How Long Should An Exhaust Pipe Last?

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Would you like to know how long an exhaust pipe should last? Do you also want to know when you should replace one? Well, we have researched this topic and have answers for you.

An exhaust pipe should last between 10-15 years. If it is a cheap, aftermarket exhaust pipe, it will last between 2-5 years.

This article will discuss how long an exhaust pipe should last, how to tell if your exhaust pipe is bad, and when to replace it. We will then cover if you can drive with exhaust problems and if you can drive without an exhaust pipe. Finally, we will discuss how much a whole new exhaust system is and if a new exhaust system is worth it. Keep reading to learn more.

View under the car. How Long Should An Exhaust Pipe Last

How Long Should An Exhaust Pipe Last?

Whether it is the original exhaust pipe will be a factor when it comes to how long an exhaust pipe should last. The exhaust pipes that come with vehicles are made from thick steel, designed to last from 10-15 years.

There are, however, lots of different aftermarket exhaust pipes that have a wide variety of quality. If you buy a cheaper aftermarket exhaust pipe, you can expect it to only last 2-5 years. On the other hand, some aftermarket exhaust pipes can last 15 or more years. They will, however, be more expensive.

When Should You Replace Your Exhaust Pipe?

You should replace your exhaust pipe anytime it fails to move exhaust from underneath your vehicle to behind it. It can also be a good idea to replace your exhaust pipe if it is already getting old.

For a stock exhaust pipe, this can be after about 10 years. If it is a cheap aftermarket exhaust pipe, you should be prepared to buy a new one every few years.

How Do You Know If Your Exhaust Pipe Is Bad?

Rusted tailpipe in bed of junkyard wreck. How Long Should An Exhaust Pipe Last

There are several warning signs to look out for that let you know you may be having a problem with your exhaust pipe. Advanced Automotive highlights five key things to look for: 

Noises While Accelerating

When you accelerate, your vehicle will make revving noises but, it shouldn’t make other loud noises or rattling sounds. If it does, it likely means there is a leak in your muffler or exhaust pipe.

If it is your muffler, your vehicle will sound much louder and make popping noises. This would mean you need to replace damaged parts or all of your exhaust system.

Power Loss Or Strange Vibrations

If you are driving and your vehicle suddenly loses power, or while driving your car vibrates, it could be a sign that you have an exhaust leak. Your exhaust system is how your car breathes and if it’s leaking and can’t hold a vacuum, your car may lose power. A small leak may be what causes vibrations. This will require repair or replacing of the exhaust system.

Smelling Exhaust In Vehicle

If you smell exhaust in your vehicle, then it means you have a leak in your exhaust system. This can be dangerous since unfiltered exhaust has carbon monoxide, which can kill you if exposed for too long. It is critical if you smell exhaust in your vehicle to get your exhaust system fixed or replaced as soon as possible.

Check Engine Light On

While the check engine light can come on for many reasons, it is important not to just ignore it. The check engine light will come on if the catalytic converter, mass airflow sensor, or oxygen sensor is failing. Also, if the air-fuel mixture in the engine and exhaust aren’t right, these can all be signs that your exhaust system is going bad and needs to be replaced.

A Decrease in Fuel Efficiency

If your fuel efficiency starts to dip, it can be several things but, one of them is a problem with your exhaust system. Since your exhaust system is how your engine breathes, your engine will have to work harder to function properly if it is partially blocked or has a leak.

This will decrease your fuel efficiency. Pay attention to your fuel efficiency as it can be an early warning sign of a bigger problem.

Can You Drive With Exhaust Problems?

While your car can physically drive with exhaust problems, there are several reasons you shouldn’t drive.

First, it’s unsafe. Driving with an exhaust leak can cause you to breathe toxic fumes, which can be hazardous to your health. If you smell vehicle exhaust, get it checked as soon as possible.

Second, It can decrease your fuel efficiency. If you are driving with an exhaust leak, then your engine is working harder than it needs to. This can make refueling more expensive. It can be cheaper, in the long run, to just get the exhaust system replaced or repaired.

Third, it can be unreliable. If you are driving with exhaust problems and your exhaust pipe gets clogged, your car may lose power. You won’t be able to drive until after you unclog the pipe. To prevent this from happening, be sure to replace your exhaust system as soon as it starts to show warning signs of failing.

These are the main reasons why you shouldn’t drive a car with exhaust problems until after you fix them. Be sure to have your car looked at if it is showing any signs that your exhaust system is about to fail.

Can You Drive Without An Exhaust Pipe?

Old rusted muffler laying in the center of the road

You should not drive without an exhaust pipe. One of the main purposes of an exhaust pipe is to vent toxic exhaust from under your vehicle to behind it. Just like driving with a leaking exhaust pipe, driving without an exhaust pipe can lead to toxic gasses leaking into your vehicle. So it can be unsafe to drive without an exhaust pipe.

Also, on a lesser note, it will be loud. The sound of a car with no muffler or exhaust pipe is louder and may annoy your neighbors and fellow drivers. It is best not to drive without an exhaust pipe.

How Much Is A Whole New Exhaust System?

The price of a whole new exhaust system varies depending on the model and quality of parts. A high-quality stainless steel exhaust system can cost as much as $1,500, whereas a cheaper exhaust system can cost as little as $200.

MagnaFlow Exhaust System Sport Series

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Here is an example of a higher-quality stainless steel exhaust system. This exhaust system was built to improve performance and add a more aggressive sounding exhaust.

On top of that, because it is made from stainless steel, which is corrosive resistant. This will help to prevent rust and greatly extend the life of the exhaust system.

Exhaust System Replacement For A 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

This is an example of a cheaper exhaust system. This exhaust system was designed to replace the exhaust system on a 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey. While it will get the job done, because it is made from cheaper metals it will likely only last a few years before replacement.

It isn’t too expensive, though, so if you need an exhaust system and are short on money, it can be worth temporarily replacing your exhaust to make your vehicle safe to drive. You can then save money for a few years to buy a higher-quality exhaust system.

Is A New Exhaust System Worth It?

There are several key reasons why a new exhaust system is worth it. It can be broken down into three key reasons:

Improve Your Engine’s Function

Your car’s exhaust system is how your engine breaths. When it is not functioning properly, your car can have a decrease in its torque and horsepower. A new exhaust system can improve your vehicle’s torque, horsepower, and even the noise your car makes.

Improve Your Car’s Image and Value

A new exhaust system will improve not only the performance of your vehicle but also its image and value. A powerful sounding exhaust lets people know a car is well maintained and can improve its value to others who may be looking to purchase it.

Also, with some of the after-market options like chrome tailpipes or duel exhaust pipes, you can make a statement that your vehicle is a cut above the rest, further improving image and value.

Improve Your Carbon Footprint

On top of all of that, a new exhaust system can make your vehicle release less toxic fumes, making it cleaner for the earth. If you care about the planet and drive a car with an old inefficient exhaust pipe, it may be worth upgrading to a new exhaust system.

For these three key reasons, a new exhaust system is worth it.

New exhaust system with catalytic converter. How Long Should An Exhaust Pipe Last

Final Thoughts

In the article we learned a high-quality exhaust pipe should last between 10-15 years and a cheap aftermarket exhaust pipe may only last 2-5 years. We learned when to replace an exhaust pipe and what the signs are that you may need to.

Then we covered that you shouldn’t drive if your vehicle has exhaust pipe problems or is missing an exhaust pipe because of the toxic fumes it can expose you to.

From there we talked about the price of a new exhaust system. We learned it can be as high as $1,500 for a high-quality system and as low as $200 for a cheaper system.

Finally, we learned that a new exhaust system is worth it because of its improvements to your vehicle’s performance, value, and environmental impact.

We hope you enjoyed this article. Check out these other posts if you would like to learn more:

How Big Is A Catalytic Converter?

How Long Does A Catalytic Converter Last?

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