The Anatomy of Healthy Cars: A Service and Repair Blog

Some Questions You Might Have About Car Extractors and Exhaust Parts

by Brittany Marshall

Your car's exhaust system is very important for the vehicle's overall performance; the exhaust system helps to control the amount of air that gets in and out of the engine, allowing for better combustion. The muffler also helps to keep the car quiet as the fumes and emissions exit out the tailpipe. Note a few questions you might have about keeping the exhaust system in good working order and about some of the parts that go into this system, including custom parts.

1. What is an extractor?

An extractor is an added part of an exhaust system that helps to pull more fumes and emissions from the car's engine. In turn, the engine may run more cleanly and efficiently. With extractors, you may see an increase in gas mileage, and your engine may run more coolly, which protects it against unnecessary wear and tear. The engine may also have better performance overall, so you may get better pickup when accelerating. Note that extractors are also sometimes called headers, so if you're looking to have them added or have them recommended by a mechanic, the two words are typically interchangeable. 

2. What is a cat?

The term "cat" typically refers to the catalytic converter, something that is somewhat standard on vehicles made in the last few decades. The catalytic converter sits along the exhaust system, in front of the muffler, and works as something of a strainer to filter out most noxious fumes and impurities that come from the engine. If you hear a rumbling noise under your car that sounds like rocks shaking around, usually the filter of the cat has developed rust or other damage and may need to be replaced. Keeping a catalytic converter that is in good working order in your car is vital for it to run cleanly and for it to perform well.

3. The muffler is fine, so why is the car so loud?

As said above, a sound that resembles rocks rattling around is usually the catalytic converter. However, if you hear a rattling from the area of the muffler, it may be that the hangers and clips holding it have come loose. If the muffler itself is in good condition and doesn't need replacing, you may be able to simply replace the hangers or clips that have come loose. Note too that any holes that develop in the exhaust pipes can make a loud rattling or rumbling noise, and these can sometimes be covered with muffler tape rather than being replaced.