Get the 411 on muffler problems

11:26 AM, Sep 30, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn  --  Mufflers have a pretty self-explanatory purpose - they muffle the noise emitted by the exhaust of an engine. But, contrary to some popular belief, they are not designed to serve any primary exhaust function. They are designed to serve as a soundproofing device to decrease the loudness of sound pressure, and also channel dangerous burned gases away from the vehicle.

So what happens if your muffler starts to fail? Key warning signs include excessive or unusual noise, fumes leaking into the vehicle and rough idling.

The first step to determine what is causing a possible muffler problem is raising the vehicle on a lift and inspecting the exhaust system. If the muffler is rusting, the oxidation process can spread to other exhaust components.

Exhaust systems tend to break down because of weather elements and road chemicals, like salt. Minnesota uses snow- and ice-clearing chemicals - often use magnesium chloride, rock salt, liquid sodium and other chemicals, which eat metal. Internal condensation also deteriorates exhaust systems.

A deteriorated exhaust system can leak hot exhaust gas, burning the insulation between the carpet and body panels. If the leak is close to a fuel leak, the gas can ignite and cause a fire. An exhaust leak can also ignite wiring in the engine compartment.

If your muffler starts to fail, visit your trusted mechanic. For the experienced home mechanic, the vast majority of vehicles' mufflers can be repaired by purchasing parts from an aftermarket exhaust shop and doing it yourself.

Next time you need to service for vehicle, check out Westside VW for professional car service and repair.

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