Discussing Auto Parts And Repair Practices

3 Signs That It Might Be Time For A New Muffler

Mufflers do more than just regulate the amount of noise your car produces--they play a key role in the efficiency of your engine as well. Yet many people fail to recognize a muffler nearing the end of its lifespan. This article will introduce you to three important signs that it's time to get your muffler checked out. 

Odd And Unusually Loud Sounds

Sound is the most easily recognized symptom of an old or damaged muffler. To understand why this is the case, it's helpful to understand a little bit more about how a muffler works. Sound waves generated by your engine travel into the muffler's resonator chamber through the inlet tube. The resonator chamber acts to reflect these sound waves in a specific way that acts to cancel themselves out, thus greatly reducing their volume.

A muffler further helps to reduce the engine's volume thanks to its construction. The outer wall of a muffler's body consists of three distinct layers, which work to insulate and absorb the sound waves. Cracks, corrosion, and other forms of damage significantly compromise the muffler's ability to absorb and cancel out the sound. As the damage progresses, the sounds generated by your engine will seem to grow louder and louder.

Increased Smell Of Exhaust

Ideally, in a well-tuned car, you should never be able to smell some exhaust while driving. Such smells are a sign that your car has developed a leak in its exhaust system--oftentimes a hole in the muffler caused by corrosion. This leads to the escape of exhaust gasses, which then drift up into the interior of your car.

Because your exhaust system operates under a large amount of pressure, even a tiny hole can lead to serious odors inside of the car. This problem is more than just a nuisance. Exhaust gasses contain a significant amount of carbon monoxide, meaning that you could be at serious risk of poisoning--or even death--if you don't have your muffler checked out right away.

Visual Signs Of Rust Or Other Damage

If you suspect that your muffler may be compromised, consider heading beneath your car to take a closer look at it. Just be sure not to do this too soon after driving, as the exhaust system will still be hot enough to cause serious burns; it's best to let your car cool down for several hours.

Use a flashlight to inspect your muffler for holes, cracks, or places where the system does not seem to be adequately hooked together. Problems tend to develop at the manufacturing seams, such as where the inlet and outlet pipes are attached to the muffler. If you notice any signs of damage, have your muffler replaced by a professional at your soonest convenience.