Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingExhaust System Muffler Repair – How To Fix (Exhaust Repairs vs Replacement)

Muffler Repair – How To Fix (Exhaust Repairs vs Replacement)

by Jordan Harris
Muffler Repair

Have you noticed a hole in the muffler and you are looking for a muffler repair? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be quite a bit to cover on this topic.

Doing your research on a problem is always the way to go. You just don’t want to replace components on your car. You can sometimes repair them. Especially when it comes to mufflers. A repair of these components is possible. And by doing this, you will save a ton of money. Since a repair on these mufflers is only a fraction of the price compared to replacing them.

You can check out our guides on the cost to replace the exhaust system, in addition to the cost of replacing the exhaust manifold to get more insight into how costly it can be. Although replacement might seem like the way to go. If you want to do a quick patch, you will be able to in this case with the muffler, just like a simple exhaust manifold repair.

And all this for a fraction of the price of buying a new muffler. But more on the repair, we are going to elaborate further down in the article. First, we are going to learn what is a muffler and what is an exhaust leak. Once we clear that out of our way, we will move on and learn more about the causes of this problem, as well as the symptoms of the problem.

We will also learn more about the diagnostics process, as well as the muffler repair and the cost involved in this type of work. So, if you want to learn more, follow along because there will be a lot to cover.

Car Muffler

Now before we dive into the muffler repair, let’s first introduce ourselves to the topic and learn more about what a muffler is in general. There are many people out there who have similar issues and want to learn more about the basics when it comes to problems with this component.

So, what is a muffler? Well, a muffler is a device that is installed on your exhaust system. Every car has two of these mufflers. The exhaust as you probably know is attached to the undercarriage of the car.

The first part of the exhaust is the exhaust manifold. This is generally a steel manifold that is then connected to the catalytic converter.

Muffler Repair

The catalytic converter visually resembles a muffler. But actually, it’s not. This is a special device that is used in order to tackle emissions. So, you should never confuse catalytic converters with mufflers.

Then, after the catalytic converter, there is the mid-muffler that is found in the mid-section of the car. And there is the rear muffler that is found in the rear of the car. So, you should know that there are two of these mufflers.

Nevertheless, the design is pretty similar between the two. Both of them are acoustic devices intended to reduce noise – unless you’re figuring out how to make your car louder. On the inside, there are compartments and pipes that go into this device that implement a lot of holes in them. And there is also fiberglass insulation to make sure that there are no sounds escaping.

These designs work really well to reduce noise. As well as NOx particles. Mainly because these restrictive exhausts create a lot of gas pressure. So, a lot of the NOx is neutralized. But what about muffler repair? More on that, we will cover it in a bit.

What Is An Exhaust Leak

Now let’s learn more about what is an exhaust leak before we dive into the muffler repair. Knowing what exhaust leaks are is really important for you as an owner. Mainly because these leaks can ruin the performance of your vehicle.

If you were not aware, water and other fluids are not the only ones that leak. Gases can also leak, air is gas, carbon monoxide is a gas, and so on.

So, the exhaust is basically a pipe that delivers the best performance if everything flows correctly from the start to the rear of the car.

If there is some kind of interruption between the manifold and the rear tail pipe, this will result in an exhaust leak. Hence, you might also hear that noticeable exhaust leak sound.

For example, a hole can obstruct the gas from flowing correctly. And in this case, you have an exhaust leak. Also, a situation when you have a crack on the exhaust manifold or broken bolts will also result in an exhaust leak.

But in this case, when you have a hole in the muffler, 99% of the cases are triggered by a hole that is located somewhere along the metal casing. Usually, these holes are found at the bottom of the muffler.

In this case, as we noted, you have an exhaust leak. So, your exhaust system will not behave as it did before the hole appeared. And you will notice some weird symptoms that we are going to cover in a moment. But is this hole in the muffler serious? Well, we are going to cover that in a bit, after we cover how serious this problem really is.

Is A Hole In The Muffler Serious

So, we learned what a car muffler is and what this component does. We learned that its task is not only to reduce the noise. But also to reduce the NOx pollutants that are released from the car. So, we can say that it is a really important piece of equipment.

But how serious is this problem? Should a hole in the muffler be something that you should be scared of?

Well, not quite. A hole in the muffler, especially the rear muffler will not significantly affect the performance of the car.

Usually, the most critical components that can fail on the exhaust are the exhaust manifold and the manifold bolts. The further to the rear the hole is, the better this would be and fewer symptoms will be noted.

But still, there are some symptoms that are very common and can occur when there is a hole in this component. And more about that we are going to cover in a moment.

The important thing for you when you notice a hole is to make sure that you look forward to fixing the issue.

We are saying this mostly because of your own health, as well as the health of the occupants that you drive on a day-to-day basis. If there is a hole, you are basically inhaling some of these toxic gases, and inhaling them is not something that you want.

There are many diseases in the respiratory system that can develop if you inhale these gases every day. That’s why you should strive to sort the problem out as quickly as possible. But what are the causes of this problem? Let’s elaborate on them before we cover the muffler repair process.

Causes For Muffler Leaks

Now that we know about the seriousness of this problem, let’s move on and learn more about the causes of the hole in the muffler.

When it comes to this problem the cause is always the same. And this is rust. Rust simply eats out the material and creates a hole inside the muffler. This is especially so if you’re looking at deep rust vs more minor surface rust. Hence, it’s crucial for car owners to learn how to prevent rust on cars, and consider the rust repair cost early on.

But there are some factors that affect this and we are going to elaborate on them in the following chapters.

1. Low-Quality Material

The first on our list of causes for the hole in the muffler that indicates a need for a muffler repair is the low-quality design that is used in creating this component.

And specifically, we mean this when it comes to non-OEM manufacturers. Aftermarket makers can sometimes cut corners here and there, especially if you get a cheap muffler.

You can expect this component to be built from low-grade steel that will simply rust on the inside and this rust will expand and create holes inside this component.

So, when you purchase an aftermarket muffler, make sure that you go for an OEM replacement or a muffler from a reputable company because the cheap ones do not last for a very long time. Now let’s move to the next cause of the muffler failure before we cover the muffler repair.

2. Salt On The Road

Next on our list of causes that can cause a hole in the muffler is salt. So, why salt? Well, salt is thrown on the streets during the winter months.

When it is snowing or there is ice, trucks are throwing salt on the road in order to melt the ice and prevent drivers from crashing.

And salt is very detrimental. Both for ice, as well as for the metal components of your car or truck. So, if you drive a lot through these conditions, you can expect a lot of this salt to stick to the undercarriage, as well as on the mufflers and exhaust pipes.

And if the muffler is too exposed to these contaminants, it will rust extensively and you will have to replace it with a new one. So, salt is one of the biggest enemies when you are dealing with bad mufflers that can require muffler repair. But more on that, in a moment.

3. Water Condensation

The next cause for a hole in the muffler and the need for a muffler repair is water condensation. So, how does water enter the exhaust?

Well, that’s a good question, this condensation is created when the engine is running and besides the carbon monoxide, there is also some water evaporation.

You have probably noticed how water sprinkles when you do a cold start in the morning. In other words, when you notice water coming out of the exhaust while idling. And all this can damage the muffler.

Let’s say that you run your car for very short distances and you don’t let the muffler get to the proper working temperature so the water will evaporate. In this case, this water will end up creating rust inside of the muffler and also consequentially, there will be a hole. And you will later need to do a muffler repair.

Muffler Leak Symptoms

Now that we covered the causes that can lead to a hole in the muffler. Let’s now learn more about the symptoms that are present when you have a hole in the muffler.

We feel the need to cover the symptoms since there are people who are not even aware that they have a bad muffler. So, we need to further elaborate on this and explain the main causes.

Once we clear the causes, we will move on to the diagnostics process, as well as the muffler repair procedure and what you can do in this case to fix the problem, at least temporarily. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Muffler Repair, Symptoms #1: Engine Misfires

Now let’s start with the symptoms that a muffler that has holes will produce. Let’s start with one that is very common.

And this symptom is the situation when you have an engine that is misfiring. So, what is the situation when the engine misfires?

Well, when an engine is misfiring it means that the engine is not working well. The explosions are not perfectly timed out. There could be delayed explosions, as well as premature ones.

And all this can be triggered because of an exhaust leak. Although a lot of people would think that this is not the case, in reality, it is.

When the flow of gases is not good, the car will start to misfire. This misfiring will resemble a ticking noise that will come from the top of the cylinder head.

Also, there will be some pops and bangs coming from the exhaust pipe. The flow of gases will be obstructed at some point and this would be causing the issue. In this case, you will definitely need a muffler repair on your car before the problem becomes more serious and spark plugs, O2 sensor, and catalytic converter end up damaged.

When plugging in an OBD scanner to diagnose a misfire, check out for these trouble/error codes:

Muffler Repair, Symptoms #2: Noisy Exhaust

The next symptom is far more common when it comes to a hole in the muffler. And this is the situation when the exhaust is a lot louder than normal. For example, when you notice that your car is loud when accelerating, more so than usual.

When you have a hole, there will be some of the gas will escape through this hole. And the bigger the hole, the worse it will get.

In the beginning, this sound could resemble a hissing noise. But as the hole expands, this loud exhaust sound will be more and more unbearable.

And eventually, your car will sound like you installed a straight pipe exhaust or fitted an exhaust straight pipe kit. In other words, you don’t have a functioning muffler in this situation.

So, if you notice a strange noise, you need to perform a muffler repair. More on how this repair is done, we are going to elaborate later on in this article. Now let’s resume with the symptoms.

Muffler Repair, Symptoms #3: Smell Of Exhaust Gases

Next symptom on our list of symptoms that indicate a hole in the muffler is the strong smell of exhaust gases (to a point where you’re searching up how to get rid of cigarette smell in car as well as how to get cigarette smell out of car).

And when you have an exhaust leak anywhere between the exhaust manifold and the rear muffler, a strong smell of gas will be a common occurrence.

What is bad in this case is that these gases can be dangerous for our health. If things get worse, you can even suffocate yourself if you don’t open the window while driving the car.

So, exhaust gases are no joke, you need to try to do a muffler repair and fix the problem as soon as possible. In order to avoid these repercussions that can come up.

Muffler Repair, Symptoms #4: Failing Emissions Tests

And the last symptom in our list of symptoms that indicate a hole in the muffler and a need for a muffler repair is the situation when you fail the emissions tests.

Yes, that’s right. If you do an emissions test and you take your car to the DMV to get it tested, you can fail. It’s equivalent to an emissions system problem.

The technician will notice that you have holes in the muffler. So, they cannot take a good measurement of how much your car pollutes. And this will mean that you need to do a muffler repair before you take your car back to get it tested. And more on the repair we are going to learn next.

How To Diagnose A Bad Muffler

Now let’s move on and learn more about the diagnostics process. How these leaks are tracked and discovered.

When it comes to finding these leaks, it is worth noting that they are always diagnosed by proper inspection of the exhaust.

Only by looking at the exhaust, you will be able to tell where you have a hole in the muffler and how big this hole is. Usually, wherever there is a leak, there are also black carbon deposits around the hole.

And here is important to determine whether you can repair it or not. If there are pinholes or a hole that is the size of 1 square inch or inch and a half, you can repair it. If the hole is bigger, this might require more extensive work and the removal of the muffler from the car.

This is why when you have too big of a hole, it is important that you a muffler replacement. Or, if you want to, you might even consider a full muffler delete (and figure out where to get a muffler delete near me). Granted, this process, depending on where you live, might be illegal.

Muffler Repair

Now let’s learn more about the muffler repair. What you can do in this case to repair the muffler on your car?

Well, on the market there are products that will help you tackle this job. For this purpose, you will need epoxy. JB weld will do the trick. But there are also more specific epoxies for this purpose only.

And using this is really simple, you just apply the epoxy on the hole and let it dry. In the video, you can see how this procedure is done.

You can also do a muffler patch and glue this patch with the epoxy. There are many combinations to do this exhaust leak repair. Here are some of the products to help expedite this process:

Muffler Repair Cost

Now let’s take a look a the muffler repair cost. How much money can you expect to pay in order to fix the muffler?

Muffler Repair

Muffler repair is not crazy expensive. The typical muffler repair cost, in this case, will set you back between $15 to $25 for the epoxy. And that’s the only component that you need for this job.

Muffler Replacement Cost

When it comes to how much for a muffler replacement, the costs vary. A cheap muffler will cost you anywhere between $50 and $150. The labor on the other hand is equally expensive as the muffler. Still, at least it’s cheaper than the cost to replace a muffler and the exhaust pipe, as you’re only dealing with the muffler.

So, in order to replace the muffler, you can expect to pay up to $300. This is why we recommend if you are dealing with some tiny holes, to try to fix the muffler before you decide to replace it. Mainly because you will save some money that you can spend on other stuff.

Muffler Repair: In Conclusion…

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to mufflers. First, we learned more about this component and what it does.

Then we covered the hole in the muffler problem and how serious this issue is on your car. Then we discussed the causes, symptoms, and the diagnostics process involved in solving this problem. Lastly, we covered the muffler repair and learned how expensive it is to do this repair on your car at home using some JB Weld epoxy.

FAQs On Muffler Repair

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

What Is A Muffler

A muffler is a component that is installed on your car’s exhaust. This is a special device that is designed to muffle down the noises that the car is producing. In other words, it helps quiet down the exhaust of the car.

What Does A Muffler Do

The muffler is a special device that is installed on your car’s exhaust that has the purpose of muffling down the sound that the exhaust gases are making. Without the muffler, the car will be obnoxiously loud. And you definitely don’t want this on a day-to-day basis.

How Do Mufflers Work

Mufflers have a few compartments that are usually connected with drilled piping. And around the piping, there is fiberglass material that absorbs the sound. This helps tone down the noise that your car’s exhaust is producing. That’s why these components are essential.

Where Is The Muffler On A Car

There are two mufflers in a car. One of the mufflers is located in the mid-section and the other is in the rear section of the undercarriage of the car. So, when you look for leaks, you should check both of these mufflers to find out where the leak comes from.

How To Fix Exhaust Pipe Without Welding

You can fix the muffler by cold welding it. This is possible nowadays with the invention of strong epoxies. There is JB Weld and there are a ton of other products that are doing the same thing. So, you should definitely try one of these products.

What Is Straight Piping A Car

Straight piping is a process of removing the stock exhaust and replacing this exhaust with straight pipes. Some people even consider straight piping to be a car without any exhaust. But we would disagree since this isn’t a car that you can drive safely on the road.

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