Keeping the Noise Down: How Students in a Mechanic Program Can Spot a Worn Out Muffler

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Due to its name, it would be easy to assume that the muffler serves a simple sound proofing purpose. It also has an impact on performance, however, which hastens the need for proper maintenance of this underbody component. The muffler is part of the exhaust system, which funnels gasses out of the vehicle. It’s in an exposed position, and therefore can easily suffer potential damage, whether from road surface debris or from rust caused by rainwater and salt.

Even well maintained mufflers usually need to be replaced every five to seven years, so this is a task which mechanics regularly encounter. There are numerous ways to spot a malfunctioning muffler, so here’s a helpful guide for up-and-coming car repair experts.

Ears Are Often First to Notice Muffler Trouble

Mufflers are designed to weaken sound vibrations caused by the vehicle when the engine is running. It’s only when this component is broken that you can realize how loud the combustion process truly is. Professionals who’ve emerged from mechanic schools should therefore be able to spot the majority of muffler trouble by judging the sound levels created.

Sudden or gradual damage over time can cause a hole to develop in the muffler. This creates a leak which increases the sound generated by the vehicle. Cars which arrive at a garage sounding like a tractor are therefore easy to diagnose with muffler problems. Even though this symptom may not seem mechanically troublesome, the loud noise will become an irritant to the car owner and those driving or living in close proximity to it.

Vehicles with damaged mufflers are much louder
Vehicles with damaged mufflers are much louder

Students in a Mechanic Program Know Malfunctioning Mufflers Reduce Performance

The muffler is a crucial part of complex engineering in the exhaust system that controls the release of gases from the vehicle. In turn, this allows the combustion process in the cylinders to function properly and release power to the wheels. Muffler damage negatively impacts this crucial process, and causes a variety of frustrating problems to the vehicle.

Reduced fuel economy is easy to spot these days because most vehicles have onboard computers that give a precise reading on litres consumed per 100 kilometres of driving. Muffler damage is one of many problems which can cause a drop in fuel economy. More seriously, it can also cause an engine to misfire, especially when decelerating. This reduces the power of the vehicle, and is potentially dangerous if it happens at the wrong time while driving. Muffler damage can also cause overheating in the engine, so watch out for warning lights on the dashboard.

Condensation on the Exhaust Pipe Can Signal Muffler Damage

Like so many vehicle components, mufflers have a limited lifespan, and water damage is particularly troublesome. Look out specifically for the prevalence of condensation on exhaust pipes after learning how to become a mechanic. When the engine has been turned off, air moisture contained within the exhaust condenses. This water can create rust in the muffler over time if it is not given an avenue to escape. Many exhausts contain a small hole in the base to release moisture, but rust damage may still appear over time. This is therefore a good way to spot if a muffler is worn out.

Look out for rust damage on the exhaust
Look out for rust damage on the exhaust

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