Engine Basics provides diagrams of exhaust systems that appear in standard cars. All standard exhaust systems start toward the front of the car and contain an exhaust manifold, Y pipe, catalytic converter, resonator and exhaust pipe. Exhaust systems end at the car's back bumper, where the muffler forces the exhaust through the tailpipe. The length and size of these parts differ depending on the size of the vehicle.
The exhaust manifold brings gases from the car's combustion chambers to the exhaust pipe. They are made of cast iron or steel and have ports equal to the number of ports on the cylinder head. Exhaust manifolds also have copper gaskets that keep gas from leaking as it travels through the ports.
The exhaust pipe connects the manifold and the catalytic converter. Two way catalytic converters minimize gas emissions by oxidizing hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and water. Three way catalytic converters act similarly but also oxidize nitrogen.
Mufflers and resonators decrease the sound associated with gas moving through the exhaust system. Gas travelling under pressure includes sound waves, and the muffler turns those waves into heat by forcing the gas through tubes and chambers. The exhaust exits the muffler through the tail pipe. Some tail pipes have a second resonator that further dampens exhaust sounds.