Why Most Of Your Exhaust System Isn’t Covered By Warranty

Over the last few decades, cars have improved dramatically. Today’s new vehicle is significantly safer, more fuel efficient, and better performing than vehicles produced just ten years ago. These quality improvements have also led to improved warranty coverage – most of the vehicles available today offer better warranty coverage than people expected 10 years ago, and now even used vehicles offer warranty coverage. Combined with extended warranty options, today’s car buyer can be fully protected from mechanical problems for a long, long time.

Still, certain parts aren’t covered under warranty – including the exhaust system. Here’s why:

1. Exhaust systems are vulnerable to the elements. The typical vehicle exhaust system is completely unprotected from the elements. If, for example, you drive your car through a mud puddle, your exhaust system may become coated in grime. In the winter time, the exhaust system can become coated in road salt. Because most people don’t wash the underside of their vehicles, salt and grime can easily accumulate on the exhaust system…and that leads to rust.

2. Exhaust systems naturally accumulate moisture. Many people don’t realize that water is a natural byproduct of combustion. As exhaust gases move through the exhaust system, the water condenses (this is why you often see water dripping out of tailpipes on very cold days). Sometimes water can condense inside mufflers and/or low points in the system. Water “sitting” inside a metal pipe is a precursor to rust.

3. Exhaust systems often aren’t built to last. It’s a rare person that crawls under a brand new car and looks over the exhaust, but if you have done this then you know that a typical factory exhaust system is made from cheap components. Most new car manufacturers use 409 stainless steel in their exhaust systems, which is a low-grade version of stainless steel that is “stainless” in name only, and some new car manufacturers don’t even use 409 stainless – they use “aluminized” steel which is very cheap. At best, a factory exhaust system will last 8-10 years in a dry climate. At worst? You’ll be buying a new muffler after 3 or 4 years.

For all of these reasons, exhaust systems are considered wear items. The only exception is the catalytic converter, which is usually covered by a federally-mandated emissions warranty that lasts 8 years or 80k miles (which is great news because catalytic converters can be very, very expensive).

The good news is that mufflers and/or the entire exhaust system after the catalytic converter can be replaced relatively inexpensively. Even better, you can replace you factory exhaust system with a high performance after-market system that will add horsepower and improve gas mileage – not to mention make your car, truck, or SUV sound more powerful.

Guest post by Jason Lancaster. Learn more about exhaust systems on ExhaustVideos.com.

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Filed under: Warranty Tips

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