The combustion inside your engine produces exhaust that must be expelled from your vehicle. Normally, the exhaust would make a loud noise because it creates a shock wave as it exits through the exhaust valve. A muffler is used to break up these sound waves as they leave the vehicle and greatly reduce the noise. There are a series of baffles inside a muffler that disrupt the sound waves and quiet the vehicle’s noises. Over time, however, the muffler can wear out or crack and will need to be repaired or replaced to prevent further damage.
Signs of Muffler Damage
A muffler that has even a small crack in it won’t be able to contain and break up the sound waves, which will result in the vehicle making much more noise than it’s supposed to. These cracks and other damage can be caused by some of the following situations:
- Rust can cause holes to form in a muffler that cannot be repaired.
- The muffler can be damaged if you have run over something in the road or gone over an area where your car didn’t have sufficient clearance. This could put a dent or a hole in the muffler that would require you to replace it.
- Exhaust fumes leave a film of soot inside the muffler that will diminish its performance over time.
Even if your car is properly maintained and cared for at all times, the muffler will have to be replaced periodically.
However, not every sound coming from the exhaust system is an indication that the muffler needs to be replaced. Sometimes portions of the muffler and exhaust system can come loose and simply need to be tightened. Making these kinds of small repairs to the exhaust system can save you the money that you would otherwise spend on replacing the muffler. A loose heat shield, broken exhaust hanger, or faulty exhaust clamp can all produce a banging or rattling sound in the exhaust but do not require the muffler to be replaced. You can tighten these on your own when the vehicle is cool, or any local muffler shop could quickly do it for you.
If you’re still unsure about your vehicle’s muffler, the best thing to do is stop in to see the expert mechanics at Paul’s Auto Repair in Jerome, Idaho.