As we watch the odometers on our cars rise we can expect to replace parts due to general wear and tear, particularly tires and brakes. Mufflers are no exception. Although the life of a car can vary depending on care and environmental conditions, they are designed to last about ten years or 150,000 miles. The average life of a muffler is about 100,000 miles. This average is significantly decreased in geographic locations where roads are sprayed with a treatment to improve winter driving conditions as the salt used in the treatment increases the chance of corrosion. There is no doubt that a muffler will need to be replaced at some point of the car’s life. Driving a vehicle, which needs to have the muffler replaced, has economic as well as safety consequences. A vehicle with a bad muffler can use twice the gas it should. Deterioration of the exhaust system may occur over time, so you may not be aware of the subtle changes on a day-to-day basis. If you notice an issue with the muffler, make sure to bring it in as soon as you can so we can inspect it for you.
Odd noises the vehicle might make
First, start checking your muffler by starting the engine. Notice any loud noise it might make. Mufflers are part of the vehicle’s exhaust system, which is designed to optimize airflow. Flowing air that is disrupted will make noise and, if not corrected, the noise is likely to increase over time. Also pay close attention to where the noise coming from. Muffler noise will typically come from the middle to the rear of the vehicle. If the noise is coming from the front of the vehicle, the noise may be coming from something other than the muffler.
Black Soot should be looked for
Cars with bad mufflers will have black or blue exhaust smoke coming from the tailpipe when the engine is started. Looking in the exhaust system in the middle to rear of the car, inspect for black soot marks on the muffler. Black soot is indicative of a bad muffler that should be replaced. If you are unsure about an issue with the muffler, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. We can inspect the parts and the vehicle for you so it is running at top performance levels. If you notice anything out of the norm, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.
Noticing a strange smell
Ask a friend or neighbor to weigh in their opinion as well as exhaust may inappropriately flow into the passenger areas, thus cars in need of new mufflers may smell slightly of smoke or gas. If you cannot smell anything but suspect there is an exhaust issue, note if passengers display allergy-type symptoms such as watery eyes and coughing. Excessive sleepiness may occur as well. Infants and elderly are especially susceptible to the toxins in the exhaust. Make sure to bring the vehicle in, and we can inspect the muffler for you.