inside the Car

Another clear symptom of an exhaust leak is unusual odours. Keep in mind that the engine releases carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. One of the exhaust manifold leak symptoms is that it will release these harmful gases. Moreover, longer exposure to carbon monoxide gas is extremely injurious to human health.

If you sense any burning smell from the car, you must immediately visit the auto repair shop and try to get it repaired sooner.

Weak Acceleration And Pedal Vibration

A leak in the exhaust system can interfere with the oxygen or MAF sensor readings. That said, it may cause weak acceleration. It causes rough idle and power loss during acceleration. Moreover, the car will use more fuel since the oxygen sensor readings will corrupt due to a failing exhaust.

When you press the accelerator pedal, it will vibrate if there is an exhaust leak. The pedal vibration will increase when you accelerate more. Additionally, the whole cabin may vibrate as a result of an exhaust leak.

Check Engine Light 

The check engine warning light on the dashboard may come up due to the exhaust leak. This exhaust leak symptom is a result of gases interfering with the readings of various sensors.

Is It Safe to Drive With Car Exhaust Leak?

car performance may degrade due to exhaust leak
It isn’t safe to drive a car with an exhaust leak because it can add to the causes of engine failure and performance degradation

No, it isn’t safe to drive with an exhaust leak. Recognising the symptoms of an exhaust leak is vital for maintaining your vehicle’s performance, fuel efficiency and overall safety. 

You can identify a potential exhaust leak early on by paying attention to any changes in engine noise, unusual sounds, strong exhaust smokes, decreased fuel efficiency, vibrations or loss of power, 

Remember, an untreated exhaust leak can affect your vehicle’s engine and emission systems while exposing you and your passengers to harmful gases. 

That concludes the signs of an exhaust leak. That said, when you buy a used car in the UAE, ensure checking all the technical components. Set a car maintenance checklist to avoid significant issues due to component failure.

Keep reading the dubizzle autos blog to learn about car issues, their causes and signs to identify the problem.