At first glance, the flex pipe doesn’t seem special aside from being more flexible than other pipes in the exhaust system. But like any other exhaust part, it contributes a lot to how well your ride performs on the road. When a flex pipe wears out or breaks down, it can cause serious problems for your vehicle. Read on to learn about its role in the exhaust system and the common signs of failure you should watch for.
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What Is a Flex Pipe?
The flex pipe is a type of tubing that connects the engine and exhaust system. Also called the exhaust flex pipe, it is made from strong yet malleable materials like steel alloy.
Severe cracks can leave the flex pipe hanging from underneath your vehicle. If it dangles low enough to touch the road surface, it can make a racket.
Can You Drive with a Bad Flex Pipe?
Yes, you technically can, but that doesn’t mean you should. A cracked or leaky pipe not only makes driving harder but it may also damage other parts of the vehicle. Also, if you drive your vehicle when it has a hanging flex pipe, the damaged part will noisily drag across the road surface. It can even throw out sparks that may ignite fuel vapor or fragments and can damage your vehicle’s underside.
How to Fix a Flex Pipe
You can replace a bad flex pipe by yourself if you have the tools, parts, and skills required for the repair job. A DIY replacement and installation can save you the considerable cost of paying a professional technician for their labor.
On average, it takes an experienced mechanic less than an hour to replace a faulty flex pipe. A direct-fit flex product speeds up the process. You can swap out the old exhaust part for the new exhaust flex pipe without modifying anything.
If you lack the tools or skill to install a new flex pipe on your own, it’s best to let your mechanic handle the job.
Shopping for Replacement Flex Pipes
Be selective. There are numerous flex pipe products available today, and not all of them are equal. To find the best pipes for your ride, you must first pay attention to your stock parts’ dimensions.
Flex pipes come in different sizes that may or may not prove compatible with your vehicle’s exhaust system. Always start your search by getting the inlet diameter and length of your old pipe and comparing them with the dimensions of a potential replacement. The new exhaust flex pipes should precisely match your stock parts for maximum efficiency and easy installation.
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You must also take note of your replacements’ material. Most flex pipes are made of steel alloy. Forged steel is sturdy, but it’s also heavy and potentially vulnerable to corrosion. Meanwhile, stainless steel offers superior protection against rust, while aluminized steel exhaust flex pipes save weight. Determine which material best suits your needs.