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Exhaust system repair alternatives?

I drive a 1992 Nissan Primera wagon 2.0 SLX with 150,000miles on it. The car is a marvel of reliability but it is, of course, old. Lately I detected Carbon Monoxide fumes. The mechanic says it needs a new exhaust system, that the pipes are rusty so there’s no questions of welding loose connections. He wants $450. He’s probably right but I’m wondering if there is a cheaper way to execute a temporary fix. I was planning to sell the car for parts but it would be nice if it could last the winter. Suggestions welcome. Thanks!

Likely there is no alternative. You can’t patch rust.

The fumes you detected probably had a carbon monoxide component but carbon monoxide is odorless,one of the reasons it can catch people off guard. If it did have an odor all those monitors that are sold would be pointless as you could just use your nose.

Can you post some pics. of the areas that need repair?

Unless you drive around all winter with your windows open, this is a major safety hazard. CO is odorless and deadly. $450 is already dirt cheap to replace an entire exhaust system. Pry open that wallet and get it fixed right. There is no cheap, temporary fix that is safe to drive in this case.

How were you able to detect carbon Monoxide exactly? It’s colorless and odorless. At any rate $450 is pretty reasonable for an exhaust system and the labor to install it. This is a safety issue, I would get the exhaust repaired correctly.

If the car is a marvel of reliability, why question spending $450 to fix it? That’s about 1-1/2 car payments for something new. That is a very reasonable price for a new exhaust system, as well as peace of mind that the car will not kill you this winter. As long as the chassis is reasonably solid, this should be a no-brainer.

As the others said, if you want to live, get the work done.

My only addition to their good advice is to try to find an exhaust system that comes with a lifetime warranty, at least on parts. That way, you won’t have to pay for the next one when this one starts to rust away. Most of the time, these aftermarket exhaust systems don’t last as long as the originals.

$450.00 for a whole new system?!! Get it in writing because I would bet the cost goes up once your veh is on the rack.

Certain aspects of car repair and maintenance are best done by specialists. With a few exceptions, the best place to have exhaust work done inexpensively is by going to a muffler and exhaust shop rather than a general mechanic. These places specialize in exhaust work and so can generally do it for less money. If you’re only trying to make it through winter, the least expensive exhaust pipes will certainly suffice. Go to a local muffler shop and explain your circumstances. Good chance it’ll be less expensive than a mechanic…

The price quoted is very reasonable, and I urge you to take a broader view and put the safety of yourself and your passengers ahead of trying to save a few dollars, which, as pointed out, is impossible anyway, if the whole system is rusted.

Being cheap (rather than intelligently FRUGAL), has killed many car owners over the years. Don’t be one of them!!

If your exhaust leak or leaks are located with a few inches of good pipe on either side, you can do a temporary fix with a couple of exhaust pipe clamps and either a tin can with the ends cut out and a cut made along the length or else a piece of tin plated steel from a hardware store cut and shaped to fit. Both can cut you so beware; wearing gloves is some good protection.

Minor exhaust leaks have not been dangerous for me as long as the vehicle is in motion, parked in a good breeze or not permitted to idle for long while people are inside the car. If you are not stupid about it and think a little about dangerous possibilities and take evasive action accordingly, you will not be gassed.

If the leak is at the end cap of a muffler, there is nothing that you can do short of clamping a new muffler in place.

I use a local pipe bender muffler shop for repairs like that, the last job I had done was complete for less than I could buy parts for. $110 bucks!