If you hear an exhaust leak sound like the one in the video below, find out how to diagnose and fix it with these tips from our expert mechanic Sue. You’ll be able to diagnose this issue with a few household items.
Video: Car or Truck Louder than Usual? How to Quickly Detect an Exhaust Leak with Common Household Items
How to Find and Fix an Exhaust Leak Sound
Household Items Needed
- Dish soap
- Empty and clean spray bottle
- Shop vacuum
How to Find an Exhaust Leak
Steps to find an exhaust leak
- Wait for the Exhaust Pipe to Cool Down
Before using this method to check for an exhaust leak, wait for the exhaust pipe to be at a cool temperature. You don’t want to do this diagnosis while the pipe is hot.
- Make a Spray Mix of Soapy Water
Open the spray bottle. Add and mix tepid water and dish soap.
- Turn the Shop Vacuum on in Reverse
Set the shop vac to blow air out of its tube so you can send air into the exhaust pipe to test for a leak.
- Tape the Vacuum Hose to the Muffler
Connect the vacuum hose to the muffler, which is the part that protrudes from the end of the exhaust pipe. Tape the hose to the muffler to secure it.
- Turn the Vacuum on Spray the Seams and with Soapy Water
With the vacuum connected, turn it on and let air blow into the exhaust. Take the spray bottle filled with soapy water and spray the seams, welds, and gaskets along the exhaust.
- Check the Exhaust for a Formation of Soapy Bubbles
Check the seals, welds, and gaskets for bubbles of soapy water. This will indicate air is escaping and show you where the leak is.
While not all cars have a flex pipe, which is a hose that can flex with the engine as it moves as opposed to a hard pipe that can loosen the gaskets, this example shows a flex hose with an exhaust leak.
How to Fix an Exhaust Leak Sound
Once you’ve found the exhaust leak, you might be able to fix it yourself. The flex hose in our example could be done at home. Here are the typical steps that can take around an hour for a novice DIYer.
- Remove the nuts from the flex pipe
- Remove the flex pipe from the rubber hanger
- Remove the flex pipe
- Clean the mating surfaces and replace the gasket
- Insert the flex pipe into place
- Tighten the bolts to manufacturer specifications
- Connect the flex pipe to the rubber hanger