3 Things To Know Before Visiting A Custom Muffler And Repair Shop

custom exhaust

If you’re noticing weird sounds or smells when you’re driving, there’s a chance that there’s something wrong with your car’s muffler or exhaust system — but getting it fixed isn’t as simple as stopping by the nearest car repair shop. We’ve put together the warning signs that mean you’ll need to make an appointment ASAP, and how to look for the right kind of shop to address the problem.

Muffler Red Flags

Like the name implies, your car’s muffler is designed to muffle the loud sounds that driving creates. It’s also responsible for creating backpressure, which helps the engine run smoothly and efficiently. The muffler is part of the larger exhaust system, which collects, removes and prevents dangerous fumes from building up around and in your car.

The car exhaust system is made up of the exhaust manifold, pipes, muffler and catalytic converter. If this system is working the way it’s supposed to, you’ll experience a quiet, clean and comfortable ride. However, because this system is on the underside of the car, it’s exposed to harsh weather, debris and rough driving conditions that can result in corrosion, rust and holes. When these problems occur, they can damage the system and prevent it from working correctly.

Some red flags to look out for that might mean it’s time to bring your car in for inspection include:

  • Toxic fumes. If you’re noticing a burnt smell while driving or can see visible 

smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, you’ll need to make an appointment immediately. These are signs that the exhaust system isn’t removing toxic fumes, like carbon monoxide, from the cabin, resulting in a serious health risk.

  • Loud noises. Clanking, rattling or incessant droning are all signs that the muffler 

has stopped muffling noise. Not only is this unpleasant, but if it’s loud enough, you run the risk of getting a ticket for noise disturbances.

  • Decreased gas mileage efficiency. The muffler helps control the flow of exhaust 

and creates backpressure, which is the compressive force your engine needs to run efficiently. If the muffler is damaged, then the engine has to work extra hard to create the pressure needed, and this effort eats up fuel. You might also notice that the acceleration is suffering or your car is more prone to stalling.

If you’ve seen any of these signs, it’s time to bring your car into a local auto repair shop for inspection. But there’s a catch — what kind of shop you go to can have a big effect on your final bill.

3 Things To Know About A Custom Muffler and Repair Shop

While it might seem like all auto repair shops are the same, many invest in specific equipment and team skills so that they can specialize in different components of the car. Auto repair shops that specialize in exhaust systems and mufflers have several things that make them unique:

  1. A specialized shop can tailor repairs, instead of replacing the entire system. Mufflers and exhaust systems require special tools, equipment and skills for repair. If you end up at a shop that doesn’t specialize, they might not be able to service the individual components. This means they’ll have to replace the entire system, which is an expensive and time-consuming job costing upwards of $1200.

You’ll want to look for a shop that specializes in exhaust systems. The staff there will be able to tackle issues in a more targeted way, saving you time and money. They can machine, fabricate, cut and bend pipes to fit the damaged portion of the system, all for much less than if you got the system unnecessarily replaced.

  1. Specialized shops can offer aftermarket pieces (which also saves you money). Exhaust system parts, including mufflers, can be pricey when purchased from a dealership. Of course, your car’s make, model and needs will all factor in, but the average tends to be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to about five hundred dollars. You can save a lot of money by going with aftermarket parts, or ones created by other companies that are compatible with your vehicle. You’ll get similar quality and performance for a fraction of the price.
  1. Specialized shops can also do custom work. Because specialized exhaust shops have all of the tools and equipment to machine specific parts, they can even upgrade your system based on your own goals and performance needs. This probably won’t be something you’re thinking about if you’re focused on getting a specific issue repaired, but it still works in your favor. Auto technicians who do custom work are very experienced and know the ins and outs of the the exhaust system, so they’ll be fast, efficient and able to think outside the box when it’s time to repair a damaged system.

Finding the Right Auto Repair Shop

Once it’s time to bring your car in for repairs, the easiest way to find the right shop is through a quick internet search. Include the keywords “custom muffler” or “muffler repair shop” to get results in your area. Online reviews will help give you a snapshot into what the experience at the shop is like.

If the reviews are good, then give the shop a call and let them know about whatever red flags you’re experiencing. They’ll be able to give you a general idea about what the timeline and expense will be, though you’ll most likely need to bring your vehicle in for an inspection and a quote.

If you’re experiencing any of the red flags that means your exhaust system might be damaged, you should make the call to the shop as soon as possible. Not only are the toxic fumes a health risk, but the extra effort required by your car’s engine to work correctly can prematurely wear out its components — resulting in even bigger and more expensive repairs.

Shops that specialize in exhaust and muffler repair are staffed by experts who will be able to address your car’s needs quickly, efficiently and affordably. Before you know it, you’ll be back on the road and driving comfortably, safely and quietly.

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