In order to register and legally and safely drive an automobile, it must be able to pass an annual state-mandated emissions test. This helps ensure your vehicle's exhaust system doesn't release fumes into the atmosphere with a higher concentration of waste chemicals than is considered safe. Plus, if your vehicle's emission system isn't functioning properly, its performance will suffer. It may have problems starting, idling or running properly, gas mileage will decrease, you may hear unusual noises, or your tailpipe will emit clouds of white or black foul-smelling smoke. Plus, dangerous, deadly, carbon monoxide may even seep into your vehicle's cabin. UNDERSTANDING THE EXHAUST AND EMISSION SYSTEM Your vehicle's exhaust system consists of several important interconnected parts. All of them most work properly for the automobile to deliver optimal performance and reduce air pollution. Some key components of the emissions and exhaust systems of an automobile are: Exhaust Manifold Catalytic Converter Oxygen Sensor EGR Valve Muffler Flanges · Gaskets Interconnected pipes filter and route emissions away from the engine compartment, through the muffler and out the tailpipe. The catalytic converter filters out around 90% of the unburned fuel, acidic contaminant particles and dangerous gasses from the engine exhaust. The manifold and muffler cool the exhaust, muffle the loud expulsion noises and usher it out the rear of the vehicle. The flanges and gaskets join the exhaust system components together and minimize the leakage of the dangerous gasses released as the internal combustion engine works to power the automobile. SERVICE THE COMPONENTS REGULARLY Don't wait for your check engine light to go on or you are about to do your annual emissions test before having your vehicle's exhaust system serviced. For your automobile to deliver peak performance, it's important to have the exhaust system serviced regularly by properly trained auto repair technicians using the right equipment, tools and methods. They will identify and address minor problems before they become major, complex, expensive, ones. Having your exhaust and emissions system periodically serviced and repaired can help your vehicle be safer, perform better and last longer. THE IMPORTANCE OF PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE The engine of an automobile produces toxic chemical as it works to power the vehicle. Proper exhaust system maintenance helps prevent unsafe amounts of dangerous contaminants from polluting the atmosphere. Plus, it protects the occupants of the vehicle from being overwhelmed by toxic fumes while inside it. Automobile emissions have acidic elements that can corrode and damage muffler pipes and release unfiltered, toxic, fumes into the vehicle and the atmosphere. Preventative maintenance services on the exhaust system can help stop these things from happening. SIGNS OF EXHAUST SYSTEM PROBLEMS Long before your check engine light comes on, your automobile may begin to give you signs that there is a problem with the exhaust and emission systems. One of the first signs is a noticeable decrease in the amount of mileage you get when you fill your tank. This is often combined with the vehicle's operation beginning to get rougher than usual. Unusual noises and thick smoke pouring out of your tailpipe are other signs of exhaust system problems. If you begin to smell exhaust fumes when you are inside your vehicle, it has an exhaust system leak that must be addressed right away or it will be unsafe to drive your vehicle. GET QUALITY AUTO REPAIR Shade tree mechanics can sometimes add chemicals to your vehicle's system and use other tricks to temporarily improve the way your vehicle functions. These tricks mask the real problem and can lead to further damage to your automobile. If you suspect your vehicle has exhaust system problems, you should immediately take it to a good state-licensed, automobile repair shop. They will have the properly trained technicians, most accurate and effective diagnostic technology, the right tools and equipment and high-quality replacement parts. This will enable them to take care of your exhaust system problems efficiently and effectively and have your vehicle running well and able to pass the emissions test. EMISSION CONTROL: A TWO-PART PROCESS. The emission control system in your automobile uses a two-part process to keep toxic fumes out of your vehicle and the atmosphere. The first part of the process is to limit and control how much fuel vapor escapes from the gas tank. The second part of the process is reintroducing some of the fuel vapor into the intake path so it can be burned again in another combustion sequence. This capturing and reusing of fuel vapor improves gas mileage and keeps the emissions released into the atmosphere cleaner. Regular servicing by well-trained, experienced, technicians helps enhance the process. ALL PARTS MUST FUNCTION PROPERLY When gasoline is pumped into a fuel tank, lots of air goes in as well. If all the components of the emission control system are not functioning properly, large amounts of fuel vapors escape into the atmosphere, become some of the greenhouse gasses that destroys the ozone layer and leads to environmental problems. Your vehicle's Evaporative Emission Control System takes the fumes that escape from the gas tank and reintroduce them into the fuel mixture through the purge solenoid to be burnt, absorb some into a charcoal filled evaporation canister, or vents some of it through the evaporation vent valve into the air. For this complex system to function properly, all its parts must be in good working order. THREE COMMON EMISSION SYSTEM PROBLEMS There are a number of problems that can develop in the emission system that can impact your vehicle's function and cause the check-engine light to come on. Three of the most common ones are: 1. A Faulty Purge Solenoid (Vent Valve) This valve can become stuck open or closed because of too much or too little flow or a leak in the system. 2. EGR Valve Issues The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system reduces the amount of 'bad' air that passes through the catalytic converter. The EGR valve controls the amount of spent gas that flows back through the intake system. The EGR valve can sometimes get stuck in the open or closed position and lead to stalling or rough idling of the vehicle. 3. Excessive Carbon Buildup Excessive amounts of carbon can build up in the passages from the exhaust manifold through which the exhaust gasses pass. Those passages must be thoroughly cleaned periodically to keep the system functioning properly. EMISSION SYSTEM REPAIRS Like any other type of auto repair, effective emission system repairs requires the services of a well-trained, experienced, mechanic and a shop with the right tools and equipment. A good mechanic can quickly and accurately evaluate and repair your vehicle's exhaust system problems. This can prevent a minor leak or other small problem from causing a critical major component failure that will be expensive to repair, make your vehicle spray harmful contaminants into the atmosphere, cause your vehicle to fail its emissions test and prevent you from being able to renew your vehicle registration. THE RIGHT MECHANIC The right mechanics can repair the exhaust system or handle any other type of automotive repair your vehicle needs. The key is to have your vehicle regularly serviced, maintained and repaired by specially trained technicians at an automotive repair shop you trust that has all the appropriate diagnostic technology, tools and equipment necessary to perform the high-quality emission system repairs your vehicle needs. Doing so will help it to not only pass the emissions test but deliver optimal performance for years to come.