Quieting a muffler without losing performance advantages may sound like a challenge, but once you know what to do and what to look for, the task becomes much easier.
Many silencers are made to make the muffler quieter, and you can even make your own if you so desire.
If buying a brand-new muffler isn’t an option, your next step is to find ways to quiet the muffler so that you don’t annoy your neighbors and make driving around more unpleasant.
8 Tips To Silence a Car Exhaust
- Determine Why the Exhaust Is So Noisy
- Repair the Leak
- Buy a New Muffler
- Soundproof Your Muffler – DIY
- Use a Silencer – DIY
- Buy a Silencer
- When Exhaust Pipes Are Loose or Missing Bolts
- Miscellaneous Tips for Quieting Down a Muffler or Exhaust System
- Heat-resistant epoxy
- Muffler cement
- Metal wool
- Steel scrubbing pads
- Jar lid
- Used soda can
- Soundproofing panels
- Sound-deadening spray
- Soundproofing car mats
1. Determine Why the Exhaust Is So Noisy
Before you get out your trusty tools and start working underneath your car, you should first determine why the muffler is making noise in the first place. Mufflers are generally noisy for one of the following reasons:
- Your exhaust is too old. This is one of the most common reasons for a loud muffler.
- Your exhaust is actually too powerful for your vehicle.
- Your exhaust is leaking.
- There are loose or misaligned exhaust pipes.
To find out if the exhaust is leaking, simply park the vehicle on a flat surface and check for any smoke or puddles coming from underneath the car. If either of these things is found, your exhaust is likely leaking.
2. Repair the Leak
Regardless of how serious the leak is, most car owners can fix it on their own. For smaller holes, a heat-resistant epoxy will usually plug them up right away so that the exhaust doesn’t leak anymore. For bigger holes, you might need some muffler cement. Not only does this cement do a great job of repairing the holes in your muffler, but it can also prevent holes from reoccurring in the future.
To start with, make sure you thoroughly clean all of the rust from the exhaust with sandpaper so that the surface is nice and clean and the holes can be repaired properly. In addition, make sure you always read all of the instructions first before applying the product on any holes in the muffler. Although most products work the same, some are different, and following the instructions to a tee is the only way to make sure you repair the holes the right way.
One more tip: if you inspect the muffler and there are tons of holes, you’re likely better off getting an entirely new muffler. It can be cumbersome and even impossible to repair that many holes, and it’s likely the muffler is beyond repair and unusable anyway.
3. Buy a New Muffler
In many cases – for example, if you have too many holes to repair in your current muffler – it’s less expensive and less complicated to simply purchase a brand-new muffler. When you start shopping for one, you’ll find a lot of different brands and models, but as long as you know the year, make, and model of your vehicle, you shouldn’t have any problems finding the one that’s right for you.
Once you purchase your new muffler, you can get it installed in one of two ways. The first is to do it yourself. With this option, especially if you’ve never installed a muffler before, it is recommended that you watch videos on YouTube and/or thoroughly read through all of the instructions in the user manual before attempting the job. If the muffler isn’t installed just right, it can actually be dangerous to have it in your vehicle.
The second option is to hire someone to install the muffler for you, and this is easy to do if you take your car to a certified mechanic or even a reputable car parts store. In fact, this is the best way to make sure the muffler is installed correctly right from the start.
The muffler is the part of the exhaust that you’ll find right before the opening, and its main purpose is to keep the exhaust a lot quieter.
4. Soundproof Your Muffler – DIY
One of the things you can do if you can’t afford a new muffler is to soundproof your existing muffler, which does work in some cases. If you want to do the job yourself, your first step should be to buy sound-deadening material for the muffler. This material is made to ease the noise that the exhaust makes as it travels through the exhaust system.
A lot of different materials can be used to deaden the sound that your muffler is making, including:
- Metal wool
- Steel scrubbing pads
Regardless of what you choose, the first step is to make sure the product is heat-resistant. If it’s going to be attached to your exhaust system 24/7, it can’t be anything but resistant to the heat found underneath the vehicle.
5. Use a Silencer – DIY
Many people, especially DIY enthusiasts, make their own silencer for the exhaust system and muffler, using materials such as the lid of a jar, a ball of steel wool, or even an old soda can. The main tip to remember with this endeavor is that unless you know exactly what you’re doing, this can actually be a dangerous job. Therefore, if you are not 100% sure of your skills, you should go ahead and trust the skills of a professional mechanic.
If you go online, you’ll find tons of videos and tutorials for making your own silencer, but you should execute this option at your own risk. It isn’t that it’s that difficult to produce your own silencer, but it does have to be done a certain way to get the right product in the end. That’s why you should trust a mechanic to the job if you have any doubts whatsoever about your ability to do the job right.
6. Buy a Silencer
Buying a new silencer for your exhaust system is easy and inexpensive, and there are no special skills needed to install it correctly. All you have to do is place the muffler inside of the exhaust pipe and you’re all set to go. A silencer works because it narrows the hole that the noise from the exhaust has to travel through, which in turn reduces the noise that is made whenever the exhaust system is in use.
If you buy your own silencer, keep in mind two very important tips:
- These silencers do not get rid of all of the noise coming from your muffler. They do, however, greatly reduce the amount of noise you hear when your car is in use.
- Make extra-sure you find the silencer that fits your particular exhaust system. Have this information with you when you go to buy your silencer because there are different silencers made for many different types of exhaust systems.
7. When Exhaust Pipes Are Loose or Missing Bolts
When you hear high-pitched sounds that sound like rattling, it usually indicates that a heat shield, which is found on the underside of the car, has come loose. On the other hand, a low-pitched sound usually means that either your exhaust pipe is misaligned or that a hangar is either loose or broken.
In these cases, try one of the following methods:
- Take the shield and reclip it to the body of your car.
- You can also weld the shield back into place.
- For a misaligned exhaust pipe, simply realign it and secure it with a brand-new hangar.
When you first get to your exhaust pipe, you can move it around some in an attempt to replicate the sound you were hearing. A lot of times, this will tell you exactly what the problem is and will therefore allow you to move right into the repair phase.
8. Miscellaneous Tips for Quieting Down a Muffler or Exhaust System
If the tips mentioned above don’t work, especially if the muffler is extremely loud, it could be that the problem is with your engine and not the exhaust system.
If you still believe it to be your exhaust system, you can try some unconventional techniques that include:
- Try soundproofing the interior of your car.
- Try a sound-deadening spray.
- Try using a soundproofing mat.
Keep in mind that these tips only help the inside of your vehicle become quieter and do nothing for the outside of the car where pedestrians and even other drivers can still hear the irritating noises.
Also keep in mind that many states – among them are Colorado, Oklahoma, and Nebraska – require that your muffler be a quiet one. They do this to reduce the noise pollution in the state and to keep the car safer to drive.
Finally, when you do go to buy a new muffler, you have to make sure it is a high-quality muffler because if it isn’t, you’ll simply end up replacing it again very soon. Mufflers made by reputable companies will cost more, but they will last much longer and work much better during their lifetime.
Buying a top-notch muffler helps you save both time and money in the long run, making this the best option for most people.