As surprising as it sounds, I just witnessed my neighbor attempt to sell his car simply because the exhaust pipe broke off catalytic converters.
I immediately approached him and assured him that it could be fixed. Even the repair is relatively inexpensive.
If an exhaust pipe breaks off a catalytic converter, even an amateur can fix it with aluminum foil, exhaust tape, or metal repair bandages. All of these options are highly cost effective and quick to implement.
In the article, I describe how to repair a broken cat exhaust pipe using the above materials. I will also explain why promptly fixing the pipe is crucial.
Let’s dive right in!
What Is an Exhaust Pipe?
Exhaust pipes transport burnt gasses from engines and release them into the atmosphere.
You see, a car generates several types of gasses. The gas accumulates in the exhaust system. If they are trapped inside, your vehicle will pose safety hazards and operate inefficiently.
This is where the exhaust pipe leaves an impression. It provides an ideal pathway for gas to escape.
Exhaust Pipe Disconnected from Catalytic Converter: What Should I Do?
Whether due to an accident or other circumstances, exhaust pipes disconnecting from catalytic converters can be disastrous.
As you can see from the previous paragraph, the exhaust pipe is what keeps the cat running smoothly. Without the cat and exhaust system functioning, gasses will build up inside the vehicle. As a result, a number of issues can arise, such as poor performance, bad fuel economy, etc.
The good news is that you can reconnect the pipe in three different ways. I have outlined all of them below. You are free to choose any method you find convenient.
#1 Welding the Exhaust Pipe
It is possible to weld the exhaust pipe to the catalytic converter. Having said that, the process is far from simple.
You see, a brand new pipe that has never been attached to anything is a breeze to weld. Broken ones, however, make the job considerably more challenging.
Most shops usually use TIG and MIG welding to join the cat and exhaust pipe for good. The task requires about 1-2 hours to complete.
There is no doubt that welding is the best long-term solution, lasting easily ten years. This is the sole reason for the high cost, ranging from $1000 to $2500.
#2 Replacing the Exhaust Pipe
Replacing the exhaust pipe is also an option, but only if it has become disconnected by a crack or break.
Regarding the replacement part, you are unlikely to find the OEM exhaust pipe in stores. In that case, you may have to purchase one aftermarket.
While aftermarket pipes offer many features, most of them are illegal. Hence, ensure that the replacement pipe you buy is legal in your state.
Changing exhaust pipes can be a time-consuming endeavor. It can even take a whole day.
And lastly, If I were to estimate the charge, I would put it between $500 to $1000.
#3 Repairing the Exhaust Pipe
Don’t have enough cash to replace or weld your disconnected exhaust pipe? No worries, I have got you covered.
You can simply repair the broken pipe to once again connect it to the catalytic converter. This doesn’t require consulting a mechanic or shop. Even a novice could do it comfortably.
The most exciting aspect of repairing exhaust pipes is how affordable it is. You barely have to spend $50 for it.
However, you can’t rely on repairs if durability is your top priority. You can consider it as more of a short-term solution.
The following is a discussion on various methods for repairing exhaust pipes.
How to Reattach Exhaust Pipe to Catalytic Converter?
Exhaust pipe fell off catalytic converters, but can’t figure out how to fix it? Here are three methods for quickly, easily, and affordably reattaching the pipe.
#1 Using Metal Repair Bandage
Among all the solutions, metal bandages appear to be the most effective. Check it out below.
STEP- 1: Jacking Up the Vehicle
The first step is to place the vehicle on jack stands. Do not rely on one stand, as it can be extremely dangerous. Always use two stands at a minimum.
With a flathead screwdriver, loosen the bandage’s hose clamp.
STEP – 2: Cleaning the Area
Use a steel wire brush for a thorough scrubbing of the broken area. After that, you should use 100 grit sandpaper to remove any remaining dirt and debris.
STEP – 3: Assessing Where to Put Paste
Put the bandage over the damaged part, then remove it. This will help you pinpoint precisely where to apply the paste.
STEP – 4: Applying the Paste
Since now you know the exact spots, generously spread the paste on them. Ensure that all spots have the same amount of paste.
STEP – 5: Attaching the Bandage
The right time has come to fit the bandage into the damaged area one last time. There will be enough paste in the middle of the bandage.
It is the edges that are likely to lack paste. Therefore, ensure they are adequately pasted.
STEP – 6: Securing the Clamp
In the next step, tighten the clamp to hold the bandage in place.
STEP – 7: Adding Another Layer of Paste
The container should still have plenty of paste left. Using a layering technique, apply it to the bandage strips.
That’s it; you have fixed the broken part that fast! Let the paste harden and dry before you drive. Weather conditions will determine how long it takes.
You can also idle the car to dry the paste. It speeds up the drying process.
#2 Using Exhaust Tape
When covering a large hole, exhaust tape is one of my favorites.
STEP – 1: Lifting the Vehicle and Cleaning Around the Pipe
To begin with, you have to jack up the car first and then follow all of the previous cleaning procedures.
STEP – 2: Wrapping the Tape
Next, wrap the tape around the hole from one end to the other. Make sure there are enough tapes on both sides.
STEP – 3: Applying Another Layer
In the center of the hole, one layer will not suffice. I would recommend putting two layers on.
Note: Exhaust tapes have their own requirements. The engine may need to be warmed up first in some cases. Therefore, read the tape’s user guide carefully prior to use.
#3 Using Aluminum Foil Tape
If you happen to have aluminum foil lying around, you can use it to repair the exhaust pipe of your catalytic converter.
STEP – 1: Raising the Vehicle
It is once again necessary to lift your car and clean the vicinity of the damaged exhaust pipe.
STEP – 2: Cutting Aluminum Foil to Size
The next step is to measure the diameter of the hole. Cut an adequate amount of aluminum tape with a scissor to fit the hole.
STEP – 3: Sealing the Hole
Last but not least, cover the broken area with freshly cut aluminum foil. If the crack is too big, the tape must be applied around the pipe as well.
What Happens If The Broken Exhaust Pipe Is Not Fixed?
Here are five reasons why you must never leave a damaged exhaust pipe unattended.
#1 Effect on Acceleration
If the exhaust pipe falls off and you do not fix it, your car’s acceleration will worsen over time. It is going to slow down significantly.
Furthermore, you will notice acceleration is unable to generate the same power it used to.
#2 Increased Carbon Monoxide Level
The worst thing a damaged exhaust pipe can do is cause carbon monoxide to spread. Consequently, it may find its way into the car’s passenger compartment.
The gas gives headaches and nausea to people sitting in the vehicle. Exposure to it for a long period of time can be fatal.
#3 Loud Noise
Having a broken exhaust pipe can also make your car sound unbearably loud. It is so loud that you will want to turn off the engine as soon as possible.
Unless the catalytic converter exhaust pipe works properly, toxic fumes cannot exit the engine. In turn, this will have a negative effect on fuel economy.
#5 Emission Failure
Almost all states in the US prohibit driving vehicles with broken exhaust pipes. Due to loud noise and harmful gas releases, they create a lot of environmental pollution.
Ultimately, it means you won’t pass the emissions test.
What’s The Cost Of Repairing A Broken Catalytic Converter Exhaust Pipe?
With the metal repair bandage procedure, the overall repair cost should not exceed $40.
Perhaps the cheapest treatment is aluminum foil. The expense is estimated to be $15.
Another affordable alternative is exhaust tape, which costs around $20.
Even if you try all the methods and one fixes your cat exhaust pipe eventually, you will still end up saving money over replacing it.
To Sum Up
From the article, it is evident that the broken cat exhaust pipe can be repaired easily. There are even multiple methods available. In case one method isn’t successful, you can always try the other.
I guess it’s time for my recommendation. Since I’ve had success with the metal bandage method, I would strongly recommend it over other alternatives.
Interested in more articles on exhaust pipes? You can find out whether test pipes replace catalytic converters in this article.