When Do I Replace My Muffler?

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Knowing when to replace your muffler is important, especially if you drive an older car.  A damaged muffler can cause your car to make strange noises and could even strand you on the side of the road; costing hundreds of dollars in the process.

Here are some definite signs that you may notice when you need to replace your muffler.

Excessively Loud Noise

The first indicator is what the car sounds like. Since you drive your car regularly, you know what its usual quirks are. If your car’s engine starts to sound louder than normal, you may want to have your exhaust system checked. The most common culprit is the muffler, but you should look for any damage in the exhaust system. In many older cars, the muffler can be replaced up to three times before the entire exhaust system needs to be replaced.

Smelling Exhaust Fumes

One thing that you should never smell while driving or waiting at a red light is your car’s exhaust fumes. Smelling your car’s exhaust fumes means that there is a hole in the muffler or a leak in the exhaust system. This is very dangerous since there is carbon monoxide in car exhaust, which can quickly lead to poisoning and death. The worst time is in the winter because we use the heater in our cars, which allows more carbon monoxide into the car. If you ever smell car exhaust from your car, you should take it to your repair shop as soon as possible.

Check the Pipes

If you are worried that your muffler or exhaust is damaged, you may want to look at the entire system. You should wait for a few hours after driving your car to check it, as the system will be very hot and can cause major burns. To check the system, start at your car’s tail pipe, and work towards the front of the car. You are looking for any holes or splits.

Most often, leaks happen near the seams. There is, however, a chance that the leak is in the engine, which would make it difficult to find. If you are not sure what you are looking for, or do not have the proper equipment to be under your car safely, you should take your car to a repair shop.

If you know that your car’s exhaust system is starting to fail, you should have it fixed immediately. If you get the car in for repair early, you could have the holes and splits welded closed, costing less. However, if the hole is larger than a pinhole, you will need the whole section replaced by a qualified professional.