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How to Change Your Muffler

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Your muffler’s job is to minimize the force and noise created by your engine. And unless you want your vehicle to sound like a piece of farm equipment, you have to replace the muffler when it begins to go bad. In most cases, problems will be readily apparent, such as a loss in power or loud noise coming from the muffler. But in some cases, the signs may not be so dramatic. If you can't remember the last time you changed your muffler and you’re up to doing the job yourself, here’s how.


These are general instructions and may not be applicable to every make, model and year. Before beginning any maintenance on your vehicle, always consult your owner’s manual for additional instructions and safety precautions.

Step 1:

Start by raising the car, safely supporting the weight of the vehicle on a lift, floor jack or ramps. Never crawl under a car that is only supported by a jack. In doing so, you’re just asking for trouble.

Step 2:

Locate the muffler. Typically, it attaches to the body of the vehicle with rubber muffler hangers and is mounted onto the exhaust system with bolts (usually 3-4 per pipe).

Step 3:

Spray the bolts with penetrating lubricant, such as PB Blaster or WD-40, tapping the flanges that hold the bolts with a hammer or wrench to allow the lubricant to work its way into the corrosion. Depending on the severity of the rust, let it sit for up to 24 hours to allow the lubricant to work. Less rust equal less wait time.

Step 4:

Use a floor jack to reduce tension on the muffler and raise it from its mounting posting, pulling it free of the hangers with your hands.

Step 5:

Unbolt the muffler and lower it with the floor jack, making sure it’s balanced to avoid it falling on top of you. Truck mufflers, and those like them, are heavy enough to do some pretty serious damage if they catch you in the face. After lowering the muffler, the gaskets that seal the two sections of exhaust should fall free. If not, tap them with a hammer to dislodge them.

Step 6:

Clean the forward mating surfaces of the exhaust with some automotive cleaner on a fresh rag, prepping them for reinstallation. At the same time, create slack within the muffler hanger brackets by loosening the bolt that holds them in place.

Step 7:

Now it’s time to install the new muffler. Balancing it on the floor jack, raise it until you can easily fasten it to the forward sections of the exhaust system and attach it with the new nuts and bolts provided. Don’t use the old fastening hardware, even if it looks passable. And don’t forget to place the replacement gaskets between the two sections of exhaust before tightening everything down.

Step 8:

Hang the new muffler from the body of the vehicle with new exhaust hangers and raise it to the highest level possible, being careful not to crush it against the bottom of the car.

Step 9:

Slide the new hangers over the mounting brackets on the muffler and the car body, lowering the floor jack until the muffler is at its proper height. Then retighten the bolts that were loosened in Step 3, leaving the new muffler firmly mounted onto your vehicle, and remove the floor jack.

Step 10:

Start the vehicle and check the attachment point for leaks by moving your hand around to feel for pulsating air. If you discover a leak, double-check the tension on the bolts. If they’re firmly attached, you may not have correctly reinstalled the gaskets, in which case you’ll have to re-separate the exhaust and try again. When everything checks out, turn the car off and lower it to the ground. Congratulations: you just replaced your muffler!

One final bit of advice:

When selecting a replacement muffler, make sure you choose one that has been custom-designed for your ride, whether it’s a universal muffler or something more specialized, like a Borla muffler, Magnaflow muffler, Flowmaster mufflers or Gibson mufflers. With customized, performance-grade components that often include a specially-designed muffler tip, you’re guaranteed to get parts that are engineered just for your vehicle, whether you’re looking for Chevy Mufflers, Ford mufflers or a component for any other make, model or year.

A muffler is an essential component in your exhaust system. Make sure you select one that is engineered for performance, like a Dodge muffler or Toyota mufflers, to avoid the restrictions often found in stock parts.

Please feel free to call toll-free 800.874.8888 or e-mail with any questions. We are delighted to be of assistance in finding the right auto parts for you, be they car parts, truck parts or SUV parts.
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