Automotive Q&A

Learn about your Exhaust System

How does the center exhaust system work?

Depending on whom you talk to, the components of the center exhaust section vary, but the most common description includes all of the parts between the down pipe and the tail pipe. This includes the catalytic converter and muffler, plus more pipes. It is in the center exhaust section that most of the exhaust system’s work is done. The catalytic converter is responsible for controlling the harmful emissions your engine produces. Engines produce dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxide. Catalytic converters contain substances or compounds such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium that react with, and convert, the harmful gases into less harmful substances such as oxygen, nitrogen, water vapors, and carbon dioxide. Mufflers aid in controlling vehicle emissions but are mostly responsible for dampening engine noise. Mufflers are specifically designed to cancel out, or dissipate, the loud sounds created by your engine. They also contain a special chamber called the resonator, which aids in this process.