The Basics of Exhaust Replacement

What You'll Need
Jack or Hydraulic Lift
Soldering Iron and Solder
Welding Torch
Socket Wrench Set
Bolt Cutters
Replacement Exhaust Parts

Being able to perform your own exhaust replacement will go a long way towards ensuring the extended life and safety of your personal vehicle. Your exhaust system exists in order to expel dangerous gases and carcinogens from your vehicle, and to clean dangerous gases so that they are not as hazardous for you or the environment. In addition to personal safety concerns accompanying a broken exhaust system, your car will run significantly less efficiently without a fully functional exhaust system. If you are up for the challenge, then replacing your car's broken exhaust system can be a money-saving and rewarding experience.

Step 1: Lift Your Vehicle

In order to be able to view and perform maintenance on your car's exhaust system, you will need to lift the car up with either a manual car jack or a hydraulic lift, if you have one. 

Step 2: Diagnose the Source of the Problem

Search under your car along the exhaust system for any signs of excessive rusting or perforations that may be causing dangerous fumes to be emitted. There are many parts of the exhaust system to be aware of, and you will want to carefully check all of them to make sure that you have identified all potential problems before proceeding.

Step 3: Solder For Small Holes

In the event that you identify the problem in your exhaust system to be a small hole or perforation, you can use a soldering iron and solder to close up the hole. If the hole is slightly bigger, you can use a metal patch to close the opening, then soldering that patch to the exhaust system. If there are several holes along the same part, however, the entire section of your exhaust system will need to be replaced.

Step 4: Disassemble for Large Holes

In the event that a large portion of your exhaust system is damaged or rusted out, you may need to replace an entire section of the exhaust system. To do this, begin disassembling the exhaust system, starting with the back of the vehicle (the tailpipe). Continue disassembling parts until you have reached the piece that is broken. With any luck, you will be able to disassemble your exhaust system using your socket wrench set and/or bolt cutters. For particularly stubborn bolts, however, you may need to use a welding torch for removal. If this is the case, be sure to be very careful, and avoid damaging nearby components with your torch.

Step 5: Attach Replacement Part

After purchasing a replacement exhaust part from your local automotive store, attach the piece to your exhaust system in the same way that the damaged part was attached prior to dissembling. After doing this, reassemble the rest of the exhaust components in the order that you took them off of your vehicle.

Step 6: Test System

After you have reassembled your exhaust system with the new component in place, double check to make sure that all of your bolts, connectors and welds are firmly solidified. Then, turn on the vehicle and look for any leaks that you may have missed. If everything looks good, reattach the support hangers and you are all done.