Symptoms of a Bad Muffler: How to Recognize and Take Action

Almost every car these days has a muffler. It’s an essential part of an internal combustion engine where it reduces or eliminates the sound from an engine’s exhaust. There are some symptoms of a bad muffler indicating that it needs repair or replacement.

Bad mufflers are a common cause of car troubles. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as excessive noise, exhaust smoke, or poor gas mileage then it’s time to take action. Let’s go over the symptoms so you can spot them immediately:

What Are the Typical Symptoms of a Bad Muffler?

The car muffler is mounted near the end of the exhaust pipe to soundproof the engine noise. It has a perforated core with metal baffles inside, which breaks up and traps the sound waves to limit noise pollution.

How to know if muffler is bad? Well, watch out for these bad muffler symptoms to catch the problem before it turns into something serious:

Excessive Exhaust Noise

One of the obvious signs of a bad muffler. It is a sound-deadening device that removes the noise from the exhaust, not increases it. If you notice that the car starts to make a loud noise, it could be because of a malfunctioning muffler.

This might be caused by a clogged or corroded muffler or a cracked pipe. Check the muffler and exhaust system for any leaks, damage, or obstructions.

bad muffler symptoms
Excessive noise is the sign of a bad muffler. (Credit: kuanish-sar / PixaBay)

Low Fuel Economy

If you notice your car isn’t getting the advertised MPG or if it seems to be burning through gas at an increased rate, then this could be due to problems with the exhaust system and not just poor driving habits (although they certainly can contribute).

If your car takes longer to reach top speeds and you’re spending more money on gas than usual, then it’s time to take action. An engine that loses performance is indicative of a bad muffler.

A Strong Smell of Gas

A toxic smell of gas is one of the symptoms of a bad muffler. An excessive amount of fumes coming from the engine bay could signal leakage in the muffler, cracks within it, a damaged catalytic converter, and more. This issue needs immediate attention because the nasty gases can spread in the cabin and cause health problems.


Banging Sound Underneath the Car

What does a bad muffler sound like? A loud noise from the engine is quite common but it could also be a banging sound underneath the vehicle. If you hear this, check for a loose exhaust mount or a broken pipe. The banging sound could also be the result of the tailpipe dragging along the ground.

A Misfiring Engine

A misfiring engine is among the telling signs of muffler problems. If you notice that your car’s RPMs are all over the place, it may be due to clogged catalytic converters or other issues with exhaust system components. Misfiring can happen for many reasons and issues with the exhaust system are one of them.