Mufflers are designed to reduce the amount of noise escaping from your vehicle while in operation but also play a role in your car's performance. If a muffler is working properly, it is constantly clearing exhaust from the engine, allowing oxygen to be brought in and for the engine to work properly. Thus, a damaged or improperly functioning muffler can not only be loud but also affect how well your vehicle operates, driving down your fuel efficiency and reducing overall performance. Thankfully, there are a few early warning signs of a failing muffler that are easy to look out for.
Increased Noise While Driving
One of the most obvious signs that your muffler is failing is increased noise while you are driving. This can either be an increase in overall volume of all engine noises, or it could be single bumps, bangs, or other noises originating periodically. As soon as you begin to notice any sort of irregular noises with your vehicle, you should take it in to a mechanic to have the muffler and exhaust system examined.
Reduced Fuel Efficiency
You should take care to track how much distance you get with each tank of gas: most vehicles have a built-in odometer feature that can be reset to allow you to do so. If you notice that you need to refill your gas tank more frequently despite driving a smaller distance than usual and there are no apparent issues with your tires or engine, your muffler is probably to blame. Because the exhaust isn't being cleared quickly enough, air cannot reach the engine at the ideal rate, which means that the engine can't burn gas as efficiently as it needs to. Getting your muffler looked at as soon as possible can save you money in the long run by preventing your fuel efficiency from falling.
If you begin to notice a bad odor while driving, there may be a leak somewhere within your muffler system. Instead of costing your money or being an inconvenience, like the above two warning signs, a bad odor can actually pose a hazard to your health. The gases within a muffler system are highly toxic, and prolonged exposure can be extremely dangerous. If you do notice a bad odor, the best course of action would be to open the windows to ventilate the interior of your vehicle, and drive the closest mechanic immediately to have your muffler examined.
For more information, contact Highwood Auto Body or a similar company.