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Tech Talk

How to Know When Your Car Needs Muffler Repairs

Muffler repairs are among the most common jobs we get here at BrakeWorks.  One reason for this is that mufflers are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, which experiences a great deal of wear and tear over a car’s lifetime.

Yet without this vital component, you would regularly experience a whole host of problems, from lack of power to being exposed to deadly fumes every time you get behind the wheel.

What Mufflers Do

Mufflers perform three major functions:

1. They help to channel exhaust gasses out of the engine and away from the vehicle.  Your car constantly creates carbon monoxide, which is highly deadly to human beings, as a result of the internal combustion process.  To get rid of it, a part known as the exhaust manifold channels these fumes out of the engine, through a metal pipe, and into your muffler, which directs them under and away from the vehicle.

2. They help your car to run smoothly.  To operate properly, your engine relies on compressive force, which pushes the pistons down, which in turn drives the wheels.  The muffler helps to ensure that this process creates enough compression by regulating how quickly the exhaust gases flow out of the car.  Without it performing this important job, your vehicle would stall constantly, suffer from poor gas mileage, and have very little get-up-and-go.

3. They help your car run quietly.  Engines create a great deal of noise as a result of the mechanical processes going on within them.  Much of this sound is channeled through the muffler, which, true to its name, muffles it.  Without this function, driving would be very loud and unpleasant, both for you and for those around you.

How to Tell if Your Muffler Might Be Going Bad

Mufflers are exposed to a great deal of heat and pressure the entire time the engine is running.  Over time these forces cause them to rust and develop cracks and holes.  Those in turn make it harder for the exhaust system to do its job.  Here are some of the signs you may notice when this begins to happen:

1. Your miles per gallon (MPG) will begin to go down – There are many possible causes of poor fuel economy, such as clogged fuel lines, worn spark plugs, and bad tires.  However, sometimes the culprit may be a muffler that isn’t doing its job as well as it once did.  If you notice that you’re spending more at the pump than you used to (and if the price per gallon hasn’t changed), then you might have exhaust system problems.

2. If the car begins to sound louder than normal.  Most modern vehicles are designed to run quietly (exceptions include sports cars and other performance vehicles).  If you’ve noticed that yours seems to be getting louder by the day, then you may be dealing with a damaged muffler.

3. If you notice an objectionable odor coming from underneath the vehicle.  This may be caused by carbon monoxide escaping from holes in your muffler or exhaust pipe.  IMPORTANT NOTE: this is an issue that must be fixed right away!  Exhaust gases can be fatal if breathed long enough.  Every year hundreds of fatalities occur because of this problem.  Don’t let yourself become the next victim!

To encourage our customers to have these sorts of problems checked out, Brake Works is currently running a special on muffler and exhaust system repairs.  Here is an online coupon you can print out and bring with you to receive your discount.  We’re also running specials on brake jobs, tune-ups, and other types of work.  So come see us soon for all your local car repair needs!