​The Toyota Exhaust System - Exploring Optimal Performance

What Does the Exhaust Do?

Your Toyota burns fuel and air in its combustion chamber to produce the energy that it needs to run properly. Extremely harmful gasses are created in this process, which generate more than six different emissions, including nitrogen monoxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. Your exhaust system is responsible for removing emissions for the safety of drivers, passengers and the environment. The exhaust system also quiets loud noises of combustion that are taking place within the vehicle and ensures that the car is performing with fuel efficiency.

The Exhaust System Components

The exhaust system is composed of a series of chambers and pipes that begin at the engine and end at the rear of the vehicle with the tail pipe. Most vehicles have one exhaust system, but vehicles that have eight cylinder engines may require two exhaust systems, one is used for the right cylinders and the other for the left. It is important that duel-exhaust systems run efficiently. Both dual exhaust and singular system operate the same way. The typical exhaust system has five parts.

1. Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold is positioned at the forefront of the exhaust system and is attached to the engine at the cylinder head. The manifold vents the exhaust gasses from the multiple cylinders into one pipe, and it burns any remaining fuel in the engine.

2. Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor is located either in or near the manifold, and the sensor sends oxygen level readings to the vehicle's computer. The computer then regulates how much fuel is needed by the engine to achieve the best fuel efficiency.

3. Exhaust Pipes

The exhaust pipes distribute the exhaust throughout the entire system. The pipes begin with a connection at the manifold and end at the tailpipe. The exhaust makes its final exit through the tailpipe as it leaves the vehicle.

4. Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is a critical part of the exhaust. It is located after the manifold and converts harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon gases into water vapor and carbon dioxide. The catalytic converter is used by the exhaust system to produce safer emissions for the environment. A vehicle can operate without a converter, but it is illegal to operate your vehicle without one in most states.

5. Muffler

The muffler is true to its name and is used to stifle or muffle the loud combustion noises that occur within the exhaust system. The sound waves created by the combustion of air and fuel travel throughout the entire system until they reach the muffler, which is connected to the tailpipe. The is a metal box that contains a series of tubes called baffles. Some of the baffles have perforations and the sound waves travel through these holes, which allows for the expulsion of energy along the way, and the sound waves become quieter. A resonator is at the back of the muffler, which cancels out sound waves. Some mufflers use fiberglass to absorb sound waves. Changing your vehicle's muffler can allow a distinctly different sound to exit from the exhaust.

Potential Exhaust Problems


Rust is a problem for the exhaust system, and it increases the likelihood that the exhaust may become broken or cracked. An exhaust leak may be created by a rusty, cracked and broken pipe. 

Salty Roads

The risk of a damaged exhaust pipe is increased as the vehicle ages and when the roads are coated with salt during a cold, icy and snowy Washington winter. While areas must keep their roads salted for safety, it causes corrosion. If you live in a location with salted roads, hose down the bottom of the vehicle two or three times a month during the winter to keep the salt from creating a problem. You should also avoid leaving excess water under the car, because that could create rust. 

Daily Short Trips

Short trips are typically less than fifteen miles, or if you are in a lot of stop-and-go traffic, your exhaust system experience greater water vapor. The exhaust system condenses water when the car has stopped, and when the car hasn't been running very long, the pipes don't become hot enough to evaporate this water and rust can be created. 

Normal Usage

The exhaust system may also experience leaks due to cracks caused by normal usage.

Signs You Have a Problem

Smelling Fumes

If you are smelling fumes, this is a matter of concern. Fumes may indicate that your vehicle has an exhaust leak. Roll your windows down to minimize these fumes to avoid inhaling, and contact a mechanic. If you’re located in the Washington area, we encourage you to contact our specialists at OEM Part World for help in ordering parts and next steps.

Hissing or popping noises

If you hear a hissing or popping coming from the exhaust, this may indicate that there is a leak or that the muffler needs replacement. A small leak in the exhaust can be very inexpensive to repair and catching it early can minimize the spreading of a crack or break. 

Carbon monoxide - Silent and potentially deadly

Carbon monoxide is silent, and even when there isn't an odor or visible or audible indications, you may have a problem with your system. It is wise to have a mechanic examine the exhaust during routine maintenance. It's important to catch exhaust problems early, and it's especially crucial to detect toxic carbon monoxide leaks before there are any indications of a problem.

A rattling or buzzing noise

A rattling or buzzing sound can indicate that the heat shield that is around the exhaust pipes is loose, or that the catalytic converter is loosening. Catching both of these problems early could save you from additional unnecessary repair costs down the road. 

Decrease in fuel efficiency

If you are experiencing a decline in fuel efficiency or a higher price at the gas tank, it may indicate that the oxygen sensor is malfunctioning or that you have a clogged catalytic converter. 

The exhaust system is a crucial system that affects the function and safety of various components. It is important to regularly maintain your exhaust system to achieve optimal performance. Catch and address problems quickly in an effort to keep our environment clean and your vehicle operating at its best.

About US

OEM Part World, located in Bremerton, Washington, provides a cost-effective website that gives US Toyota owners direct access to genuine Toyota Parts and Accessories. If you live in the Bremerton, Tacoma, Renton, Seattle or Port Orchard area, stop in to speak with our Certified Parts Experts who specialize in upgrades, repairs and maintenance. OEM Part World specialists are available also available by phone or email to answer any questions.