Can Bad Roads Damage an Exhaust System?

exhaust bad roads

We tend to only think about the exhaust on our cars when something goes wrong, but it’s a critical system that we should be paying attention to on a regular basis. While it’s pretty durable, it can be damaged by a number of different things, including long-term exposure to moisture and salt. With that being said, there are other threats to your exhaust, such as bad roads.

How do bad roads damage your exhaust?

There are several ways that bad roads can damage your exhaust. Consider the following:

  • Potholes: When you hit a pothole, you definitely feel it. It jars the entire vehicle. However, if the pothole is deep enough, it’s possible that the car could “bottom out.” That is, the undercarriage might scrape on the asphalt. That means the exhaust is coming into contact with the road, and that can definitely cause some damage.

  • Thrown Rocks: We’re all familiar with rocks being thrown from the rear tire of the vehicle in front of us, but the same thing happens with your own car. If one of your front tires kicks up debris, it can easily strike the exhaust, including the catalytic converter. While light impacts are likely to do little damage to the piping, the catalytic converter actually contains ceramic parts that can shatter with an impact.

These are just a couple of ways that bad roads can damage your exhaust. If you’ve encountered a pothole, chances are good that it has done more harm than you might imagine. It can affect everything from your steering and suspension to the exhaust pipes, catalytic converter and muffler. An inspection can help put your mind at ease, though.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

More related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....

Related questions

Q: Black residue in the tailpipes

This is probably not a problem. If your state or locale requires emissions testing, this will be an immediate way to determine if the engine is running too rich (burning too much fuel for a given amount of air). But...

Q: Car starts, but quits; removing/replacing battery cable helps

Hello there, thank you for asking about your 2002 Chrysler Intrepid. You're correct in that a transmission mechanical problem would not come and go by simply disconnecting the battery. My guess is that the transmission shift solenoid pack has failed....

Q: sounds stopped up

It sounds like your catalyst is broken up and clogged the exhaust. You may also have a problem with the engine flooding from fuel which could be caused by a bad fuel pressure regulator.