The muffler located in the exhaust system of your car or truck has one specific job: to quiet the noise coming out of the exhaust system as the exhaust gases leave your engine. If the muffler is starting to get noisy, it is essential to take the car to a muffler repair shop or exhaust service center to check the muffler for damage or leaks.
If you suspect there is a problem with the exhaust system or your car needs muffler repair, taking the car in for an inspection of the exhaust system is an ideal starting point. The repair tech at the shop will put the car up on a lift, go over all the pipes and joints in the system, and check the condition of the muffler, the catalytic converter, and gaskets.
The exhaust system mounts and hangers should also be checked and replaced if damaged. They can allow the system to hang down and impact obstacles on the road surface, damaging the muffler and catalytic converter. Once the inspection is complete, the tech can go over any areas of concern with you and recommend muffler repair if needed.
There are several ways that the muffler in your exhaust system can be damaged. Water from the exhaust gases and collect inside the muffler as condensation and, over time, can cause the thin steel used in stock mufflers to rust. Often this takes time, but if you start to hear the muffler gradually getting louder as you drive, you may have a small hole that is continuing to rust and grow.
The muffler repair shop can replace the muffler for you and may suggest an aftermarket replacement part that uses heavier gauge steel for the muffler body to help extend the life of the muffler. Some alternative mufflers are made with heavy steel, are galvanized or painted for protection, or are made from aluminum or stainless steel that is less likely to rust.
An impact on the muffler body can also cause damage to the muffler and may require the muffler repair shop to replace the part with a new one. Often extremely tall speed humps, debris in the road, or traveling on many rough, unmaintained roads can cause impact damage.
When the muffler on your car needs repair or replacement, the muffler repair tech can usually take the old muffler off the vehicle and replace it without changing the exhaust pipes on either end of the muffler. In some situations, those pipes are also rusted and damaged, and then the entire system could require replacement to ensure it is working correctly.
If you are upgrading the muffler at the time of replacement, replacing the exhaust pipes under the car is a good idea, but talk with the muffler repair shop to get a recommendation before you decide what you will change.