Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Art asks: I’ve noticed that some new cars have dummy exhaust ports built into the lower rear valance panel; the actual exhaust tip is underneath the rear end of the car. Isn’t this dangerous?
My reply: I’ve had the same thought. Last week, I was test driving a new Mercedes A Class, which also has the “decorative” exhaust outlets built into the lower part of the rear bumper. These – as you note – are for looks only.
There is no exhaust coming out of them.
This is good in that there will never be discoloration from heat, etc. around the “exhaust” outlets – which are typically painted boy color with a chrome accent surround – but possibly bad, because the exhaust exits underneath the vehicle.
In the case of the A-Class, the exhaust system ends in a pair of downturned tubes coming out of the muffler, located just behind the rear axle. The tips are about a foot behind the rear bumper and well underneath the vehicle.
This kind of thing used to be illegal, if I am remembering right, because of the possibility of exhaust gasses pooling underneath the floorpans/making their way into the passenger cabin.
I suppose the danger is minimal with a modern car because their exhaust stream is so clean and probably also because a modern car’s passenger cab is so tight – sealed from the outside world.
One assumes they know what they are doing. Or hopes, at any rate!
. . .
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