CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Can I ignore this? [Tailpipe noise]

2010 Dodge Journey SXT AWD.

I was rear-ended this evening, and I’m leaving for a road trip at 6AM Friday. The damage seems minor, but my right tailpipe (this car has two) is now pressed against the bumper and I feel a vibration when driving. It’s not bad at 65MPH, but at low speeds it feels like there’s a mild puttering. Is this something I need to repair immediately (will call my dealership in the morning either way) or can I ignore it until Monday when I’m home?

Nah. You want to get the tailpipe off the bumper. Over a long trip the tailpipe can get hot enough where it can melt the bumper.

Try shoving a long bar/pipe up the tailpipe and see if prying down gets the tailpipe off the bumper. If that doesn’t work, take it to a muffler shop and ask if they can heat up the pipe under the vehicle to where it can be pried down off the bumper.

Tester

My thoughts match Tester’s exactly. Causing further damage by continuing to drive the car like this could also make collecting from the insurance company difficult. If you can prevent further damage, make your life easier and do what you can to prevent further damage from happening. This would be getting the tailpipe off the bumper.

Without seeing it, who knows? You need to have a mechanic or body shop take a good look to make sure there’s nothing else that’ll cause a problem, and to get that exhaust pipe moved away from the bumper.

In addition to possibly damaging the bumper by overheating the plastic cover, there is something else to consider. If the tail pipe is now constricted by that damage, it will increase the back pressure in one bank of cylinders, and that is not a good thing.

I agree with those that say it needs to be looked at from ynderneath. In addition to the concerns mentioned, if it has been displaced to where the catalytic converter is up against the heat shield (or wose yet, the floorboard) it could pose a fire danger. The ceramic substrate in cat converters retains heat and can get hotter than a match flame.

Let a shop put it on a lift and take a look. Better safe than cremated.