Your vehicle's muffler or silencer isn't just there to lessen noise coming from the exhaust system. It's also built to improve airflow as gases exit the engine. Once this part breaks down, you'll most likely experience rough idling, decreased fuel economy, and loss of engine power. You'll also increase your car's carbon footprints because poor airflow inside the exhaust pipes can cause your vehicle to emit more gas than what's legally acceptable. So before this part causes more havoc on your vehicle, know the signs that indicate you need to get a new muffler.
Gas leak inside the passenger cabin
A not-so-obvious sign is when passengers start to complain about getting dizzy, headaches, and nauseous when inside your vehicle. Carbon monoxide, a toxic yet odorless gas, can easily leak into the cabin if any part of the exhaust system starts to leak. If all other possible exhaust problems have been ruled out, a busted muffler is usually the culprit.
Unusual or excessive noise from the exhaust
Excessive hissing, popping, or booming sounds coming from the exhaust system usually mean hole-filled mufflers. Do a visual inspection to confirm if this exhaust system component is nearing its expiration date. Rattling sounds indicate loose or busted baffles inside.
An exhaust silencer is designed to have a drain hole to deal with condensation. But if water is dripping from several places under it, chances are that this part is badly damaged and is in need of a replacement.
Black smoke coming out of the exhaust can stain the muffler, causing heavy soot to form on its surface. And when black smoke is coming out of the exhaust, it usually means something's gone wrong with the system. The usual culprit is a busted exhaust silencer since this part also helps in improving airflow inside the tubes.
Rust is your car muffler's worst enemy. In many cases, corrosion outside indicates a much worse problem inside. This is why small, rusty patches should be repaired as soon as possible. If this part becomes severely corroded, it won't be able to do its job anymore. And once the exhaust silencer goes bad, expect a lot of car trouble ranging from idling and loss of engine power. So before extreme corrosion causes more problems for the other components of the exhaust system, get a replacement as soon as possible.
Other signs you should watch out for
Small scratches and dents may not require you to get a replacement, but these things are worth watching out for. Keep in mind that dents and scratches can weaken the metal surface, making it more prone to holes and rusting. If you usually drive along rough terrains, be sure to regularly check the exhaust silencer for pings or dents that can lead to more serious problems when left unrepaired.
Engine overheating, although a sign of other possible car troubles, could also indicate a problematic exhaust silencer. To be sure, have a mechanic check the engine and try to eliminate other possible causes of overheating. Once all the other factors are ruled out, it's time to check the exhaust system and see if the silencer is still in good working condition.