How to Fix Your Car Exhaust, Without Welding or Power Tools.





Introduction: How to Fix Your Car Exhaust, Without Welding or Power Tools.

About: The answer is lasers, now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Find me on Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter as @KitemanX

The old clunker's exhaust was blowing a bit, so I sealed it.

Then it fell off. It had rusted right through between the catalytic converter and the silencer.

"You know what you're going to have to do, don't you?", said Kitewife.

"Fix it?"

"No, write an Instructable!"

[Some of my more recent projects are now here.]

Step 1: Materials and Tools.

This is a fairly simple job (it only took me half an hour), but you do need some specialist materials:

  • Wheel ramps or axle stands. Do NOT attempt any jobs underneath a car supported just by a jack. People die like that.
  • Eye protection (unless you enjoy rust, dirt and toxic chemicals being dropped in your eyes...?)
  • Metal snips.
  • Jubilee clips.
  • Screwdriver (flat-head, to match the jubilee clips).
  • Assorted pliers, spanners and thumpy things.
  • Exhaust repair paste (available from any car spares store).
  • An empty tin can.

You should also wear appropriate clothing - spare a thought for whoever does the laundry in your home, and be aware that you could quite easily get un-removable gloop on your clothes. An old hat might help as well.

Step 2: Find Your Problem.


If your exhaust isn't snapped through, but is still blowing, then you will be able to hear it - your car will sound as if the engine gained an extra couple of litres.

If you can't see the hole, just move your hand along beside the exhaust until you feel the breeze of escaping fumes - feel along both sides, above (if you can) and below, but be careful, the exhaust pipe gets a lot hotter than you'd think.

Step 3: Inside or Outside?

Unfortunately, my exhaust broke at an odd-shaped bit which meant I had to fix it from the inside out.

I used the snips to turn the can into a sheet of steel, then rolled it up to be small enough to fit into the exhaust (be careful of sharp edges, both on the cut can and on the broken ends of the exhaust - tetanus jabs hurt).

I slid the rolled can most of the way into the steadier part of the exhaust, with only half an inch (1cm) or so sticking out.

I then pushed the other part of the exhaust into place, and slid the rolled can into that section as well, shuffling it a little at a time by grasping the rolled can with a wide-open plumber's wrench.

  • If the break had been at a straight section, I could have wrapped the can around the outside of break, locking it in place with a pair of jubilee clips.

Step 4: Fixing.

Although the rolled can completed the exhaust, and took the weight of the looser section, it was not secure enough to move the car, nor was it fume-tight.

I needed to pull the loose section up tight against the fixed section.

I put one jubilee clip around the loose section of exhaust, and threaded the second clip through the first, then around the protruding part of the fixed section.

Tightening the first clip provided a firm anchor point, then tightening the second clip pulled the broken ends tight together.

I then smeared the joint in copious quantities of exhaust fixing paste and left it to set.

Unfortunately, I have not found any tool more effective for getting the paste in the right place than the human finger. If you have sensitive or broken skin, you can either use a small spatula or stick, or wear gloves.

Once I was happy the whole thing was fixed, I snipped off the loose ends of the jubilee clips, to try and stop loose stuff getting caught under the car in future.

Step 5: Caveat

This is a bodge job. It is not a long-lasting repair.

It's not great engineering, but it cost about five pounds ($10) for the paste and the clips, and I borrowed the ramps.

That's a twentieth the cost of a professional job, and even less should the garage decide you need a whole new exhaust.

Add to that the fact that the car only need to last another six months or so, and it's the perfect solution to a problem which would have kept the car off the road for a week, when I need to get to work again on Monday.

3 People Made This Project!


  • Make it Move Contest

    Make it Move Contest
  • Oil Contest

    Oil Contest
  • Woodworking Contest

    Woodworking Contest

We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.


Use band iron witch is steel flexable straping comes in a rolled has holes for bolts ..i used it to support my tail pipe so i can weld the hanger...i also drove 675 miles with ot b4 the weld.its easy to work with



I've used a tin can, but found that cheap rolls of tin can be found in the
home improvement store where I aisle; used for wood
stove stacks great!!

1 reply

Aluminum siding ....felll off the house☺

#1 no your car will not pass emissions they use mirrors and look for modifications to exhaust such as missing cats.. #2 it works for a few weeks at most it heats up becomes weak and falls apart.
This is ghetto at best

2 replies

Jeep wrangler takes 1 hour to remove the exhaust from the cats back to tail cluding the cats....3 flanges and u bolt braket done

#1 It does nothing to your emissions - it's fixing a break in a pipe, not replacing the catalytic converter.

#2 It lasted until I eventually sold the car for parts - several months.

I am going to try to remain positive here but it's going to be hard. Yes this will help cut down on the noise that your car is making, it is the worst example of home car repair I have see in a while. Kiteman kudos for trying to fix it and I know it is not ment for a long term fix but see how many people are wanting to do this to pass smog tests and inspections. Not to mention this could cause more damage to the car or cars behind it if something broke and came off the car like the tail pipe. I know the point of all of this is to do a low cost repair but this is even pushing that. A better fix would have been to borrow a hack saw and cut off the flange and for about $10 bucks buy 2 exhaust clamps and a double flared patch pipe from the auto parts store and installed that and it would last for a couple of years and be a lot safer and pass inspection. Again this would be a temp fix for the side of the road but I would not encourage anyone to do this is they have time to either do it right or at least get a few basic parts. Hope I was not to harsh.

1 reply

In a pinch band iron and nut and boltz is wonderful holds well in the hot exhaust.takes 15 minuets tops

Hey Moderator,

My post was nice, positive and constructive. Why has it been excluded from this site?

could have just got a piece of exhaust repair pipe rented a welder and done a proper job. it wouldn't have cost much more

Kiteman, im new to car repair and was wondering if you felt that this method combined with Exhaust Bandage would work as a temporary fix reconnecting the exhaust pipe to the back end of cat converter? (Apologies if discription isnt the best)

5 replies

Without knowing details, my best answer can only be "probably", with a firm reminder that free advice from the internet can sometimes be worth less than you paid for it...

However, it was me, and I was trying to keep my car on the road until I could afford a proper fix, I'd do it.

92 chevy cavalier rust damage caused seperation, just trying to get like 3-4 temp fix mainly to make it more quiet till payday. Going to give it a shot. Thank you for the information you have provided bub!

It's what we're here for, thanks for the feedback!

Just figured id post a follow up. Can and clamp rig worked out better than i though it could! Car is back to being quiet again and not sounding like a derby car.

Awesome, article and a great way to fix the exhaust. HUGE thank you for taking the time to write, take photos and all that stuff :)

1 reply

And thank you for your kind words.

Thank you, Sir! Outstanding Instructable.

1 reply

Burned beans!! LOL