Many people tend to disregard the exhaust system of an automobile. They may think that the exhaust system does nothing more than discharge the waste products of the combustion process.
Although this is exactly what the car exhaust system does, the way this waste product is discharged out of the engine is essential to the performance of the engine.
A gasoline engine involves three processes: combustion, mechanical drive, and exhaust. If one of these processes is impeded, the condition of the engine will depreciate.
The exhaust system has three major functions, the first of which is to channel the waste products of combustion out of the engine to allow it to continue to burn fuel unhindered thereby ensuring that the engine runs smoothly.
An efficient exhaust system allows the waste gas and compound to escape quickly out of the system. If these waste products do not escape from the engine immediately, they may choke up the engine thus causing it to break down.
Another function of the exhaust system is to reduce the noise generated by the engine. Noise is one of the "wastes" produced by the engine. The exhaust gases leave the engine at extremely high pressure. If these gases escaped directly out of the engine, the noise generated would be tremendous.
Thus, to minimize this noise, the exhaust system lets the exhaust gases pass through metal plates and tubes called the muffler. As the gas passes through the muffler, the noise is reduced.
The third function of the exhaust system is to clean up the emissions that are harmful to the environment. When the engine burns fuel, it produces gases that pollute the air such as hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides.
The exhaust system, through the Catalytic Converter, cleans up the exhaust gases by breaking down the harmful gas compounds. Chemicals in the catalytic converter act as catalysts, changing the highly hazardous gas compounds to less harmful ones.