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What does a loud muffler mean?

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If you notice that your car is suddenly sounding louder and louder underneath, it could be your muffler.

Part of the exhaust system, located underneath your car, a muffler’s job is to do what its name implies — muffle the noise made by your exhaust. But when a muffler wears out and no longer does its job, the the result is loud noise. In short order it can become really annoyingly loud. Not only is the sound annoying, but the exhaust can be dangerous.

A hole in your muffler can cause your exhaust to leak carbon monoxide inside the car. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced when your engine is running. Breathing it will make you sick, causing dizziness headaches and nausea. Worse, over a long period of time it can also cause you to lose consciousness and eventually die from the fumes.

Another problem sign is water leaking from several different places in the muffler. Some mufflers have a drain hole for condensation, but more than one hole is a sign of rusting through.

In addition to holes caused by rust, a muffler can also break, which will cause a loud clunking sound, and it’s a safe bet that your muffler is bad if, in addition to the noise, you see a lot of thick exhaust smoke coming from under the car. Check the muffler for holes and/or signs of breakage, then head to a trusted mechanic immediately.

Aside from the safety factor, most municipalities have noise ordinances against driving with a loud muffler, for which you can be fined, so there’s that, too.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com

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