Exhaust System Service Required See Dealer: How To Fix The Warning?

Your vehicle’s exhaust system may develop problems over time, and you may see the warning notice “Exhaust System Service Required See Dealer” on the dashboard, especially if you don’t maintain the exhaust system regularly. The most common reasons are exhaust system leaks, faulty sensors, damaged mufflers or catalytic converters, and clogged diesel particulate filters.

Exhaust System Service Required See Dealer
Exhaust System Service Required See Dealer Warning

Ignoring this warning can lead to problems that can be expensive to repair and pose a risk to your safety. In this troubleshooting guide, I’ll dive into the warning signs that indicate an exhaust system malfunction and how to fix the issue quickly. By the end of this article, you’ll understand the importance of regular exhaust system maintenance, ensuring your vehicle stays in good condition for years to come. Let’s get started!

What Does the “Exhaust System Service Required See Dealer” Warning Mean?

The “exhaust system service required, see dealer” warning message indicates that there may be an issue with the vehicle’s exhaust system, requiring immediate attention. It could be a sign of a leak in the exhaust pipe, damage to the catalytic converter, or a malfunctioning oxygen sensor, among other potential issues. The Dodge Durango, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Journey, Ram 1500, Ram 2500, Ram 3500, Ram 4500, Ram 5500, and Ram Power Wagon owners mostly face this issue.

The exhaust system in your vehicle is a critical component that plays an essential role in your car’s overall performance. The exhaust system removes harmful gases and fumes the engine generates during combustion and directs them safely away from the vehicle.

Ignoring this warning could lead to more severe problems, including engine damage or a potential safety hazard due to the buildup of harmful gases inside the vehicle.

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Warning Signs of a Malfunctioning Exhaust System

A malfunctioning exhaust system can cause various issues, including decreased vehicle performance, reduced fuel efficiency, and potential safety hazards. Here are some warning signs that indicate your vehicle’s exhaust system may not be functioning correctly:

  • Loud Engine Noise: A loud engine noise, especially when accelerating or idling, may indicate a problem with the muffler or other components of the exhaust system.
  • Decreased Fuel Efficiency: A decrease in fuel efficiency can be caused by various factors, including a malfunctioning catalytic converter or oxygen sensor.
  • Strong Exhaust Odor: A strong odor of exhaust fumes inside or outside the vehicle can indicate a leak in the exhaust system or other issues with the components.
  • Decreased Engine Performance: A malfunctioning exhaust system can cause reduced engine performance, including decreased acceleration and power.
  • Warning Lights on the Dashboard: If the “exhaust system service required, see dealer” message appears on your vehicle’s dashboard or any other warning lights related to the exhaust system, it is essential to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.
exhaust system service required see dealer ram warning
Courtesy: Rauul Castro

How Do You Fix the “Exhaust System Service Required See Dealer” Warning?

Diagnosing and troubleshooting the “Exhaust System Service Required See Dealer” warning in your Dodge or RAM vehicle can be challenging if you don’t have adequate mechanical know-how. Go through the following steps to get an in-depth insight into how to fix this issue quickly.

Check for Leakage in the Exhaust System

An exhaust system leak can manifest as hissing or unusual noises from the exhaust, a strong exhaust odor inside the cabin, or reduced engine performance. To diagnose this issue, perform a visual inspection of the exhaust system. Look for visible cracks, holes, or loose connections. While the vehicle is running, listen carefully for any unusual hissing or popping sounds near the exhaust, as these noises can indicate a leak.

If you discover any problems during your inspection, addressing them promptly is crucial to repairing or replacing the damaged components. Depending on the extent of the damage, this may involve welding, sealing, or replacing pipes or connectors.

Replace the Faulty Exhaust Sensor

You may have a faulty exhaust sensor when dealing with irregular engine performance, reduced fuel efficiency, and a check engine light. To diagnose this, take an OBD-II scanner, connect it to your vehicle, and retrieve error codes. Look for specific codes related to exhaust sensors, as they can help pinpoint the issue.

Next, check the exhaust sensor wire and connectors for corrosion or loose connections. If you identify that the sensor is defective, replace it with a new one that complies with the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the engine will run correctly and that emissions will be controlled.

Replace the Damaged Muffler or Catalytic Converter

If you notice a rattling noise from the exhaust system, reduced engine performance, or increased exhaust emissions, these signs may point to issues with the muffler or catalytic converter. Check these parts visually first for any apparent damage, such as damage, cracks, or rust. Listen for any rattling or unusual noises from the exhaust while the vehicle runs.

A damaged catalytic converter may also lead to a foul smell, resembling rotten eggs. See a qualified mechanic or go to a dealership for a comprehensive check if you suspect the catalytic converter or muffler may have been damaged. Depending on their findings, they will advise you on the necessary repairs or replacements to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and efficiently.

Inspect Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

If you encounter reduced engine performance, poor fuel economy, and increased exhaust smoke, it might be due to a clogged Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Start by visually inspecting the DPF for visible soot or ash buildup. If it appears dirty or clogged, it may require cleaning or replacement.

Many modern vehicles have an automatic DPF regeneration process, so drive your car at highway speeds periodically to facilitate this self-cleaning process. If regeneration doesn’t resolve the issue or the DPF is severely clogged, it’s advisable to consult a dealer or a qualified mechanic for professional cleaning or replacement.

Why Should You Service Exhaust System Regularly? 

Regular maintenance and servicing of your RAM vehicle’s exhaust system are essential to ensure optimal performance, fuel efficiency, and safety. Here are some reasons why routine maintenance is necessary:

  • Improves Performance: Regular maintenance can help keep your exhaust system functioning correctly, improving vehicle performance, including acceleration, power, and responsiveness.
  • Increases Fuel Efficiency: A properly functioning exhaust system can also increase fuel efficiency, saving you money on gas over time.
  • Reduces Emissions: Regular maintenance of your vehicle’s exhaust system can help reduce harmful emissions, which is better for the environment and can also help your car pass emissions tests.
  • Longer Lifespan: Regular maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your vehicle’s exhaust system, saving you money on repairs and replacements.
  • Improves Safety: A malfunctioning exhaust system can cause safety hazards, including the buildup of harmful gases inside the vehicle. Regular maintenance ensures that your exhaust system is functioning correctly, reducing the risk of potential safety hazards.


The “exhaust system service required, see dealer” warning message in your Dodge or RAM vehicle should not be ignored. A malfunctioning exhaust system can cause various problems, including reduced engine performance, decreased fuel efficiency, and potential safety hazards.

Regular maintenance and servicing can prevent issues with your exhaust system and prolong the life of your vehicle. If you see the warning message, diagnosing and troubleshooting the problem promptly is essential to avoid further damage.

If you are not a DIY enthusiast, I recommend contacting your dealership or certified mechanic. A qualified mechanic can help you identify the exact problem and provide the necessary repairs or replacements to safely get your vehicle back on the road. Take your time with your car – take care of your exhaust system, and it will take care of you.

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