Can an Exhaust Leak Cause Transmission Problems?

Can an Exhaust Leak Cause Transmission Problems

Can an Exhaust Leak Cause Transmission Problems? An exhaust leak can cause transmission problems such as hard, late, or early shifts, and soft shifts if it is not diagnosed and fixed as soon as possible. 

When your car starts to malfunction or show certain symptoms that aren’t the proper, natural, manufacturer-made symptom, then you should be alarmed, because leaving it that way for a long while will begin to affect the overall working of the car and cause your vehicle not to operate at its full capacity.

To enjoy a car whose workings are efficient all-round, you have to take notice of things like your steering, your engine, your battery, and even your exhaust pipe.

Your exhaust pipe acts like the bowels of the vehicle. If something is wrong, if there’s a blockage or a leak in the exhaust pipe, it will cause the car several issues.

However, the question that will be answered in this article is this; can an exhaust leak cause transmission problems in your vehicle? Are transmission problems among the numerous issues that a malfunctioning exhaust pipe can influence?

Can an Exhaust Leak Cause Transmission Problems?

Yes, leakage of the exhaust can lead to hard, late shifts or early, soft shifts. Exhaust leaks affect the efficiency of your vehicle, which in turn affects the transmission.

When your car is experiencing exhaust leaks, the fume, carbon, or exhaust generated from the engine of the car will escape from your vehicle, maybe from joints, or from the body of the exhaust system itself before it passes through the catalytic converter and then out of the tailpipe.

Exhaust leaks always cause confusion within the engine of the vehicle, leading to excessive or uneven fuel consumption.

Fuel is consumed more (or not enough) because the sensors of your car are confused as to the amount of carbon your car is generating since it can’t take into account the fume your car is releasing.

If due to the leakage, your sensor thinks that more fume is getting released from the car, it will propel the engine to burn more fuel, and if it thinks that enough fume is not getting released, it will limit the amount of fuel your car consumes.

Meaning that it will consume lesser fuel than it needs. Either way, when your vehicle does not burn the proper amount of fuel it needs — when it burns too much, or not enough, transmission problems set in.

Burning too much fuel makes the engine fire up and begin to overheat, and when your engine begins to overheat, it’s a pointer to transmission problems. Even people with a fever can’t function properly.

Also, when your engine burns too little fuel, it starts to have problems with acceleration, then it won’t go at the speed you want it to, then gradually, you’ll struggle to ignite the engine, and this all sets up to cause transmission problems in your vehicle.

What are The Transmission Problems?

Technically, transmission problems are all problems that prevent your car from functioning at its maximum efficiency. They are problems that prevent your car transmission from working the way it is supposed to work.

There are all manners of transmission problems that an exhaust leak can cause to your vehicle. To avoid problems like these, it is paramount that you fix your exhaust and stop it from leaking as soon as possible.

Problems Exhaust Leak Can Cause

Here are problems caused by a leaking exhaust system:

1. Reduced Power

Think of your exhaust system as your bowels, and the pipe itself as the anus through which digested food and waste come out to make room for other meals and even for energy. Now if there is an issue with that system. It is going to affect the rate of energy your body dispels.

In this case, it completely reduces the power the vehicle generates, and gradually, the longer it lasts, your car begins to slow down and eventually grinds to a halt because it is not generating the proper power that it needs to function.

2. Decreased Acceleration

This is almost similar to reduced power in that your car will not be able to accelerate at will. This can cause a world of problems because you will struggle with it on highways.

Imagine running at 40km/hr on a highway that has a maximum speed of 80km/hr. This decreased acceleration is a result of the confusion about fuel usage. Not enough fuel equals not enough speed and power.

3. Back-Pressure Problems

This stems as a result of the catalytic converter getting clogged or blocked due to the exhaust leaks. Since information isn’t properly transmitted from the engine to the exhaust block down to the tailpipe, there is a likelihood for the catalytic converter to get blocked.

The catalytic converter in your exhaust pipe is what reduces the toxicity of the exhaust fume coming out of your engine before it gets released into the environment.

If your vehicle’s catalytic converter is blocked, there’s every chance it will cause back-pressure problems which makes it tough for you to change gears.

Asides from transmission problems, here are some other problems that can be established as a result of exhaust leaks from your vehicle.

4. High Fuel Consumption

For obvious reasons, your vehicle’s gas mileage will be in shambles due to an exhaust leak. When you are consuming more fuel than necessary as a result of an exhaust leak, the efficiency of fuel usage in your car will become zero, causing you to spend more money on fuel even after running on less mph.

5. Noise from your Vehicle

Exhaust leaks cause your engine to give off an increasingly loud noise that is a result of exhaust trying to escape from places and parts of the car they aren’t supposed to escape from. This is usually among the very first signs that you have an exhaust leak and you should fix it.

6. The Smell of Gas/Fuel from your Vehicle

Over time, you begin to smell gas from your vehicle. Two things cause this though, that is, the smell of gas. One is a loose gas cap, the other is an exhaust leak. You should get an expert to inspect it so you will be sure which has caused your car and its environs to smell of gas.

7. Toxic Release into the Environment

Since the fumes coming directly from your engine are leaking out of your exhaust pipe even before it reaches the catalytic converter that transforms it into a non-toxic smoke, the fumes escaping will cause problems in the environment, passersby and people who unintentionally inhale might be in great danger, more than they would have if the fume had passed through the appropriate channels.

Disadvantages of Driving a Car with Exhaust Leak

It is not enough to tell drivers that it is not good to drive vehicles that have exhaust leaks. This is why this article will be mentioning some of the disadvantages of driving a car with an exhaust leak.

  • It is Not Cost Effective: You will have to spend almost double the amount of fuel you would have spent if the car didn’t have an exhaust leak.
  • It is Not Healthy: Don’t forget that you are also in the same environment as the toxic fume released from the leakage parts of your vehicle, and this is hazardous to your health.
  • It Births Frustrations for the Driver: The transmission problems exhaust leak causes will be a source of frustration for the driver driving such a car. In the end, it’s not worth it as it will not give a pleasant driving experience.


When you discover that your car has an exhaust leak, you should contact an expert to get it repaired immediately. You are dissuaded from putting it on the road again even after finding out about this problem.

Also, if you notice that your car is giving off any of the symptoms of an exhaust leak such as high fuel consumption, decreased power, decreased efficiency, and acceleration, you should call an expert for help. Don’t keep driving a car with an exhaust leak. You won’t get the best of your driving experience.