If you (and your neighbors) are sick of your car roaring around your neighborhood, the problem is likely to be coming from the exhaust. Quietening your car down doesn’t have to be a major job; there are plenty of quick fixes which can help out significantly. There are also some more complicated repairs, which need to be undertaken by a professional, so it is a judgement call when it comes to deciding the right course of action for you. Obviously, you want to do this while keeping your vehicle’s performance in tip-top condition. Before you do anything, you should try to get a better picture of what is causing this exhaust loudness. The most obvious reason is that your car has a particularly old exhaust, but the issue may also be that the exhaust is too powerful. So, if you have an old banger or a suped-up supercar, the problem of a loud exhaust could well be the same! And, in fact, the solutions are also similar. The other main culprit of a loud exhaust is leaking. It is pretty straightforward to determine whether or not this is the case. All you need to do is park your car to see if there are any puddles or smoke underneath. Make sure you check on a flat surface with the brakes firmly applied. After all, your safety is paramount. Now, let’s go into more detail about those five ways that you can silence a car exhaust.
Fix the Leak
If the exhaust is leaking, the most logical thing to do is fix it. So, if you have discovered a hole in your exhaust pipe, here is what to do. If you discover a small hole, the material you will need most is a heat-resistant epoxy. The instructions on the packaging should make it relatively straightforward the steps you need to take. However, if you find yourself having to deal with a larger hole, you may find that this is not enough. A product like a muffler cement is likely to do the job more effectively, so buy a tube which is large enough to deal with the problem that you are facing. Before applying any products to your car, you should clean the rust off any spots that you need to treat. If you find that the exhaust is covered in holes, this is likely to be your cue to buy a new one.
Invest in a New Muffler
One of the most important parts of a car exhaust for keeping it quiet is a muffler. This is the part which encases the final part of the pipe before the opening. Its main function is obviously to make the exhaust quieter, but if it is not doing the job properly, it may be time to get yourself a new one. There are plenty of different mufflers out there which are all suitable for various vehicles, so take your time in choosing one which is right for your car. If you plan on doing the job of installation yourself, make sure you take the time to be sure of what you are doing. If you are not confident, it may be worth hiring a professional to take care of the task for you.
DIY Soundproof Mufflers
Your next option also involves soundproof mufflers, but this time, you can construct your own. Essentially, you are looking for a sound-deadening material which dampens down the exhaust noise as sound travels through it. A few different options include metal wool, steel scrubs, and fiberglass packing. Whatever materials you choose, they need to be heat-resistant. There are plenty of videos online which provide you with a good overview of how to do this job, but if you are not experienced, it is probably better off that you don’t try it yourself. Instead, you should enlist the help of a professional mechanic, or at least an expert who has worked on plenty of cars in the past.
Buy a Silencer
Another item which can help you to quieten down that overly loud car exhaust is a silencer. Essentially, these work by narrowing the hole which the exhaust noise has to travel through, reducing the noise. In terms of ease of installation, this option ranks very highly indeed. All you need to do is slip it inside the exhaust pipe and it is good to go. Make sure that you buy one which suits your specific exhaust. While this solution may not deaden the sound in the same way as some of the other options above, it is an easy and affordable fix.
Put in a DIY Silencer
The final option sticks with the silencer theme, but this one involves you using something homemade instead of something shop bought. Obviously, this is a method which you take on at your own risk. You will be able to find plenty of DIY fixes online, but some of the most popular include using a regular soda can, jar lid, or steel wool. While some of these may well be very effective, you need to understand that you are taking on more of a risk if you aren’t 100% sure what you are doing.
Other Tips for a Quieter Car
Well, that about wraps it up for tips to silence a car exhaust. But if your noisy car is still giving you a headache, there are some other things that you can do. You can try soundproofing the inside of your car. Obviously, this will only stop the noise reaching your ears and won’t do anything for the outside world! Some of the things which you can put in include soundproofing mats, sound deadening sprays, and more. A quieter car makes for an all-round more enjoyable driving experience, so take heed of some of the above pieces of advice to quieten down that noisy exhaust without negatively affecting the performance of your car.
- How to Silence Car Exhaust – Your Mechanic
- How To Quiet A Car Exhaust Without Losing Performance – Soundproofable
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. Whether your car is just used as a daily driver or if you are a car enthusiast and love performance modifications exhaust system noises can be very annoying. A leak in your exhaust system can come from a number of places and can cause varying noises that can be hard to diagnose. Knowing what to look for, and even what to listen for can assist you knowing if you have an exhaust leak and how to identify a problem. This can assist you in the repair process or at the very least it can save you some money by being an informed consumer.
Part 1 of 2: The purpose of the exhaust system
The purpose of your exhaust system is to provide a path for exhaust gases to leave the engine and make their way out from under the vehicle. This path is used to keep exhaust gases from getting into the vehicle so that they do not make you sick, and in many cases the exhaust system will make the expelled gases cleaner to prevent damage to the environment. All of these components also assist in keeping the exhaust system quiet. There are several components in the exhaust system that can fail and cause unwanted noises. Muffler: The exhaust system muffler is typically located at the rear of the vehicle. The purpose of the muffler is to quiet down the exhaust noise by allowing it to travel through varying chambers which smooths out the flow of the exhaust. Though the muffler is the main component used to keep the exhaust quiet, it is the main part that is changed to make a car louder should you want a high performance sounding exhaust system. The muffler can develop holes in it over time due to corrosion or it has welds or connections to the rest of the exhaust system that can break causing noise. Catalytic converter: The catalytic converter in the exhaust system is there to assist with emissions. It changes hydrocarbons into a much safer gas that does not impact the environment as much. The converter can make noise if it develops holes, if it has connector cracks, or if it fails internally. Exhaust pipes: The exhaust pipes connect all of the exhaust components together through connecting flanges or welds. Most exhaust pipes are made of steel which will corrode over time. This corrosion can cause holes to form in the exhaust or can cause cracks due to weakening of the components. Exhaust manifolds: The exhaust manifolds are mounted to the engine and provide a collection point for exhaust gases to accumulate when they leave the cylinder heads. The manifolds are connected to the exhaust pipes on one end and to the engine on the other. The manifold can have a bad connection causing a leak, the gasket sealing it to the engine can fail, or the exhaust manifold can crack and leak.
Part 2 of 2: What to look for in the exhaust system
When you suspect that there may be an exhaust leak there are several things that you can look for to identify the problem. If an exhaust leak continues without being repaired it can cause turn into a much larger issue causing more noise, engine running issues, and can make the driver sick from the exhaust fumes. Tools needed
- Hydraulic floor jack
- Jack stands
- Rubber hose
- Wheel chocks
Step 1: Park your car on a hard, level surface and apply the parking brake. Step 2: Place the wheel chocks around the rear tires. Step 3: Working on one side, at a time jack up the vehicle at the factory jacking points until it is high enough to get underneath. Step 4: Place the jack stand under the jacking point and lower the vehicle onto the jack stand. Step 5: Repeat step 3 and 4 at each corner of the vehicle until the entire car is high enough to get underneath.
- Warning: Once the vehicle is in the air it is important that you make sure it is fully secure before getting under it.
Step 6: Start your engine and inspect the exhaust for leaks. Visual signs of leaking exhaust: when inspecting the exhaust system look for signs of leakage. If there is exhaust leaking from any welds or connections it will usually show up as a black or white streak on the exhaust components. Hissing noises: The most common sound that comes from an exhaust leak is a hissing noise. It typically sounds like a small leak of air from a balloon. While the engine is running you can check all of the parts and connections of the exhaust for this noise. In many cases using a small rubber hose like a stethoscope will help to identify the leak. With one end of the hose to the exhaust and the other to your ear, you can move the hose around the exhaust until you can pinpoint the noise. Most small leaks can be repaired by tightening up loose connections or by having hose and broken welds re-welded. Ticking or knocking noises: When a large leak in the exhaust forms it typically sounds like a loud tick or knock. Most of the time these will occur near the engine or at the exhaust manifold. Check for leaks and cracks visually and use the rubber hose to pinpoint the leak. Loud ticking and knocking noises most commonly occur at the exhaust manifold as a result of a crack in the manifold or a leak in the manifold gasket. Your Check Engine Light can also come on if you have an exhaust leak. Leaks in the exhaust system can cause various sensors to read incorrectly causing the light to illuminate as well as causing engine drivability problems. Any exhaust leaks should be fixed as soon as possible. Small holes and cracks in the pipes and connections can usually be repaired by welding over the leaking areas. Cracks or holes in the manifolds, the catalytic converter in the muffler would require that those components be replaced. It is important to be vigilant of the hot components of the exhaust system when inspecting it as you can easily burn yourself. If you feel like this is beyond what you would like to do then you should enlist the help from a certified mechanic than can check your exhaust for you. The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our
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