How to Report a Noisy Car Exhaust [UK]

report noisy exhaust

Last updated: August 28, 2023 at 17:27 pm

There is nothing worse than a noisy car exhaust. They’re loud, can cause vibrations, and cause terrible noise pollution. The good news is, there is a solution to this problem. By reporting any noisy car exhausts, you come across, you can help eliminate this noise pollution.

You may have wondered how to report a noisy car exhaust when you come across one, and we’re here to give you all the information you need to know.

How Loud is Too Loud?

By law, any cars produced past the year 2016 must be around 72 decibels (dB) in volume or less. The exact number depends on specific country laws, but the number is quite similar in most countries.

Any louder than around 72 dB is against the law in most countries. This level is set to reduce in a number of countries in the years following 2016, meaning cars will have to be less than the number stated above. This specific number is the legal level that a car exhaust noise can reach at the time at which it’s sold.

Along with this, it’s illegal to make any modifications to the car’s exhaust after the purchase goes through. Keeping this in mind, you may wish to report a noisy car exhaust in the future. There are a few different situations you may experience in relation to a noisy car exhaust so we will walk you through each one!

What Happens to Cars with Loud Car Exhausts?

If a car has a noisy car exhaust and there is proof of this situation, a few things can happen after the reporting takes palace. The vehicle can immediately receive a fine, the amount is dependent on the country, but again, is around the same amount.

In the UK, this can be around 50 pounds and the car in question will receive this fine immediately. Another action that the police can take is to order the vehicle in question to be taken off the road, effective immediately.

This action will be put in place until the car owner reduces their noise levels to the appropriate, and legal, level. The police may come across these vehicles themselves but it’s helpful to report any cars you come across with noisy car exhausts, to help the situation further.

An Entirely Random Situation

record exhaust noise

The following is one of the most common situations you may face in terms of coming across a noisy car exhaust. Drivers can face hundreds of fellow drivers on a daily basis. Chances are, as a driver, you’ll witness at least one car that has a noisy car exhaust.

The best thing to do in this situation is to make note of as much information as you can and report the car in question to your local council or local police. You should make a note of the licence plate number and any other relevant information belonging to the car.

This is a fairly straightforward situation, whereas you may experience a more difficult problem if the car in question belongs to a neighbour or someone you regularly encounter. We’ll walk through the ways in which you can address the above situation below.

Thinking of Reporting a Neighbour?

The noisy car exhaust that you come across may be closer to home than the above situation. If the noisy car exhaust belongs to your neighbour, this can complicate the matter somewhat.

Before reporting your neighbour to the police/council and causing future unnecessary issues with those who live nearby, you should try to sort the issue amicably between yourself and your neighbour. There’s a chance your neighbour isn’t aware of how loud they’re revving their engine, or how loud their car exhaust actually is.

Even if they are aware, they likely won’t want any run-ins with the police or local council, so it’s better to tell them politely what’s going on. This way, you’re giving them the opportunity to fix things before escalating anything to the police or council.

If this does not work, you can file a noise complaint to the police or your local council. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that!

Related: How to Make a Noisy Car Exhaust Quieter (5+ Ways)

Coming Across a Car Meet

Similar to the first situation, you may come across a car meet. When two or more car enthusiasts meet in a designated location to show off their cars, we call this a car meet. While car meets are completely legal and don’t necessarily cause any harm, this isn’t always the case.

Often, these car meets will result in the cars revving their engines loudly or even partaking in irresponsible driving methods which could end badly. If you witness this kind of behaviour, you should report the situation as stated above; report to your local police or council.

Not only are you putting a stop to noise pollution from the engines revving but you could also potentially be saving lives, as this kind of behaviour often leads to irresponsible driving in public places.

Why you Should Report a Car with a Noisy Exhaust

If you’re thinking of reporting a car in any of the situations listed above, it’s important to remember why this is a good idea. Not only is a noisy car exhaust a contributor to noise pollution, but the noise may be a result of revving the engine hard.

This usually occurs when a car is speeding, which is another reason why you should report this situation; to potentially save lives. It would be especially useful if you could get any video evidence of this, whether it occurs once or multiple times.

This will help you and the police/council in the reporting process.

What Comes Next?

In terms of reporting to the police, what happens next depends on what the local police are able to do. Most police forces will have access to a system that will determine how loud a car exhaust is. If you’re able to locate the car or give the police the licence plate number/ defining car features, the police will be able to track the car down and work from there.

If the car exhaust is over the legal limit, the police can fine the car’s owner there and then. Another possibility is that the police will notify the car’s owner of the issue and tell them to take their vehicle off the road until they fix the problem.

The Future

The issue of loud car exhausts and the process of reporting these cars may soon be a problem of the past. A trial is underway to help with this issue.

The government are hoping to implement noise cameras which will be able to measure the cars that pass them. In this way, they will be able to catch any cars exceeding the legal noise limit. The cameras will be able to read the number plates of the cars in question and even issue fines there and then.

While this solution hasn’t been fully implemented yet, they’re testing it out in various locations around the UK to see how it goes. If this goes to plan, you won’t need to worry about reporting a noisy car exhaust in the future.


The main thing to remember is that reporting a car with a noisy exhaust is quite simple, and the more information you’re able to pass on, the better. As the world progresses, technology does too.

Soon the responsibility may lay in the hands of the police cameras entirely, but for now, it’s best to report any cars you encounter with noisy car exhausts.

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About the Author: AJ

AJ is a self-confessed soundproofing nut. He has written full-time on Quiet Living for the past 4 years, and has a wealth of knowledge about living a quieter life, soundproofing and fixing loud noises.

1 Comment

  1. Hello…. I’ve been in Chelsea, Sloane Ave, for the past three weeks and I have heard more excessively loud brutally raw car exhausts than in the past ten years living abroad. That includes Auckland NZ, and Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and other places too numerous to mention. What is it about these people and the impotency of the law to deal with them?

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