If you notice water occasionally leaking out of your tailpipe, it is not necessarily a symptom of problems with your muffler or exhaust system. Water is a natural part of the internal combustion process of your engine, and is usually released as evaporated steam with the rest of your exhaust gasses. However, it is not uncommon for small amounts of steam to reform into liquid before exiting your exhaust pipes – this usually happens during a cold day, or when you take short trips in your vehicle (under twenty minutes or so).
If you remember your high school chemistry lessons, it is no surprise that water would form in your engine during the combustion process. Because your vehicle’s fuel contains hydrogen (H) – among many other compounds – and is mixed with air (O) during fuel injection, H2O is generated. Many mufflers come with a discharge hole to drain any excess water that forms in this process, but the rest of your exhaust components don’t – meaning if your engine isn’t hot enough (or the outside temperature is too cold) to evaporate all the water, it will drain out your exhaust pipes.
While the presence of small amounts of water in your exhaust pipe is expected occasionally, if you are consistently only running your engine for less than half an hour while driving you may start to see consistent water dripping from the exhaust. This will reduce the life span of your muffler and exhaust components simply due to the generally corrosive nature of water over time, and can be avoided simply by ensuring your engine runs for at least fifteen minutes (with single exhaust systems) or half an hour (for dual exhaust installations).
You want to avoid the presence of water as much as possible in your exhaust and muffler system as it not only causes eventual rust, but also traps certain extremely corrosive compounds from your exhaust gas that would otherwise be expelled immediately. If you are not taking a lot of short trips in your vehicle yet you are noticing a consistent or regular dripping of water from your tailpipe, it is highly recommended you have your muffler and exhaust system looked at by a mechanic – preferably one who specialises in muffler and exhaust repair.
While the above is the most common reason for the presence of water in your exhaust pipes, larger amounts of water – or any consistent leaking water – can indicate serious engine issues and should be addressed quickly. Your catalytic converter, head-gaskets, and many other engine components may be malfunctioning in this case.
If you’re experiencing water leaking from your vehicle’s tailpipe in the Edmonton or Sherwood Park area, take your vehicle in for a full muffler and exhaust diagnosis by our specialists – we can set your mind at ease, or fully repair any issues in the event that the water is caused by engine problems.