How Hot Does Car Exhaust Get?

how hot does car exhaust get
Car exhaust pipe

How Hot Does Car Exhaust Get?

A car’s exhaust system comprises of different parts that all function to aid with better gas emission.

If these parts don’t work in harmony, your car might experience engine damage or power loss problems.

In this article, we answer the question, how hot does car exhaust get while identifying the best solutions for avoiding exhaust and car damage.

Common Car Exhaust Problems and How to Solve Them

Exhaust Pipe Temperatures

A typical exhaust system gets very hot and operates between 300 and 500 degrees Celsius.

These temperatures are quite hot, and that’s why it’s advisable to avoid touching your exhaust system while the engine is running.

The temperatures in the exhaust pipe can vary depending on the different parts. Some of the hottest areas tend to be the sections near the catalytic converter.


The mufflers don’t get as hot when idling; however, their temperatures will rise as you drive.

The temperature will vary depending on the engine revolutions per minute (RPMs). You should also note that this can vary depending on the inefficient gas combustions that also lead to higher temperatures within the muffler.

The average temperature of a muffler will be around 650 degrees Celsius.

Catalytic Converters

The catalytic converter is the hottest part of the exhaust system because it gets to 750 degrees Celsius.

In case unburnt gases pass through the combustion chamber, the temperature can get higher than this.

Other conditions like repeated misfires and high-speed driving can produce temperatures that are above 1,000 degrees Celsius.

You can experience higher temperatures in the catalytic converter if it’s close-coupled to the engine.

A close-coupled catalytic converter can also lead to problems like cold start issues.

However, most catalytic converters are built to withstand temperatures above 800 degrees Celsius.

How does the exhaust system work?

An exhaust system is crucial for your engine because it aids with emissions.

The system collects gases from the engine and releases them through the atmosphere.

To achieve this, the exhaust system has to guide these gases through the central exhaust passage and release them while reducing noise, transfer of heat, power loss, and vibrations.


Most manufacturers opt to design an exhaust system per engine chassis layout. That’s because there is limited space between the steering system and the front suspension unit.

Modern-day cars are susceptible to this because they have little space within the engine compartment. The layout of the manifolds aid in ensuring that there is minimum backpressure.

More so, dividing these manifolds into two or more systems prevents multiple cylinders from releasing gases into the same branch.

In addition, increasing the manifold capacity helps eliminate flow restrictions and minimizes the backpressure.


An exhaust system starts with exhaust manifolds on the cylinder head or block. The manifold helps direct the gases from the engine to the converter or silencer.

Exhaust manifolds are mostly made from cast iron because the material can withstand extreme heat from exhaust gases. Most manufacturers also opt for a two in one manifold because it ensures a smooth flow of gases.

The smoother flow of gases is another way to ensuring that there isn’t any power loss.

An exhaust system can contribute to engine power loss by introducing backpressure. Therefore, most exhaust systems get to have wide and better-designed manifolds to ensure proper release and channeling of gases.

Thermostatic Valve

A thermostatic heat riser valve is present in most modern-day engines. It preheats the incoming air by directing the exhaust gases through the inlet manifold.

The exhaust system is capable of thermostatically controlling and opening the control valve.

The valve deflects any exhaust gases during the engine’s warm-up period.

Heat Control Valve

Older cars with carburetor systems required a heat tube to ensure that the in-built choke unit had heat.

The heat control valve works automatically since it allows the engine to warm up without any gases’ interference.

 The gases are retained on the left, where the heat control valve is offset because their pressure helps open the valve and prevent any fluttering.

What determines how hot and exhaust gets?

Many factors can affect how hot the engine system gets. The factors below are some of the different causes of a rise in exhaust system temperatures.

Exhaust System Condition

Damaged exhaust pipes can lead to an increase in temperatures. That’s because the pipe isn’t in good shape, thus not facilitating a smooth flow of gases.

Preventing a smooth flow of the gases can lead to engine problems since it can increase the backpressure. Therefore, you should ensure that your exhaust system doesn’t have any bends or cracks on it.

Engine Speed

If you love driving at higher speeds and RPMs, your engine will get hot, and so will the exhaust system.

The temperatures of the engine can vary from 350 to 600 degrees Celsius between idle and acceleration.

Engine Condition

The condition of the engine affects both the performance and the temperatures. If you have an older or faulty engine, it can not only perform poorly but also overheat.

When the engine overheats, the result is high temperatures through the entire exhaust system. To negate this, you should consider frequent engine inspections to guarantee that it’s in the best condition.

Tailpipe Length

Due to the heat emitted by the exhaust gases, a longer pipe might work best because it loses more heat before emitting the gases.

On the other hand, a shorter pipe can lead to a hot exhaust system since it doesn’t lose lots of heat after emitting the gases.

10 Symptoms of an Exhaust Problem

The exhaust system is among the crucial parts of your car. It diverts all exhaust gases from the engine to ensure that you get the best performance and reliability from the engine. If the exhaust system has a problem, it might pose a threat to your engine and passenger cabin as well. Below are some of the different symptoms of an exhaust problem.

1.Bad Fuel Efficiency

Driving your car regularly helps you have an idea about the mileage. If the mileage decreases over time, you might have an exhaust issue. The reduction in fuel efficiency happens since the engine is overcompensating to perform as expected, even with the exhaust problem.

2.Noisy Engine

An excessively noisy engine is another symptom of an exhaust problem.

One issue that can lead to more noise from the engine bay will be a faulty exhaust manifold gasket. A faulty gasket means that there is an exhaust leak that leads to tapping or hissing sounds from the engine.

3.Gas Smell

An exhaust prevents gas smells from the passenger cabin of your car. If you notice some gas smells from the cabin, it’s a sign that you might have an exhaust problem.

These gases can escape the exhaust system if there are damages to the exhaust pipe.

4.Decrease in Power

An exhaust system problem is likely to affect the performance of the engine. In most cases, you might detect power delivery or acceleration problems.

This can occur when you have an exhaust leak, and it can deteriorate if not appropriately handled.

5.Burning Smell

If an exhaust leak occurs due to a gasket fail, you can experience a burning smell from the engine bay. The heat from the exhaust gases can burn these gaskets, thus leading to the smell. In some cases, the burning gaskets can emit some smoke from the engine bay.

6.Exhaust System Maintenance

Maintaining your exhaust system ensures that your car and engine can function normally. Therefore, you should pay keen attention to the muffler, pipes, and catalytic converter to ensure that there are no issues. A good exhaust system should keep your engine running smoothly. There shouldn’t be any leaks of the gases since they can deteriorate the engine’s health and performance.


Driving frequently on rough roads can damage your exhaust heat shields. In case the heat shield is damaged or dented, you should remove it, assess the exhaust for any damages, and replace the shield.

A damaged heat shield can lead to a grass fire and exhaust damage.

8.Damper Weights

Damper weights prevent your exhaust from vibrating and damaging any clamped and welded joints. These dampers are either attached to a flange connection or directly on the exhaust pipe.

When replacing these damper weights, ensure you find original solutions to guarantee that they will work perfectly with your exhaust system.


Hangers are crucial for ensuring that your exhaust pipe doesn’t move up and down when driving. In return, all the other welded joints will experience a whiplash effect that can break them and loosen the clamps. Consider replacing the broken hangers to prevent any damage to your exhaust system.

10.Exhaust Joints

Broken hangers are the common causes of damaged exhaust joints. Most of these welds can crack at the resonator joint or the muffler. The good news is, you can replace these parts and have your exhaust system functioning properly again. You can also cut the exhaust pipe and add some shorter pipes and tighten them with clamps.

If the clamped joints aren’t broken or cracked, you can replace the clamps to negate exhaust gas leaks. Broken hangers can also lead to distorted pipe ends. Rectifying this necessitates for you to reshape them using a pipe expander.

How to Prevent Damage to Surrounding Areas

Exhaust heat can cause damage to other parts surrounding the exhaust system. To prevent this, it’s advisable to know of all the different measures to undertake. Some of these can help the exhaust system to dissipate the heat without affecting the nearby parts. Consider the ideas below to prevent any damage to your car.


Insulating the exhaust pipe ensures that all the other components won’t attain any heat damage.

Insulation ensures that the heat remains within the exhaust system without affecting the engine’s performance or the exhaust pipe.

However, before insulation of the exhaust pipe, you should be certain that your exhaust will handle the heat.

You should also consider choosing a heat wrap that’s made from quality materials to ensure that it can withstand higher temperatures. Some of the best heat insulation materials include silica, ceramic, or fiberglass.

You can as well opt to insulate any components around the exhaust pipe. At times, you might find this being the easier option compared to insulating the exhaust pipe. Consider insulating some components like hard lines, hoses, and cables. Using a heat sleeve will ensure that the heat won’t affect these components while reflecting any radiant heat.

Reflective Barriers

If you don’t have a way of preventing excess exhaust heat, you should consider reflecting it away.

Reflecting the exhaust heat away from the engine and other crucial components can be achieved using a reflective barrier or material.

You should place the material on both the engine bay and the exhaust system for the best results.

In new vehicles, you can find that the manufacturer has added aluminum or embossed steel as heatshields. They help carry or minimize the heat from all sensitive components. You might have to add the heat barrier by yourself in an older car since they are rarely present.

Different Car Stalling Situations and How to Diagnose Them

There are three main reasons why your engine might stall. These include:

  1. Insufficient amount of power
  2. Not enough air
  3. Lack of fuel

There are other reasons like the transmission, wiring problems, faulty MAP sensor, faulty spark plugs, camshaft position sensor, and many more that can lead to stalling out hurdles.

1.Insufficient Amount of Power

Your car can stall while driving if there is not enough power.

See, for your engine to run, it requires electricity. That’s why there is an ignition system because it sends a low amount of electricity to the engine once you put the key in and turn on the car.

The small amount of electricity assists the spark plugs in igniting the fuel/air mixture, thus causing a controlled explosion that brings the engine to life.

If there is no sufficient power, it’s impossible for the car to power like the fuel pump. If the pump doesn’t have any power, it won’t deliver fuel from the tank to the engine, leading to stalling problems.

2.Lack of Air

We all need air to breathe, and so does your engine. Lack of enough air leads to stalling issues.

The common culprit is the air filter since it removes contaminants within the air to supply the engine with clean air.

If your air filter becomes clogged from the debris and contaminants, it might not deliver the required air, thus leading to these problems.

3.Lack of Fuel

Your engine needs fuel to run, and one thing that might lead to a lack of fuel is forgetting to fill up.

However, a clogged fuel filter is another cause of stalling issues. A fuel filter resides in the fuel lines, and it filters out any dirt and debris to ensure that the fuel injectors aren’t damaged.

How to Diagnose Why Your Car is Stalling

After learning about the different stalling reasons, you should consider finding a solution to each. If the car stalls out due to insufficient power, you should consider assessing and changing the spark plugs or the battery.

Changing an air filter will be the next solution to ensuring that the engine always has enough clean air. The advantage of a good quality air filter is that it can last more than eight years. Some of the symptoms of a clogged air filter will entail odd engine sounds, a dirty air filter, worse fuel economy, and a check engine light.

If there isn’t enough fuel being delivered to the engine, you should consider changing the fuel filter. However, before you do this, you should speak to a mechanic and have them conduct a fuel pressure test. After changing the filter, you should rest assured that everything will function normally for the next two years.