The muffler is a part of every vehicle’s exhaust system. It functions as a silencer, it reduces to the barest minimum the sounds that the vehicle emits. What if the muffler goes bad? Can a bad muffler cause loss of power?
A bad muffler, especially when the pipes have been damaged or corroded will cause the vehicle to experience a notable and evident decrease in power and the engine’s performance will decrease too.
What is a Bad Muffler?
A bad muffler is one that had most likely gotten damaged as a result of corrosion. When a muffler gets bad, it starts making loud noises, and most times, this is a result of a hole in the muffler.
The muffler’s function is to reduce the noise that comes from the engine but when it gets bad, it can no longer do this effectively, that’s what causes the loud noise that is heard as a sign that the muffler is bad.
The muffler also emits some bad-smelling fumes when it’s no longer in a good condition.
Normally, these bad-smelling fumes will be emitted out of the vehicle through the muffler, but when there’s a hole in the muffler, the fumes can get into the car.
In case you notice that your car is smelling unusually bad, and it’s not a result of leftover food or anything that you put in your car, you should get to a repair shop as soon as possible.
The exhaust pipe/system and a perfectly functioning car muffler contribute largely to the proper management and use of fuel in the car so when you notice that you keep making trips to the fuel station unusually often, you should check your car’s muffler to see if it’s still in a good condition.
Alterations in the condition of a car’s muffler can cause the overall performance of the vehicle to be reduced and can cause the engine to misfire.
When a muffler is bad, the air that is supposed to go out through the exhaust condenses inside the muffler and cools down inside it after driving. When this happens the cooled-down air would cause the muffler to rust, when it rusts, it will begin to leak gases.
What Causes Muffler to Go Bad?
Car muffler goes bad because of:
People who drive their car roughly and too fast would get a bad muffler sooner than those that drive reasonably and within the normal speed limit.
When the car is being driven and is at a very high speed, they won’t be able to slow down when they come across speed bumps, potholes, and any other object that they meet on the road while driving.
Exposure To Salts on Roads
Cars that are driven in snowy areas are more likely to get a bad muffler than the others. During the winter when there’s a lot of snow and there’s ice on some roads, salt is used on the road because salt reduces the freezing point of water and will not allow the ice to form.
When you drive around at this time, the salt from the roads can gather underneath the vehicle and these salts will cause the parts of your muffler that are exposed to the salt to rust. It could also cause the exhaust system to rust.
Symptoms of a Bad Muffler
Cars are machines that have engines that have been finely tuned in such a way that every part of the engine works together to make the car function perfectly.
The engine has several systems that have different components that work in them to make the car function optimally too.
1. Engine Misfiring
The exhaust system is one of those systems and when any part isn’t functioning well it causes the engines to misfire. Engine misfiring is one of the signs that indicate that the muffler is bad, it’ll be more evident when the vehicle is slowing down.
2. Loud Noise from the Exhaust
Another symptom is the loud noise that comes out from the exhaust pipes. This noise is a result of an air leak in the exhaust system.
This air leak is often found in the muffler, when there’s a hole in the muffler, air that hasn’t been muffled leaks out, and the sound coming from the exhaust increases.
3. Moisture From Exhaust Pipes
When the car has been brought to a stop and the exhaust system cools down, the moisture in the air will condense inside the muffler and with time will cause corrosion. Over time parts of the muffler will rust and cause an air leak.
Can a Bad Muffler Cause Loss of Power?
A bad muffler will cause the engines to experience issues when it comes to the performance of the car.
When a car has a bad muffler and it is replaced, if it’s not properly fixed or the replacement is not the right one, it will cause a power loss and not only does a bad muffler reduce power, it also increases the risk of a fire outbreak.
What to Do If Muffler Goes Bad?
Mufflers are not exactly built to be fixed when they are damaged. The only time that you can do anything to fix the muffler so it can still work is when there’s minor damage and even after the fix, preparations to get a new one should be in place. In case it gets completely damaged.
When there’s a hole in the muffler you can patch the holes up with an adhesive material that will stick to the surface of the muffler.
How Long Can You Drive with a Bad Muffler?
It is very unsafe and it’s not advisable to drive with a bad muffler because the muffler has a hole in its air that is supposed to go out through the exhaust(carbon monoxide) escaping.
This carbon monoxide can leak into the vehicle and it is very harmful to the health, it can cause dizziness, and headaches and passengers will get nauseous.
If people are exposed to carbon monoxide for too long, it can lead to people getting unconscious and death eventually.
In many cities, it is driving with a loud muffler can get you pulled over because some cities have noise ordinances and if the noise from your muffler gets too loud, it becomes wrong to drive through such places with it.
So once you notice that your muffler is bad, you should get it checked as soon as possible before anyone is harmed.
Can You Drive with a Bad Muffler?
No, you shouldn’t drive with a bad muffler. As reiterated earlier, if carbon monoxide leaks into your car, it can put you and anyone else in the car’s life in harm’s way.
One other reason why you shouldn’t drive with a bad muffler is that the effectiveness of the exhaust system is reduced.
When exhaust fumes are not completely removed from the engine, this will affect the car’s performance negatively and the rate at which the car is emitting gas is increased and it will also lose fuel economy.
As much as possible, it is safer to completely avoid driving with a bad muffler and in cases where it can’t be avoided, such cars should be driven to a repair shop for inspection as soon as possible.