Home THE JOURNEY Road Trip Staying Safe on Your Summer Road Trip

Staying Safe on Your Summer Road Trip

Summer is here and there is no better time to get out on the open road and explore our breath-taking country. Packing road trip essentials like snacks, a bathing suit and creating the perfect playlist are easy ways to prepare before you set out, but there might be something you’re forgetting.

Your vehicle’s exhaust system is responsible for keeping your engine’s performance in check, reducing noise while you drive and most importantly filtering out potentially lethal carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitrogen monoxide fumes.

“Most drivers understand the basics of the exhaust system; but what they don’t know is if not properly maintained it can create a dangerous, and even life-threatening situation,” says Darryl Croft, automotive expert at OK Tire. “A healthy exhaust system is key to having a vehicle that runs well, has great fuel economy and keeps you moving throughout all of your summer adventures.”

What Causes Damage?

Living in Canada means driving in the most extreme conditions. With freezing winters and sweltering summers, our vehicles are put through a lot. Road salt, used to de-ice streets in the winter, could contribute to the formation of rust on your exhaust system, leading to the creation of holes in the pipe, muffler, and catalytic converter. On top of this,  your exhaust system is at risk of corroding from the inside as well. If you drive your vehicle for only short distances at a time condensation can build up in your exhaust system, causing water to remain, eventually leading to rust forming. Taking your vehicle for a 30-60-minute highway drive every two weeks can help dry out the system and prevent corrosion.

In addition, driving on rough roads, especially during pothole season, is another major factor. Connections between bolts and fasteners can become loose and wear out gaskets when being constantly jolted.

Knowing There’s a Problem

It might not always be easy to detect a problem with your exhaust system but there a few warning signs that can point to trouble ahead. If you begin to hear rattling, thumping or rumbling while driving or you notice your gas pedal vibrates, especially upon acceleration, there is a good chance you might be dealing with a damaged exhaust system.

One of the most obvious (and dangerous) signs that there is a problem is being able to smell fumes from inside your vehicle. If this is the case, get out of your vehicle and opt to have it towed to your nearest automotive expert as these fumes could signal the presence of toxic emissions within your car.

Staying Safe

Everyone wants a vehicle that is reliable, runs smoothly and is safe to drive. There are a few steps you can take before you set out on the road to ensure your exhaust system is in working order.

First, inspecting your vehicle for damage in the seals of your doors and ensuring there are no rust perforations in the floor or doors can help keep toxic fumes out of your car’s cabin. Also, resisting the urge to ignore your check engine light can prevent a little issue from turning into a larger one.

Last and most importantly, having your vehicle’s entire exhaust system inspected by a certified automotive technician every six months is the best way to detect and stop a problem before it starts. A good technician will inspect the entire exhaust system from the exhaust manifolds all the way to the tailpipe checking for any leaks, rust, broken components, or any unusual or loud noises. A back pressure test may also be required to determine if there are any blockages or restrictions within the exhaust system. Making this part of your routine, during your seasonal tire switchover and/or oil change, will ensure you never forget, and will keep your vehicle running smoothly no matter the season.

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