The muffler is part of your vehicle’s exhaust system. The exhaust system routes fumes away from the interior of the vehicle, and the muffler expels them into the atmosphere. The entire system helps your engine maintain optimum performance and reduces pollution. One of the biggest signs your muffler is not working properly, is that your vehicle will be extremely loud while it is running.
If you are noticing that the muffler has become louder than usual, there are some safety concerns. Here are some things to know about driving with a loud muffler:
If the muffler has a hole in it, carbon monoxide can leak into the vehicle. This gas can cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches. If you are exposed to carbon monoxide for a long period of time, eventually unconsciousness and death can occur. If the loud muffler is due to a hole, the vehicle is dangerous to drive and should be inspected by a mechanic right away.
Many cities have noise ordinances that include how loud mufflers can be, which includes defective mufflers. If the cause of a loud muffler is not a defect, it is just loud, it may not be as dangerous to drive, but you may get pulled over because of the noise.
Signs of a broken muffler include a clunking sound while the vehicle is running. It is possible that a broken piece of the muffler may have come off and is rattling in the exhaust system, which can cause the clunking sound. If you hear an odd sound, have a mechanic take a look at your vehicle.
Inspecting the muffler can show signs of wear and defects as well. Check the muffler for rust or holes, which will indicate a problem with a muffler. If you see a hole or rust, have a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, replace your muffler as soon as possible.
Another sign of a broken muffler is unusual exhaust smoke. Turn the vehicle on and if you see thick smoke, this may indicate your muffler is not working properly. This can be dangerous so contact a certified mechanic right away.
Driving with a loud muffler is potentially dangerous. If your muffler is loud because of a hole, rust, or other defect, carbon monoxide may be getting into the cabin of your vehicle. Carbon monoxide can be dangerous to you and your passengers. If the muffler is loud for other reasons, it should be noted that most cities have ordinances against loud mufflers, and an unidentified defect may be causing harm to your exhaust. In any case, it is advisable to have your vehicle inspected for safety if you notice any loud noises coming from the muffler or anywhere else in your car.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With a Loud Muffler? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.