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Replacing a Car Muffler

Replacing a car muffler is not as simple or as small a job as just replacing the exhaust pipe, but it is still a job that many car owners can manage to do on their own. As far as car repair and maintenance tasks go, this is actually one of the easiest ones to do, which is something that tends to surprise most people who have never done this type of work before. There are some complications that can make the task tougher, such as rusty bolts stuck into place, but those who have a basic set of mechanic’s tools can usually get the job done without a ton of trouble and be off parallel parking in no time..

Removing an Old Muffler

Removing the old muffler is obviously the first step in the process. Get the car up on jacks or ramps and make sure it is secure to work under before you get going. Next, examine the setup of the exhaust system. Usually the muffler is held in to place by multiple hangers and attached to the rest of the exhaust with three or four bolts. Spray the bolts with a penetrating lubricant to help get them loosened and fight corrosion. In some cases you’ll need to give that lubricant quite some time to get working if the rust is really bad.

When you are ready to go, raise the muffler hangers and pull them off. Use ratchets or box wrenches to unbolt the muffler from its place. It is possible that lubricant alone may not be enough and that you might have to also apply some heat. If this is the case, use a simple handheld propane torch. Heat them up and immediately try to get them loosened. Use a floor jack to lower the muffler. Clean up the forward mating surfaces before going onto the next step.

Replacing a Muffler

Installing the new muffler is essentially the reverse operation of removing the old one. Balance the new muffler on the jack and raise it into place, and get it fastened to the forward sections of the exhaust. Use new nuts and bolts to get it securely attached together at this location using a ratchet or wrenches. Use new hangers to hang the muffler underneath the car. Raise it up as high as it will go with the jack, slip the hangers into place, and slowly lower it back down.

At this point the muffler is attached to the vehicle and is secure. You can remove the floor jack and work on any exhaust pipe installation or on attaching the existing exhaust pipe to the muffler. Once the whole process is complete, start the car and check the points of attachment for any leaking air. If there is a leak anywhere, the tension on the bolts may have to be adjusted. If they are firmly in place, the gaskets were probably not reinstalled properly. Pull the exhaust free and do it over again and recheck.

Once you get this all set and there are no signs of defective operation, you can completely lower the car and you are done with the project. Replacing a car muffler is not exactly a snap, because there are multiple steps involved and because there are potential difficulties that must be dealt with. However, this is a job that you can do if you have the tools and at least moderate ability as well as the time to devote to the job. Replace your car’s muffler yourself and save money on the job, cutting into the cost of auto repair for your vehicle.


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