What is this bolt that fell off the bottom of my '99 Honda Civic?
June 25, 2014 4:01 AM   Subscribe

Driving home from work, my '99 Honda Civic suddenly got louder and, in addition, stared making a tinkling noise. I parked to look underneath and saw that there was a bolt dangling from the middle of the car. It's about 9 inches long, still has a nut on it, and was attached at the other end to a rubbery, possibly oval-shaped gasket sort of thing. Any ideas on a) what this is and b) how much I can reasonably expect to pay to get it fixed?

"Gasket" could be the totally wrong word -- I have next to no car knowledge. I'm assuming it's not something I could fix myself, but I'm open to the possibility of trying it if it's something super easy and layperson-friendly. My attempts to google diagrams of honda parts have resulted only in dead links at knock-off Honda part websites.
posted by HeroZero to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Best answer: The exhaust has broken, sounds like it did it near one of the hangers that supports the exhaust to the underside of the car.

Guessing at cost is impossible without inspecting the exhaust. It may be something that can be bodged up (so replacing the hanger bolt/bracket and some exhaust paste and wrap) for about $30 or it could mean you need to replace both parts of the exhaust at that junction (at maybe $2-400?) or anything in between.

The only way to know is to crawl under neath (use proper axle stands) and try and fix it yourself or take it to an exhaust shop.
posted by Brockles at 4:20 AM on June 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: This is a known thing with Civics of that vintage. Be thankful that you weren't driving with part of the exhaust scraping along the road until you got to the nearest shop.

Based on the current repair to my '97 Civic that's been solid (touch dashboard) since that little incident, it may be worth investing in new parts and aftermarket hangers that are more durable than the OEM parts, as it's otherwise a hyper-reliable car.
posted by holgate at 6:00 AM on June 25, 2014

Best answer: Does it look like this or this? Note: google image searches. Honda bolts its exhaust system together (like so) and it will eventually rust or simply wear out. You can view a parts diagram here (from this forum) and my wild internet guess is that it is parts 12 or 13, loosing either would dramatically increase the amount of noise your car would make. The exhaust is primarily attached to the car via industrial rubber bands that go on those metal wiskers that are on various parts of the muffler and if that failed you would get the pipe hanging low or the muffler dragging on the ground.

The big issue is that this missing bolt could have come from near the front of the vehicle and this could allow a dangerous amount of exhaust to leak from the enter the cabin of the vehicle when you are idling or driving slow. So have it looked at. And be mindful that cheaper exhaust systems often don't last long.
posted by zenon at 9:03 PM on June 25, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all...I've had exhaust problems with this car before, but it always been a hole forming in the pipes themselves. The bolt thing was new to me.

Taking public transit this week and will get my car into the shop this weekend.
posted by HeroZero at 5:23 AM on June 26, 2014

Response by poster: Turns out, once they got it up on the lift, that there were actually 2 holes in my exhaust (which I saw), so more had to be replaced, and the bill ended up being $560. Car is running great now. I'll blame it on the brutal winter.
posted by HeroZero at 10:02 AM on July 6, 2014

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