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How to Replace your Car’s Muffler in 4 Steps

Automotive technicians frequently replace mufflers, and it’s fairly easy to notice when one needs to be replaced. When driving, you’ll hear significantly loud noises or rattling coming from the bottom of your car.

You can take your car to a muffler shop for a replacement, but installing a new muffler yourself is fairly easily and cost-efficient.

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To complete your muffler installation, you’ll need a jack to lift up your car, a wrench, different sized ratchets, lubricant, and possibly a hacksaw. When working under a vehicle, having a partner as a spotter is always a good idea. While not required, another set of hands can help by holding and passing tools and parts and also making sure that you’re safe throughout the process.

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  • Jack up your vehicle so you can slide underneath. Make sure your car is on level ground, your parking brake is up, and you’ve blocked your wheels, ensuring that your car won’t roll away. Locate your muffler, which is usually toward the rear of the car, and assess the situation.
  • You want to see if the pipes are bolted or clamped together and how rusted they are. If rusted, this is where your lubricants come into play. If your muffler is welded to the other pipes, you’ll need to use your hacksaw.

Step 2

  • Remove the clamps or bolts with your wrench or ratchet. Make sure to keep the clamps or bolts so you can use them when you’re installing your new muffler. Also, it’s important to hold up the muffler when you remove the bolts or clamps so the muffler doesn’t fall and injure you. (This is where an extra set of hands from a partner comes in handy.)
  • If your muffler is welded and you have to saw off the part, make sure to measure the length of your new muffler and compare it to where you cut off your old one. You want to have at least 2 inches of pipe on either side that will fit into your new muffler. If you fail to have this overlap, there’s a good chance of leakage, and you’ll have to replace your muffler again.

Step 3

  • You’re now ready to install your new muffler by slipping it into position. Pay attention to the indications on your new muffler to determine which side is the front and which side is the back. When slipping the new muffler into place, see if the pipe connections are as tight as they can possibly be. To reduce rattling, positioning the pipes properly before clamping or bolting them into place is a must.
  • When bolting or clamping your new muffler into place, make sure the muffler is tight against the car’s underbody and not hanging low to the ground.
  • If you sawed off your old muffler, your options for securing your new muffler including clamping or welding it into place. The suggested route is clamping it firmly so you don’t have to go through the welding process and you can easily replace it if another problem does occur.

Step 4

  • With your new muffler in place, you can test to see if you’ve replaced it properly. Start your car and drive it around a little bit and listen for any obnoxious noises or rattling coming from under your car. If these sounds do arise, you may need to further tighten your clamps and bolts or make sure that your pipe connectors fit correctly.
  • It’s also important to check for leaks, and if you find any, take the same steps to fix the problem.

If you’re interested in learning more about automotive repairs and how you can build a career as an automotive technician, download our free eBook, The 7 Mistakes Students Make When Choosing An Automotive Training School.


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