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Those who drive sports cars or SUVs will know how dirty exhaust tips can get. Aftermarket exhausts tend to be worse as these tips can get very hot, are often exposed to flames, and can turn a cloudy grey to dark black colour pretty quickly. The black soot you may have noticed are called hydrocarbons and normally result from engine combustion. These hydrocarbons should be cleaned on a regular basis.
How to clean your exhaust tips
Start by using soap and water to remove any dirt, brake dust, or other substance that can be removed from using soap and water alone.
A good idea is to use two buckets of water, one of which is dedicated to cleaning wheels that you don't also use for washing paint.
Use an old washing flannel, towel or microfibre cloth if you have one, and just make sure not to contact your vehicle's paint with any item that contains the black soot.
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How to clean your exhaust tips – guide to keep your car exhaust clean (Image: GETTY)
How to clean your exhaust tips – Tips often get filthy without the drivers even noticing (Image: GETTY)
During the first step, the goal is to remove as much dirt and grime as you possible can.
To start with, you can even use a wheel degreaser with a tyre brush to clean inside the exhaust pipes.
After you've applied soap and degreaser to the tip, simply rinse with water, dry it with a towel and you can start on the next step.
Your pipes may look slightly cloudy or hazy due to the oxidisation through the process, but it's nothing a light metal polish can't fix.
How to clean your exhaust tips – Those who drive sports cars or SUVs will know how dirty exhaust tips can get (Image: GETTY)
If you have a lot of carbon buildup or scratches, applying light pressure using steel wool after degreasing the pipes is your best bet.
The steel wool can help remove scratches that metal polish alone can't manage.
Most polishes contain mild abrasive products which are able to remove light scratches or build-up, but if you've never done it before and they're exceptionally dirty, stick to steel wool.
Anytime you use something aggressive like steel wool in the car, you should follow up with a metal polish.
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How to clean your exhaust tips – Simple tips for cleaning your exhaust (Image: GETTY)
The polish will be able to remove scratches left by the steel wool and any leftover carbon buildup.
However, if you have black or painted exhaust tips, don't use metal polish or steel wool.
In fact, you're advised against using anything abrasive as this could scratch the paintwork off, leaving a bigger problem behind.
Instead, just use soap, water and a degreaser.
Avoid using brushes, abrasive polishes and anything which could disrupt a matte or black finish.
The next step is to protect your exhaust tips using a wheel sealant.
While this step isn't mandatory, it's something you might want to consider to protect the exhaust's tips for as long as possible.
Polishing will still be necessary from time-to-time, but adding a layer of protection is never a bad idea.
If none of this has worked and your exhaust pipes are beyond the point of restoration, you can buy replacement tips from eBay and Amazon, among other places.
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