As cars and trucks travel down the road, they all have a different sound that emits from the exhaust. There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to the sound an exhaust makes: the design of the exhaust, the engine size, the tune of the engine, and most of all, the muffler. The muffler has more to do with the sound that the exhaust makes than any other component. You may want to change your muffler to get more sound from your vehicle, or you may want to change it to make it quieter due to a failure with your current muffler. No matter what the reason is, knowing what the muffler does and how it can be replaced can assist you in saving some money on replacing it.
Part 1 of 2: The purpose of the muffler
The muffler on the vehicle is designed to do just that: muffle the exhaust. When an engine runs with no exhaust or no muffler, it can be very loud and obnoxious. Mufflers are installed at the exit of the exhaust to make the sound of the vehicle much quieter. From the factory, some performance vehicles will seem to make more noise from the exhaust; this is typically due to its high flow design to assist in engine performance. There are two main reasons why people replace their mufflers.
To make the exhaust louder: Many people change their muffler to increase the sound of their exhaust. High performance mufflers are designed to allow for better flow from the exhaust, and have internal chambers that deflect the exhaust internally, causing more noise. There are a lot of different manufacturers out there that design mufflers for this application, and all of them will have a different sound.
To make the vehicle quieter: Some people will simply need to replace their muffler to repair a problem. Over time, it is common for many parts of the exhaust to wear out and rust. This can cause exhaust to leak from these holes, which in turn causes a wide array of loud and strange noises. When this occurs, the muffler will need to be replaced.
Part 2 of 2: Replacing the muffler
- Hydraulic floor jack
- Jack stands
- Pry bar
- Ratchet w/sockets
- Silicone spray lubricant
- Wheel chocks
Step 1: Park your vehicle on a flat, hard and level surface.
Step 2: Place the wheel chocks around the front tires.
Step 3: Lift the vehicle using the floor jack. Lift the rear of the vehicle one side at a time using the factory lifting points.
Lift the vehicle high enough so that you can easily get underneath it.
Step 4: Place the jack stands under the factory lifting points. Carefully lower the vehicle onto them.
Step 5: Lubricate the muffler hardware. Spray a liberal amount of the silicone lubricant on the muffler mounting bolts and on the muffler rubber hanger.
Step 6: Remove the muffler mounting bolts. Using your ratchet and the appropriate socket, remove the bolts that connect the muffler to the exhaust pipe.
Step 7: Remove the muffle from its rubber hanger by pulling on it lightly. If the muffler doesn’t readily come free, you may need to use your pry bar to remove the muffler from the hanger.
Step 8: Install your new muffler. Place the muffler mounting arm into the rubber hanger.
Step 9: Position the muffler. The mounting holes should be aligned with the exhaust pipe.
Step 10: Attach the muffler to the exhaust pipe mounting bolts. Install the bolts by hand and tighten them until they are snug.
Step 11: Lift the vehicle to take the weight off the jack stands. Using the floor jack, lift the vehicle high enough to be able to remove the jack stands.
Step 12: Remove the jackstands. Carefully lower the vehicle to the ground.
Step 13: Test your work. Start your vehicle and listen for any strange noises. If there are no noises and the exhaust is at your desired volume level, you’ve successfully replaced your muffler.
Deciding on the right muffler can be difficult, so it is important to research the one that you want and the sound you would like for it to make. Keep in mind also that some mufflers are only welded in, meaning that they need to be cut off and then welded into place. If your car has a welded muffler, or if you are not comfortable replacing your muffler yourself, a certified mechanic from YourMechanic can install your muffler for you.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Replace a Muffler and was authored by Robert Tomashek.