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FAQs Concerning Mufflers
How do mufflers work?
The muffler attaches to the end of your car's exhaust pipe and uses "destructive interference" to disrupt the sound waves coming from your engine and through the exhaust. The noise travels through the inside of the muffler and comes out much quieter on the other end. High-performance mufflers can do this without restricting airflow, which can decrease performance.
What causes a muffler to go bad?
Rust is a muffler's biggest enemy. It creates cracks and holes over time, which compromises the integrity of the structure inside that actually muffles the sound. Drivers in wet, rainy climates should be especially conscious of rust on the muffler, even if it starts as a small spot.
Signs You Need a New Muffler
Aside from visible signs of rust, you'll most likely hear, feel and smell a bad muffler before actually seeing one.
- Noise - Nine times out of ten, a noisy muffler is a bad muffler. If yours seems much louder than it was in the past, it may be time to consider a replacement.
- MPG - If your car is feeling sluggish and you notice a drop in fuel efficiency, your muffler may be doing a poor job moving air through the exhaust.
- Smell - If you notice stranger-than-usual smells from your muffler, don't ignore it! A leak can cause exhaust fumes to be trapped inside which can be dangerous, so don't let a smelly muffler go unattended.
Types of Mufflers
There are three types of mufflers and which is best for your car depends on your desired balance between noise and air flow. High-performance mufflers, which add horsepower to the engine, have a lot of air flow but also make the most noise. The stock muffler on your dad's sedan may not offer much in performance but probably purrs like a kitten.
- Glass Pack Mufflers - This is a straight-through design (it looks like a plain tube) and the simplest type of muffler available. A glass pack offers a good balance between noise and performance and isn't likely to wake your neighbors when you drive home at night.
- Chambered Mufflers - This is a common design on most cars and uses several dampening chambers inside the muffler to reduce noise as exhaust travels from chamber to chamber. These mufflers have the rectangular shape you're used to seeing when picturing the typical muffler.
- Turbo Mufflers - This is what you want for performance and, despite the name, doesn't require even a turbocharger under the hood. Turbo mufflers use an s-shape inside the chamber to dampen some noise while maximizing performance.
How to Install a Muffler
Good news, most mufflers require no welding or complicated tools to install. But if you're still unsure with these steps, an Advance Auto Parts Team Member will gladly help.
- Park on a level surface and engage the parking brake
- Unhook the battery
- Spray with penetrating fluid so that you can unscrew the clamps
- Use an adjustable wrench or socket tool to unscrew and loosen the clamps
- Remove the old muffler and slide the new one onto the exhaust pipe
- Re-attach the clamp to secure in place (you may need new clamps if the old ones are rusted)
If your muffler is welded in place, you'll need a cutting tool or a mechanic's help to remove it from your exhaust.
Buy mufflers online or visit your local Advance Auto Parts store and have one of our knowledgeable Team Members help you.