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How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Muffler In 2022?

car muffler repair

As your car ages, all kinds of essential and non-essential parts will wear out and need to be replaced. Among them is the muffler, which helps reduce the noise our cars make as we drive. When a muffler blows out or is too damaged, you’ll need to get ready to pay for repairs. How much does it cost to replace a muffler, anyway? Below, we detail the answer to that question as well as other relevant info about muffler repairs and replacements.

car and road divider

The Importance of Your Muffler

While not as vital as other parts of the car, a muffler still has an important job. Mufflers are designed to obfuscate the noise your car produces as it runs by using various tubes. In layman’s terms, they’re kind of like earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, but for your car.

If the muffler on a car breaks or gets damaged, it won’t cause immediate problems. Initially, you’ll notice some increased road noise from your car, but ignoring a damaged muffler can be bad in the long term. Your engine might overheat or fail if you drive without a muffler for extended periods, and in some cases, you risk fatally toxic carbon monoxide leaking into your car’s cabin.

person driving hyundai car
Image Credit: Piqsels

Muffler Repair & Replacement Costs

On average, you can expect to pay between $100 to $300 for a muffler replacement. This includes the cost of the new muffler as well as labor to remove the old one and install the new one. Labor is typically at least half the cost of any car repair, so the mufflers themselves aren’t terribly expensive.

Let’s break down the exact costs of an average muffler repair so you know where your money is going.

Muffler Repair Breakdown:
  • Muffler: $60-120
  • Labor: $80-160
  • Miscellaneous components (gaskets, hangers, etc.): $20-30
  • Total: $160-300

These numbers are only meant to give you an idea of what each part of the repair costs. Other factors that impact how much a muffler repair costs are geographical location, make and model of the car, and the age of the car. Urban areas, for example, typically charge more because of higher labor costs. Rural areas, in contrast, usually charge less.

Ubiquitous cars like Toyota Corollas or Honda Civics will be cheaper to repair than, say, an Audi or a Mercedes-Benz. This is because Honda and Toyota are well-known for reliability, and parts for them are plentiful.

car exhaust
Image Credit: Piqsels

Additional Anticipated Costs

Many car repairs, but not all, end up having surprise charges tacked on at the end. That, or the mechanic might find evidence that your muffler being broken caused damage to other parts of your car. It’s always a good idea to expect a higher-than-average bill for a repair so you’re not surprised at the end.

Additional costs may include::
  • Older cars might have welded mufflers, which means the whole exhaust system will need to be replaced to fix it. The average price for redoing the whole system is about $850, depending largely on local labor costs and what type of car you have.
  • Damage to the engine sustained due to the damaged/broken muffler. Damage is uncommon, but it can be severe. If your engine block is cracked, expect to shell out between $1,000 to $3,000.
  • Paying more for gas at the pump, because broken mufflers harm fuel economy. Your fuel economy may reduce minimally, or you can lose as much as 5-10mpg. Given the price of gas these days, that adds up quickly.

It’s very easy to overlook a damaged muffler, but you shouldn’t. You risk damage to your car, paying more for gas, and the chance of leaking fatal carbon monoxide into your car. If you suspect your muffler is compromised in some way, take it to a shop as soon as you can.

fixing and cleaning car
Image Credit: orzalaga, Pixabay

How Often Do I Need To Replace My Muffler?

The average muffler lasts between 40,000 to 80,000 miles, but living near saltwater will decrease these estimates. The salt in the air will prematurely rust your muffler, drastically reducing its longevity. Driving on uneven road conditions like potholes and speed bumps can also damage them.

Can I Drive With a Broken Muffler?

If you’re strapped for cash, you’re probably wondering if you can just drive with a damaged or broken muffler. After all, it’s just a bit of metal on the back of your car, so it can’t be that bad, right?

As it turns out, driving with a broken muffler risks more than just damage to your car. Broken mufflers make your car very loud, which can lead to noise violations and tickets if left alone too long. Even if you avoid getting pulled over, driving with a busted muffler can cause severe damage to your engine over time.

Virtually all car repairs have notoriously bad timing, but the muffler isn’t one that you should just ignore. Have your car checked by a professional immediately if you think your muffler is broken or damaged.

a mechanic checking a worn out car
Image Credit: Qilin’s prance Filmmaker, Shutterstock

Signs Your Muffler Needs To Be Repaired or Replaced

Unlike some other car parts, it’s not always obvious when your muffler is damaged and needs to be replaced or repaired. There are, however, some signs you can be on the lookout for that indicate your muffler needs to be fixed.

Symptoms include:
  • Abnormally loud exhaust
  • Engine overheating
  • Carbon monoxide leaks
  • Weaker acceleration
  • Strong odors emanating from your car’s exhaust

Carbon monoxide is insidiously difficult to detect, but the other symptoms listed above can be observed with just your five senses. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it’s time to schedule a trip to the mechanic.

How To Take Care of Your Muffler

Repairs are inevitable, but there are several things you can do to help your muffler last longer. If you regularly pay attention to your exhaust system, it will be far less likely to prematurely fail. Let’s check out some handy tips that improve your muffler’s longevity.

man pressure washing his black car
Image Credit: Ethan Sexton, Unsplash
Muffler & Exhaust Tips:
  • Regularly wax your car
  • Routinely hose down your car’s undercarriage to dislodge salt and other rust-forming agents
  • When paying for a muffler and/or exhaust system, opt for stainless steel construction
  • Drive for at least 30 minutes so your car’s exhaust can evaporate built-up condensation
  • Don’t use degreasers or abrasive materials on any part of your exhaust

If you keep these tips in mind when you’re driving and taking care of your car, you can instantly increase how long your muffler and the exhaust system will last. Ask your mechanic for any other tips they might be able to offer.

car and road divider

Conclusion

Mufflers are a vital part of your exhaust system, which is in turn a critical part of your car. If your muffler gets damaged, it’s a few hundred bucks at maximum, but leaving it damaged can lead to more severe consequences down the road.


Featured Image Credit: NONGASIMO, Shutterstock

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