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Many Spokane car owners don’t realize that there is more to exhaust system maintanance than just tailpipes and mufflers. And if you can see smoke, or if it’s too loud. Exhaust service at a full-service automotive center like C&H Foreign Auto Repair is really a lot more comprehensive these days.

For example, in the U.S., the federal government required catalytic converters for all cars in Spokane in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. Washington and federal emissions requirements have forced auto manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental laws. This also goes for cars sold in Canada.

So, exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer-controlled emissions devices are now necessary. And because it’s so sophisticated, car makers recommend having your emission system checked out by a qualified technician, like the ones we have at C&H Foreign Auto Repair, regularly to make sure everything’s working right – which is usually every six months or 6,000 miles.

If your ‘check engine light’ comes on while you are driving around the Spokane area, especially if it’s flashing, then you need to bring your car into C&H Foreign Auto Repair ASAP. Chances are it’s an emission related problem. Signs of exhaust or emissions trouble include difficulty starting, engine noise or smoke.

So let’s do a quick rundown of the exhaust system for Spokane motorists. First up, the exhaust manifold. That’s the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe.

The exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and other joints along the way. Now, if the manifold is cracked or loose, or a gasket is leaking, then dangerous gases could escape into the cabin, where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it’s important that your exhaust system doesn’t leak.

The exhaust pipes connect the various critical components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.

Next comes the catalytic converter. This part actually looks like a muffler. It changes toxic chemicals into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any maintenance itself for Spokane motorists, but eventually it wears out. If yours has stopped working, you probably won’t discover it until your car fails its Washington emissions inspection.

Next, the muffler. The vital job of this aptly-named part is to muffle engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound. Many Spokane drivers don’t know that you can actually customize your car’s sound with different mufflers – which is pretty cool because in addition to changing the look of your ride, you can also customize its sound!

Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can actually leak and they need to be replaced right away. The exhaust system is attached to the car by a series of hangers and clamps that hold the system in place. And when these hangers come loose or break then hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines. Just think of how detrimental a hot curling iron can be – but worse. It’s not good to have that waving around. Talk to your friendly C&H Foreign Auto Repair tech.

And finally, we end at the tailpipe. Appropriate name. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. And one other component is the oxygen sensor. It monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine-control computer can adjust the key fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.

We hope this hasn’t been too ‘exhausting’ of a discussion. Remember that a properly functioning exhaust system is vital for Spokane motorists’ health and safety. Talk with your friendly service advisor at C&H Foreign Auto Repair in Spokane if you think you might need an automotive analysis of your exhaust system. A quick look can sure save a lot of pain down the road.

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