Learning how to fix a muffler can benefit you over time, as it’s pricey to replace this part of your vehicle’s exhaust system. Whether you’re looking for a permanent solution to an annoying tick or seeking a temporary repair that will hold you over until you make it to the shop, there are a few ways you can patch up your muffler without replacing the part entirely.
Why Are Repairs Necessary?
Most people want to understand how to fix a muffler simply because the noise bothers them. While it’s true that a hole in your muffler can give you a headache, you also need to consider the dangers posed by leaking exhaust gases. If there’s carbon monoxide spilling out through a hole in the exhaust system, the gas can seep up into your car, especially when you are idling in traffic. The effects of carbon monoxide can be extremely harmful, even if you’re just exposed to it a little at a time. For this reason, you should regard exhaust leaks as an important safety issue, as well as a general nuisance.
Heat Can Hurt You
When figuring out how to fix a muffler, remember that your exhaust system gets very hot. You’ll need to let your car cool down completely before you start any work. This extreme heat also informs the materials you can safely use when making muffler repairs — you’ll have to forget about anything combustible, like tape, rope or bungee cords. These materials may seem like they’d work in a pinch, but it’s dangerous to use them on your exhaust system.
Use the Right Product
Fortunately, there are specialty products designed to handle the high-heat environment where your car’s muffler operates. You’ll want to purchase a product like a muffler bandage, which includes a fiberglass patch that wraps around the hole in your exhaust system — be it on the muffler, exhaust pipe or somewhere else. There’s an epoxy in the fiberglass that cures when exposed to high temperatures, and it bonds the patch to the metal of your exhaust system.
To use a muffler bandage, you simply peel back the covering on the patch to expose the adhesive and then wrap it around the hole or split. Let your car idle immediately afterwards, and don’t be alarmed if you see a puff of smoke or smell something burning, as that’s just the adhesive curing.
Check out all the exhaust system parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to fix a muffler, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.