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Have you ever heard the noise a car produces when operating without a muffler? If you have, then you understand how much a muffler can influence the level of noise. A muffler uses advanced technology to eliminate the noise. Is the muffler in your car damaged? This article will come in handy to help you understand all there is to know about muffler repair.
How much does it cost to repair a muffler?
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The cost of repairing your muffler will depend on various factors such as the intensity of damage and the complexity of the task. If your muffler seems to be loose albeit functioning well, if you need to fix broken clamps, you may want to conduct small muffler repair professional who will offer the ideal guidance.
Small repairs on your muffler come at an average cost ranging between $30 and $500. Still, some people pay way less than the aforementioned rates. If you prefer getting a professional to replace your muffler, you will end up paying way more depending on your preferred type of vehicle.
What You Should Know About Replacement Parts
There are various types of replacement parts. You can either choose to purchase the original manufacturer produced replacement parts or simply go for the aftermarket parts which other companies produce. It’s worth noting that the former is more costly compared to the latter. Another factor that can influence cost is the person who executes the job.
If you’re working on a budget, choose small muffler shops within your locality which charge the least rates. Car dealership departments, on the other hand, are more costly. If other parts of your muffler system are up for replacement, you can prepare yourself to pay more with the average costs ranging from $1,000 and $2,500.
Common Muffler Problems
The cost of repairing a muffler depends on various factors such as the complexity of the exhaust problems. Here are some of the common muffler problems.
Blue, White, or Black Smoke Emanating from the Exhaust
Smoke will usually emanate from the exhaust. However, extremely thick or differently colored smoke can be an indication of problems with the car’s exhaust system. Often, smoky exhausts result from a warped or cracked cylinder head, a component located on the combustion chambers of your car’s engine which controls the flow of air and fuel and maintains the engine coolant. If the cylinder head is damaged, the coolant starts leaking in the hot engine causing huge smoke which is eventually driven out through the exhaust. The cost of repairing a cylinder head can be approximately $500. This price is inclusive of labor and parts.
Wheezing Sound from the Exhaust
A wheezing sound emanating from your vehicle’s exhaust system can be an indication of a leak or hole in the pipeline. If the leak is situated along with the catalytic converter, harmful gases will be generated in the atmosphere. Repairing your exhaust for this problem will cost anything between $125 and $300. However, the price could increase depending on the complexity of the problem.
A Popping or Rattling Noise Coming from the Exhaust
If your exhaust is producing a popping or vibrating noise as you drive, it could be because a bracket that supports part of the exhaust is loose. You can easily fix this problem if you detect it early at a reasonable cost of approximately $40. However, if you realize that the bracket is rotten, it could be an indication of a massive problem with the exhaust system in general. You mechanic could recommend an entire system replacement as compared to welding the bracket back in place.
Can you drive a car with a broken muffler?
The muffler is part of the exhaust system of your car and the entire exhaust system plays a major role in ensuring that your engine not only cuts down pollution but also maintains ultimate performance. If your muffler is extremely noisy, you should consult a mechanic. A poorly functioning muffler can raise various safety concerns as seen below.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
When there’s a hole in the muffler, carbon monoxide is likely to leak in the vehicle. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas which can cause nausea, dizziness, and severe headaches. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause unconsciousness and eventually death. If your car’s muffler system has a hole in it, you should desist from driving it and instead take it to a mechanic immediately.
Many cities across the world have noise regulations which regulate the extend of noisy mufflers, faulty mufflers included. Assuming your muffler is noisy albeit not faulty, driving it may not be dangerous. However, the police are highly likely to pull you overdue to noise pollution. To determine whether or not your muffler is faulty, you need to listen to any unusual sounds such as a vibrating sound in the exhaust system when the vehicle is running. When this happens, you need to call in the mechanic immediately and have him inspect your car.
Is Driving a Faulty Muffler Dangerous?
Yes. Driving your car with a faulty and loud muffler can be dangerous depending on the cause of the fault. If you notice any unusual sound or smoke emanating from your vehicle’s exhaust, you should have it inspected immediately.
How do you know if your muffler is bad?
A broken muffler will display various indications which will let you know that there’s a problem that may require replacement or repair of the muffler. Here are signs of a broken muffler that needs to be replaced.
Misfiring of the Engine
Technology has advanced greatly in recent years and the car industry has continued to evolve. Engines manufactured today are appropriately tuned machines and all components must collaborate to work efficiently and effectively. A vehicle’s exhaust system is one of these systems.
This system starts from the exhaust valve chamber located inside the cylinder head and flows through the exhaust headers, penetrates to the exhaust pipes, goes through the catalytic converter, the muffler, and goes out through the exhaust pipe. If any of these components is faulty or damaged, it can negatively affect the performance of the vehicle and even cause engine misfiring.
Condensation on the Exhaust Pipes
When the entire exhaust system is cooling down, moisture in the air thickens in the muffler and the exhaust pipe. The moisture settles there and slowly damages the shell of the muffler and the exhaust pipe. If this problem continues without the necessary measures being taken, the seams of your car’s muffler and exhaust pipe will rust away and gases will start leaking from the exhaust which results in increased noise.
If you notice excessive condensation emanating from the exhaust pipe more so during the warmer parts of the day, it could be an indication of a worn-out muffler. If you notice any of these problems with your muffler, you shouldn’t overlook them. Instead contact a qualified, reliable, and professional mechanic as soon as you can.
Can you get pulled over for having a loud muffler?
As we’ve seen above, muffler regulations vary in each country. In the US for instance, your car requires a muffler to be declared street legal. Further, each state and many local authorities and cities alike have regulations which prohibit excessively loud exhaust systems. Therefore, nearly every legally available car for sale comes complete with a certain legal street system. Still, many car owners may choose to enhance the performance of their cars by installing an aftermarket exhaust system. If you’re among them, you could be worried that your car’s exhaust system surpasses the legal noise levels.
What are the Regulations for Maximum Muffler and Exhaust System Sound?
Unfortunately, there are no national laws that exhaust manufacturers and vehicle owners can refer to ensure that their systems adhere to the permitted noise levels. Rather, each vehicle exhaust system installer and vehicle owner should be conversant with the laws within their locality. In California for instance, the maximum vehicle exhaust sound limit is 95 decibels when evaluated next to the vehicle.
The laws in Kansas are slightly lenient with the vehicle exhaust noise limit should be less than 90 decibels when evaluated 50 feet away from the vehicle. It’s worth noting that the further sound travels, the more it deteriorates. This means that exhaust systems in Kansas can be louder than in California.
Locals can Devise their Own Rules
The local communities in many of the big cities across the world can devise their rules that further limits sound levels. Perhaps many of them can borrow a leaf from New York City where drivers can be flagged down if the exhaust system in their vehicles is inaudible. The maximum legalizes exhaust sound limit is 86 decibels.
Today even as the world and city streets become congested, some cities are adopting rules to guarantee silence while preventing any excessively loud exhaust systems from running between 11 am and 6 am. Again, you need to understand that you can only measure sound levels using a calibrated decibel meter, a gadget that’s not featured in many police cars.
What to Do When Charged for an Excessively Loud Exhaust System
If the police pull you over and proceed to charge you for driving a car with an extremely loud exhaust system, you can easily challenge the case in court, especially if the officer who charged you never used a calibrated meter.
Understanding the Existing Exhaust System Regulations
As we’ve seen above, there are no noise level regulations. However, there are some basic regulations which apply to all vehicles in all the localities and states as seen below.
- Attempting to modify the existing muffler in your car to make it louder is prohibited. This law is in place to ensure that car owners don’t generate an exhaust leak which can be dangerous to humans and the environment.
- Removing the catalytic converter is prohibited. Some people opine that the catalytic converter limits exhaust flow which isn’t the case more so for new model catalytic converters in the market that are specially designed for performance.
- Driving a vehicle that lacks any type of muffler is illegal. Open pipes are illegal across the world.
- Backfires are highly against the law and you can be pulled over and charged, if the police notice that your vehicle has a mechanical fault resulting in regular engine backfires. Re-routing your car’s exhaust system via the passenger’s side of your vehicle is illegal.
If you own a vehicle, you need to understand all the exhaust system regulations within your locality. If a police officer ever stops you for violating these regulations, first ask them whether they’ve measured the car’s noise levels using a calibrator and if you establish they didn’t, you can use the evidence to defend yourself in court. Remember, the muffler is an essential part of your car and you should conduct regular maintenance services on it not only to ensure that it’s functioning well but also to prolong its lifespan. These tips should help you manage your exhaust pipe efficiently.