Has your car started to use more fuel recently? Is the engine making strange noises in between? Well, we would have to say you are up for some muffler repair cost.
A muffler is an essential part of the exhaust system in your car. Unfortunately, it can show signs of damage or wear and tear over time that you need to cater to. If left unrendered, a faulty muffler can lead to much more than just muffler repair cost.
We have compiled for you a complete guide on the muffler and its repair process. We will start by discussing what a muffler means in your vehicle, its function, and its types. Then we proceed to the repair process and cost.
We end by discussing the scenario of exhaust system damage signaled by mufflers.
What is a Muffler?
A car’s muffler or a silencer is one of the essential parts of the engine. They are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system located at the bottom of the car. Since a vehicle’s engine generates a noisy sound when it runs, the muffler helps in diminishing the disturbing sound.
Mufflers are made of steel and coated with aluminum to keep them safe from the engine’s heat and pressure. If the muffler breaks in any case, your engine will be extremely noisy and generate tons of fumes.
A muffler’s role in a car’s engine is extremely crucial, and its damage can also affect other parts of the engine. In addition, an exhaust failure affects the overall performance of the vehicle.
How Does a Muffler Work?
Every part of the muffler designed is to muffle out the noise produced by the car’s engine. The clunking and the noisy parts of the engine can be pretty disturbing. The walls of the muffler absorb the pressure waves produced by the engine and reduce the noise to a certain level.
Muffler contains specific tubes and channels which direct gases and reduce exhaust pressure. It calms the engine by reducing the sound pressure emitted by the engine. The muffler is designed in a way not just to dampen the sound but also to combine sound waves and make them cancel out each other.
Types of Mufflers
Now you know it becomes essential to choose the right muffler for your vehicle. We have discussed here three major muffler types you should learn.
Chambered mufflers are known to reduce sound and ensure a throaty sound performance on the roads. These have inner chambers that help in reducing the sound waves.
When the sound waves enter the muffler via the exhaust stroke, they bounce against the chambers of the muffler. As a result, the sound waves reflect and cancel against each other, producing less sound.
The noise reduction capacity depends upon the number of chambers and also their size. You can even use sound-absorbing baffles or inserts with them to reduce the sound.
Turbo muffler uses a restrictive, direct path to eliminate the effect of the sound waves. It uses a set of perforated tubes to force the exhaust gases into a defined S-shaped pattern. The muffler then cuts out and dampens them. The S-shaped pattern enables a better flow of gases via tubing for better sound reduction.
It is suitable for average drivers who are looking for a moderate upgrade.
Straight through silencers are also known as glass-pack mufflers or ‘cherry bombs’ in the car community. The sounds in this type of muffler pass through a straight tube pipe. We cover the pipe with sound-deadening materials such as fiberglass packing. So, the pipe absorbs most of the sounds when they travel through it.
This muffler type is popular and more ideal for racing vehicles. In addition, the internal setup allows for gas flow through a less restricted area.
Even after decades, it remains a top choice among the car community as the muffler style is affordable and provides a unique car sound.
Signs That Muffler Needs Replacement
The muffler’s job is more than just reducing the noise of the vehicles. If the muffler starts degrading, it requires urgent maintenance for your car to keep working.
So how do you know when the muffler needs replacement?
Here we have provided you with few significant signs to look for while thinking of a replacement for your muffler.
1. Louder Exhaust Sounds
The muffler is majorly responsible for reducing the sound in the engine. So if you notice your engine is making a sound louder than usual, you know it’s time for a repair.
The engines start making rumbling sounds for various reasons, such as muffler must have got rust, holes in the pipe, or maybe a leaking manifold gasket. If you see your engine starts making a rumbling noise, you may also require professional help.
2. Low Fuel Efficiency
One of the reasons for a reduction in fuel economy can be due to the underperformance of your exhaust system, specifically the muffler. Your engine starts getting hotter when your engine is leaking and works harder. So, when the engine works harder, it consumes more fuel.
3. Banging or Knocking Sound
The banging or knocking sound from beneath your vehicle is something you cannot ignore. These sounds may be due to the reason that your muffler mount, which keeps it in place, has broken or loosened. That may even lead to the dropping down of the muffler from the car.
A professional should rectify the problem on an immediate basis.
4. Engine Misfiring
An engine misfiring is a clear indication that your muffler requires replacement. The misfiring happens due to an incorrect mixture of air and fuel inside the combustion chamber.
Other possible reasons for misfiring include worn-out spark plugs, a leaking vacuum, worn-out leak seals, or fuel injector failure.
It’s never a good idea to ignore issues with your muffler. The increasing problems only add to your replacement cost and can even lead to significant price payback on your vehicle.
Why Shouldn’t You Drive with a Damaged Muffler?
The exhaust system is a part of the engine that expels the unwanted gas out of the engine. Hence, driving your car with a big hole in the muffler is never a good idea.
Let us dig into a few details and reasons why driving with a damaged muffler can be a disaster:
Breaking the Law
According to the law of the Road Traffic Act 1988, one should not drive a vehicle in a dangerous condition and pose a threat to others or the environment. Moreover, if you ignore this, it can be a risk for other drivers and pedestrians.
So you can decide if you really would want to break the law and drive a car which will be pretty hazardous to operate.
Once your car’s muffler or silencer breaks, there are high chances of toxic exhaust fumes entering inside your car while you drive. Once the muffler and the exhaust system fail, the harmful emissions can seep inside the ventilators instead of getting expelled.
As we are aware, our vehicles emit carbon monoxide while we drive, and an excess of this gas can be fatal for us. You may inhale this toxic gas at a significant level, resulting in dizziness, fogginess, and even death.
Obnoxious Smell and Noisy Exhaust System
You might have noticed at times that vehicles may emit vast clouds of smoke and gas. This sign indicates that the car’s muffler and the exhaust have gone for a toss. Due to a leak or a broken muffler, the fumes need to be emitted out seeps inside the car. These fumes have a very unusual and irritating smell.
Driving with a broken muffler will also create nuisance on the road. Since the muffler dims the sound of your car’s engine, a broken one can make unbearable noise for others. In many countries, if you drive your vehicle that’s noisy and disturbs others, you may get a ticket.
Increase in Fuel Cost
A car’s muffler removes all the harmful fumes from the car’s engine. A broken muffler will lead to degradation of the fuel and also the car engine’s performance.
Since your car will emit more gas, you will end up spending more often than usual in the filling station. Therefore, it is always advisable to get the muffler fixed and have an efficiently working exhaust system.
If you drive with a broken muffler, it will pose a danger to you and the environment. With the emission of toxic gas and fumes, the level of pollutants in the air will eventually peak.
Let’s not forget the noise pollution as well that a broken muffler can cause.
Basics of Muffler Repair Cost
Now, if you are sure from the above factors that your muffler needs repair, let’s come down to the basic details of the cost. Of course, the exact cost depends on the dealer you are dealing with, but the average cost depends on some basic components.
Cost Components of a Muffler
The muffler cost depends on the labor used, parts, and the warranty period of the parts or the muffler.
- Parts: Depending on the type of car and the model, the cost of parts can vary a lot.
- Labor: Every dealer or auto repair shop has different labor rates. You have to comply with them.
- Warranty: Producers and dealers of the parts add extra cost for the warranty period provided. Although the price generally includes it, sometimes it can be separate too.
Total Muffler Repair Cost
After including all the components mentioned above, the total cost of the project gets computed. On average, repairing a muffler costs anywhere between $160 and $240 for a mid-range car.
Generally, with average and above-average muffler parts, the cost does not exceed this bar. Still, if you require some unique or rare parts for your car model, the cost might increase accordingly.
Besides this, if there is any other damage to the pipes or the exhaust system, muffler repair costs might increase significantly. You will have to spend on repairing those parts too.
Except for the monetary cost, there is another qualitative component of the muffler repair cost. The time required to repair it is also a cost to you. You might not be able to use your car for the required time.
Generally, it does not take more than an hour to repair or even replace a car muffler. Still, it might take up more time if the process is not done correctly or some other damage gets discovered. In addition, the unavailability of the particular part for your car might also increase this time cost.
Factors Affecting Muffler Repair Cost
Multiple factors determine how much you need to spend on your muffler. Depending on the degree of damage is only one of them.
1. Car Model
The manufacturing year of your car and its model impacts the cost largely. For example, depending on the need and capacity of the vehicle, a new muffler may get installed. Further, for some very old or rare models finding suitable parts might be costlier and difficult.
2. Choice of Muffler
There are three broad categories of mufflers based on your car. They are – universal, mid-market, or sedan quality and luxury. So naturally, their prices differ, and so does the quality.
A universal muffler is the most commonly available muffler, suitable for almost all models of cars. It costs around $25 to $50. Fitting them is difficult as they have a generic fit.
Then there is the mid-quality muffler, made for sedans. It costs around $50 to $125. However, it is a good enough quality muffler used by most cars today.
Then the last is a luxury quality muffler made for high-end cars. It is not readily available, and only authorized dealers sell it. It can cost around $300 to $500.
3. Choice Of Dealer
The choice of dealer majorly dictates the cost of labor used. High-end and expensive dealers or shops tend to charge a higher labor cost. Authorized and large-scale dealers might also include an additional diagnostic fee in your bill.
Most economical are the local and independently owned shops. They charge less and provide good quality service.
Although the large dealers charge more, they ensure the use of standard and authentic parts made for your car.
4. Repair or Replacement
Depending on the degree of damage, you choose to get the current muffler repaired or replaced. In replacement, you fit a new muffler in your car. While in repairing, the holes in the worn-off muffler get patched up.
Repairing costs less than replacement but is a temporary solution only. You will have to get it replaced the next time when repairing will not curb the damage. Using a patched-up muffler might not be suitable for the exhaust system as a whole.
5. Damage Level
It can happen you suspect only muffler damage, while there could be even more damage in the exhaust system or the engine. While you can replace a muffler at less cost, any further damage to the exhaust system will require additional repairing at more expense.
It will also take more time to repair those parts or getting new ones. Therefore, it is essential to regularly check your vehicle’s health to avoid more damage.
Reducing Muffler Repair Cost
A good-quality muffler has an average life of ten years. It can vary as per the use of the car. The maximum you can stretch using the same muffler is up to 15 years, with some repair in between.
So, in the end, you will have to get a new muffler for your car. Therefore, we have discussed some ways you can reduce this unavoidable cost.
Make sure always to get a muffler or other parts with a warranty from the manufacturer. It might seem expensive when buying, but trust me, it will be worth it in the future.
Most good-quality mufflers have a warranty of 10 years. Within this period, you can cover any significant damage to your muffler under warranty. You only need to pay some minor charges, and the muffler will get replaced free of cost.
2. Regular Servicing
Even if the muffler used in your car is of good quality, it needs some servicing over time. The muffler might clog, rust, or develop holes with use. In such a condition, the deterioration speeds up, and the life of the muffler reduces.
By being repaired and serviced regularly, the holes get patched up, and the dirt gets removed. That extends the use of the same muffler. The cost is minimal, and the extra use covers up all of it.
3. DIY Muffler Repairing
Another method of reducing the cost after being damaged to the muffler is doing it yourself. You can forego the dealer’s surcharge for his services this way. Instead, you can get the parts required and set them down to work with your car.
The necessary caution is to start with the process only when you have understood it well and have gathered the right tools. It is an easy procedure, but a small problem can cause even more damages and render all your efforts wasted.
The muffler repair cost is, on average, from $120 to $240 but can vary according to the model of your car and the parts you require. In addition, you need to be aware of any further damage the faulty muffler might be causing to your exhaust system. In such a case, a new muffler would not solve the problem.
With a good muffler such as the FlowMaster 44, your car is good to drive on the road.