Want to Become an Auto Mechanic? Look out for these Signs of a Malfunctioning Muffler
Mufflers are supposed to make driving a vehicle a more pleasant experience, but a malfunctioning muffler can be a significant inconvenience for vehicle owners. In vehicles equipped with internal combustion engines, mufflers are devices that serve to diminish the sound of the exhaust emitted by the engine. Internal combustion engines expel hot exhaust gas at rapid speeds, and without a muffler, this noise would overpower all other sounds while driving. Mufflers are acoustic devices which direct exhaust gas through several insulated chambers and passages, decreasing the volume of the sound pressure created by the engine.
Mufflers typically last around seven years, but their lifespan can be compromised by damage from road salts or frequent impact. When mufflers malfunction or become worn out, their ability to control the sound of the exhaust system is reduced, causing a number of problems for drivers.
If you’re considering a career as an auto mechanic, it’s important to know these common signs that a muffler might be on its last legs.
If the Engine is Misfiring, Those in a Mechanic Program Should Suspect a Muffler Problem
A vehicle’s exhaust system is designed to efficiently expel exhaust, allowing the engine to run without interference. As those in a mechanic program will learn, exhaust is expelled from the exhaust valve chamber, where it travels to the exhaust headers, then to the exhaust pipes, the catalytic converter, the muffler, and then eventually out of the tailpipe.
If the muffler is clogged or perforated, this affects the efficiency of the entire exhaust system, as well as the engine. If an engine is misfiring, this could be a sign that the muffler needs attention. Misfiring can be a symptom of an issue with an engine’s airflow, which can be affected by a malfunctioning muffler.
Bad Smells Inside a Vehicle? The Muffler Could Be to Blame
One of the most noticeable signs of a defunct exhaust system is a bad smell within the vehicle. A vehicle’s exhaust system and muffler are designed to direct exhaust fumes outside of the vehicle. However, if a driver notices a strong smell of exhaust while driving, this can indicate that a vehicle’s muffler isn’t doing its job. Over time, exhaust fumes can become trapped within a vehicle if the exhaust system isn’t properly emitting them. Breathing in exhaust fumes can be extremely dangerous, and if a driver suspects an issue with their muffler, they’ll need to take their vehicle to a mechanic right away.
Loud Noises Coming from the Exhaust Are a Sign of a Muffler Problem
If a driver hears a loud, roaring noise while they’re operating their vehicle, the culprit is almost certainly the muffler. Mufflers are designed specifically to reduce the amount of noise that a vehicle’s engine makes when emitting exhaust, but when damaged, these devices won’t be able to control the engine’s volume. Pre-muffled exhaust will leak out of a defective muffler, intensifying the exhaust system’s sound. If a driver complains of a loud noise whenever they drive, auto mechanic college graduates should check the condition of the muffler first.
Reduced Fuel Economy Can Indicate an Issue
When a vehicle’s exhaust system is functioning optimally, a vehicle will get the best possible gas mileage. If a driver notices they’re filling up their tank more than usual, this could be a sign that the muffler isn’t working properly. Mufflers boost the efficiency of a vehicle’s exhaust system, and damage could result in reduced fuel economy. Fuel isn’t cheap to begin with, so drivers will want to have their muffler checked by an automotive professional if they suspect a problem.
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