Your car might look good on the outside, but if its exhaust pipes are leaking, then its style is for naught. Not only will exhaust leaks generate irritating noises, they'll also cause backfiring in the exhaust pipes. Because pipes are whole-piece tubes, the leaks most commonly come from the pipe connections. And what else are in those connections but gaskets? So if you don't want to be hassled, make sure each exhaust gasket is in good working condition.
Exhaust gaskets are usually made from asbestos, soft metal, or a combination of both. You can find them between the exhaust manifold and cylinder head, the manifold U-pipes and collector pipe, and the collector pipe and exhaust pipe. Unless they're welded and sealed permanently, such pipe junctions should have gaskets in them to ensure an airtight seal between pipes. Why is a leak-free seal important? It's because faulty sealing by the intake manifold sometimes ignites unburned fuel. That causes backfiring in the exhaust system, which is, of course, dangerous. Also, because exhaust gases flow forcefully, they create noise as they leak out through the fissures in the pipe connections.
So to prevent those leaks, you better junk those old and rusty gaskets and install new ones. A quality exhaust gasket won't cost you a fortune if you'll get it from a store that understands car owners like you. With no leak problems to pester you, you can then concentrate on making your ride even more visually appealing.