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What is an Exhaust Muffler?
Maybe you’re not familiar with what an exhaust muffler is, but I bet you've heard a bad one before. You know when you're casually cruising down the street and all of a sudden you hear something that sounds like Harley Davidson, but it's actually a car zooming by?
That’s a car that’s had its exhaust muffler modified or removed completely. Yup. Pleasant sound, isn't it?
An exhaust muffler is a part of your car’s exhaust system and is responsible for limiting the sound your car makes. Because you probably want to be able to have a conversation while driving. And the people around you do, too.
The exhaust muffler is placed along the exhaust pipe, and reduces the sound of the exhaust that passes through it. There are two primary designs for exhaust mufflers. Reactive exhaust mufflers are built such that the sound waves collide with each other, lowering their volume in the process. Absorptive exhaust mufflers use materials to absorb much of the sound, and are more popular for sports cars, because they sound a little better and result in a higher-performance car. Many exhaust mufflers blend absorptive and reactive designs.
Although modern exhaust mufflers are quite durable, they get a lot of use, and they deal with extreme temperatures. So, you may end up replacing yours eventually.
Symptoms of a failing Exhaust Muffler
Your car is LOUD
Like, really loud. Annoy pedestrians and fellow drivers loud. Have to really crank up the volume on your radio loud.
Your exhaust muffler serves one main purpose, and that’s to keep your car from being too noisy. If your car is too noisy, it’s probably because the exhaust muffler is failing at its job.
Diminished fuel economy
While the exhaust muffler is primarily responsible for shushing your car, it is still a part of the exhaust system, and it plays a role in most of the things that the exhaust system does. One of those things is efficiency.
If your exhaust muffler is partially collapsed or restricted your car will likely end up getting worse fuel mileage than you’re used to. And no one likes that.
Poor engine performance
A collapsed or restricted exhaust muffler can choke the engine and rob it of power. In extreme cases, it may even prevent the car from starting.
One of the things that can happen to an exhaust muffler is it can become loose. When that happens, it will rattle and shake, and you’ll hear that noise from inside the car. It will sound like a chain fence in the wind, directly under your car.
Visibly falling off
This is a no-brainer. If you see your exhaust muffler literally dangling beneath your car, it's time for a new one.
How urgent is an Exhaust Muffler replacement?
It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes, a busted muffler can let exhaust fumes into the cabin of your car. And that is an obvious health hazard.
In other words, you should get it replaced soon. You may have diminished performance and fuel efficiency, and, seriously, nobody wants their ear drums blasted.