They can also be noisy, dirty and just plain annoying. In some cases dangerous, too. Which is why you shouldn’t mess around when it comes to your muffler. The good news is muffler problems are fairly easy to detect so you can get a move-on, get your car checked out and get your muffler problems fixed before they wear you out.
Your exhaust system is a collection of components — two major ones being the muffler and catalytic converter — that move dangerous fumes generated by your engine away from the engine and cabin. The exhaust system also reduces the noise your vehicle makes, improves its performance and cuts down on the emissions coming from your car.
Your muffler contains a system of tubes and holes that move sound waves generated by your engine around in such a way that they cancel each other out, reducing (muffling) the noise your engine produces.
Due to the location of your car’s muffler, beneath the rear of your vehicle, it can commonly be cracked or punctured if your vehicle bottoms out or if you run over obstacles in the road. Mufflers can also more simply be damaged by heat and rust.
Using a series of chemical reactions, your car’s catalytic converter transforms harmful emissions, such as carbon monoxide, into much less dangerous substances, like carbon dioxide and water vapor, before they’re released into the environment. Fun Fact: Catalytic converters have been required on all vehicles since 1975.
Even if you don’t notice any specific problem, it’s wise to get your car’s exhaust system inspected every year. Older model mufflers last between five and seven years while most newer vehicles come with hardier mufflers that can last a lifetime unless unexpected damage occurs. Most exhaust systems can go several years without needing repairs, but keeping your system inspected and in good working condition can reduce emissions and improve your car’s performance.
Engine noise – If your car is louder than normal, your exhaust system could be at fault.
Bad smells – Because your exhaust system is cleaning nasty stuff out of your car’s emissions, if it’s not working, you could smell some unpleasant — and even dangerous — odors.
Vibrations – A faulty exhaust system can cause your steering wheel, gas pedal or entire car to vibrate.
Decreased fuel efficiency – If exhaust systems aren't working as they should, your car has to use more fuel.
Noise when idling – If you hear a strange whining or rattling while idling, it could be your exhaust system.
Your exhaust system keeps your car running more smoothly, efficiently and safely, as fumes from your car’s engine can be dangerous to you and your passengers. It also helps protect your car — and the environment — from being damaged by emissions from your engine. And, let’s not forget, your relationship with your neighbors will benefit greatly if your muffler is doing its job every morning when you rev up your engine!
To keep your car’s all-important exhaust system functioning properly, you can ask the team at your nearest Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers to inspect your exhaust system at your regularly-scheduled oil change or sooner if you suspect damage.