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How Do I Know When My Muffler Has Gone Bad?

Your car’s exhaust system is obviously an important part of what keeps the vehicle up and running. Many car owners may not be aware that one of the integral parts of this system is actually the muffler. While it is designed to muffle, or diminish, the loud sounds the exhaust system creates, it actually serves other important roles as well. The muffler is necessary to maintain proper backpressure in the system. Without this essential piece of equipment, your engine may not be able to run at peak performance. For this reason, it is essential that you replace your muffler when it fails.

Increased Noise

When a muffler fails, you are usually going to hear it before you notice anything else. The loud noises indicate the baffle chambers are no longer working properly, and thus are not able to effectively reduce the amount of noise the engine produces. This change in volume is usually not slight. Instead, it could be a drastic increase in noise production, so it should be somewhat easy to notice.

Smelly Exhaust

If you become aware of bad smells emanating from your exhaust system, it could indicate a serious problem with your muffler. The muffler is also responsible for taking the fumes from the exhaust system out and away from the vehicle. If there is a problem with removing these fumes, they could back up into your vehicle and become a potential danger to you and your family. To be safe, never ignore bad smells in your car, and consult with a professional as soon as you become aware of the unpleasant odor.

Decreased Fuel Economy

When a muffler is working well, your car should get the expected miles per gallon, as indicated by your vehicle’s manufacturer. If you find yourself filling up your vehicle more often than usual with no change in your driving habits, one of the first things you should check is your muffler. While many other things could be responsible for decreased fuel economy, the muffler is so important that it should be at the top of the list.

A Dragging Muffler

In some cases, a muffler is so damaged that it falls and drags from the hangers by which it is mounted. This is a clear indicator the muffler should be replaced so it can perform as it is supposed to.

Although it is largely an unsung hero with few people knowing its true value, the muffler is really an essential part of your vehicle. When you are presented with any of these situations, it may be best for you to act quickly to ensure your vehicle is kept in top shape.