Hi I’m new to this site and know absolutely nothing about cars. I own a 2000 Mazda Protege and about 3/4 months ago my tail pipe rusted and fell off. The mechanic said it was okay to drive it would just be loud. Yesterday I heard a rattling and when I got home and checked the rest of the pipe was hanging it’s all rusted. I’m afraid if I try to drive again the whole thing is gonna come off. So my first question is this 1) is it safe to drive 2) Do I need it?
What it looks like
You don’t NEED it but you need it. Besides the annoying noise you now have, the tail pipe moves the engine exhaust to the rear of the car and away from the cabin of the car where it can poison you. It also carries exhaust to the catalytic converter where the exhaust is cleaned up before being released to the atmosphere. At this point your “check engine light” is probably on and will stay on until the exhaust system is repaired. In some states this will prevent you from passing your annual safety inspection.
Lastly, anything hanging from the bottom of your car can potentially cause major damage when it finally falls off. From tearing up fuel and brake lines to puncturing the floorboard or gas tank, it is a risky situation.
Thank you. The engine light isn’t on yet. Would I be okay to drive it to the mechanic?
It should be OK to drive it to your mechanic but if it were my car, I would throw an old wire clothes hanger and a set pliers in the trunk, just in case it decides to drop down to street (scraping) level. You could then wire the exhaust up to something under the car until you get to the mechanic. A little wire, duct tape, cable ties, hammer, screw driver . . . make an emergency repair kit for your trunk. Even if YOU are not handy, if somebody comes by to assist you in an emergency it’s better to have stuff than not. Any of you folks want to chime in on what should be in an emergency kit? Rocketman
@rocketman You’re right. When I go on a long rip such as a vacation, I always carry a roll of black iron wire and pliers. as well as an emergency tool kit. Lots of duct tape as well. I’ve had tail pipe brackets let got and was able to make emergency repairs.
I’m going against the grain a little bit
That picture shows the rear tie rods
So I think the exhaust broke off towards the rear of the car, not the front. Technically, the exhaust is passing through the catalytic converter. I believe the cat and the O2 sensors are still intact. I can’t guarantee they’re working well, but they should still be there
“my tail pipe rusted and fell off”
That will not lead to the check engine light being on
But the car will fail inspection, and you might get a ticket, because the exhaust is too loud
Perhaps the best thing is to head to an independent muffler shop . . .
If you’re able, wire it up securely and get it to a shop so exhaust fumes don’t fill the passenger cabin. If not, have it towed.
If it falls off on the way to the mechanic it could easily cause an accident and somebody innocent could get seriously injured or killed. Would you want to have to live with the thought of having caused some young family to roll over into a ditch? I thought not.