- I have to replace my muffler and was offered two options in the store: stainless and aluminum. What’s the difference between these muffler materials? If I want a muffler that won’t rust easily, what would be a better choice?
The big difference between a stainless steel and aluminum muffler is the outer shell. The muffler internals and even the necks of an aluminized muffler are made of stainless steel. However, the outer shell is made of aluminized steel, which comes with a protective coating. A stainless steel muffler uses the same material for its internals and its exterior, which is polished. Although both mufflers may be offered with a lifetime warranty and basically have the same interior materials and construction, a stainless steel muffler is still more durable because its outer shell is constructed using 100% stainless steel. The aluminized muffler has a protective coating, but when this gets scratched off or worn out over time, the rust may get past the protective finish and eat away at the steel.
- Can performance mufflers actually add more power to the vehicle?
A vehicle may come with a restrictive exhaust system in order to minimize cost and also to keep it quiet. Restrictions in the system will affect efficiency. With aftermarket or performance mufflers and exhaust systems, what they offer isn’t exactly added power. The performance muffler or aftermarket exhaust is designed to be less restrictive, which improves efficiency as it lets the engine breathe more easily. Because of this, the engine is able to generate more power. This power doesn’t necessarily come from the performance muffler or aftermarket exhaust system. It’s there all along. The performance muffler/exhaust only makes it much easier to squeeze out more power from the engine.
- What if I don’t necessarily drive fast or need more power for speed? What benefits can an aftermarket muffler or performance exhaust offer aside from improved power?
A less restrictive muffler or performance exhaust helps improve engine efficiency. A more efficient engine doesn’t always mean it’s uber-powerful. Efficiency would help the engine squeeze out as much energy as it can get from every drop of fuel. If you don’t get to use all the energy produced for speed or more power, improved efficiency may reflect through better fuel economy and increased gas mileage. The difference in gas mileage may not be that remarkable, but in the long run, the small savings you get will add up, compensating for what you have to spend for a less restrictive exhaust muffler or system.
- In terms of engine efficiency, how much improvement can I expect when I install a less restrictive exhaust or aftermarket muffler? Will these be significant improvements?
An aftermarket muffler or exhaust can provide improvements on engine efficiency anywhere between 2 to 10 percent. The improvements in efficiency will reflect through increased horsepower or better fuel economy. The improvements will be more significant or noticeable on smaller cars than on bigger vehicles with larger, more powerful engines. The bigger, more powerful V8 engine, for instance, can get past the restrictions from a stock exhaust. A smaller engine, however, will have a stronger boost in efficiency through a less restrictive exhaust. Improvements in efficiency can go as much as 10% in some cases, although 5% is common.
- How can I tell if the muffler is already bad based on changes in vehicle performance? What are the signs?
When the vehicle idles roughly and emits clouds of smoke, this can be a sign that your muffler might be broken or damaged. You can also detect or suspect a problem with the muffler or exhaust if you notice a drop in fuel economy or restricted engine power.
- I’m about to go check on the muffler. What are the things I should be looking for to figure out if it’s damaged or still in good shape?
If the muffler is already covered in soot, this usually means that it’s up for replacement. Also check for holes and rust. Water dripping from the pipes also indicates damage and wear.
- Lately, I’ve been hearing some thumping sounds that seem to be coming from the exhaust. The vehicle also roars louder than usual. When I drove the car for a few miles, it almost overheated. Can this have something to do with my Nissan muffler? I just want to confirm before I get it replaced.
With a broken muffler, the vehicle may roar louder than before. Thumping or clunking is also a common sign of problems with the exhaust, along with the sharp increase in engine temperature. All these are common signs of muffler damage. Still, it would be best if you’ll have the muffler and exhaust fully checked by a mechanic.
Common Symptoms to Detect a Faulty Nissan Muffler
With a main purpose to reduce the noise coming out from the engine, your Nissan muffler minimizes the sound level before it gets out the exhaust system to eliminate a possibly irritating noise. Being a part of the exhaust system, it is important to detect the signs when your muffler starts to fail. Knowing the symptoms can help prevent costly repairs, health hazards, and polluted emissions.
Loud grumbling noise from the vehicle
One of the most telling signs of a malfunctioning muffler is the rumbling sound coming from your Nissan. A damaged muffler may also deliver some rattling, clunking, or thumping sounds. The rattling sounds may be due to loose or damaged baffles in the muffler. Before the noise gets too loud and distracting, take your vehicle for a check-up. A defective Nissan muffler or exhaust system left unattended can eventually lead to more problems and repair costs.
Rust and holes on the muffler
Any hole or heavy rust on the muffler's metal surface can be an indication of a major problem on the inside. You can initially check the muffler by using a car jack to raise the vehicle.
A faulty catalytic converter
When your vehicle sounds like someone is shaking a box of rocks when your vehicle is on idle, whether parked or paused in traffic, it is possibly your catalytic converter is failing. Attached to the exhaust pipe, it affects the muffler's performance. Moreover, the catalytic converter is one of the most expensive components in the exhaust system, making it prone to theft. If you lose your converter, you'll notice at once the loud noise and changes in the performance of the vehicle upon start-up.
Another sign of a malfunctioning muffler or exhaust system is when you see water leaking from many spots of your Nissan muffler. Although condensation may happen in your muffler, water coming out may show that holes have created from the rust. In addition, a faulty muffler or system may cause loss of power or develop a new vibration during vehicle operation. The new vibration can be noted during contact with the steering wheel, car seat, or foot pedals. Depending on the size of the damaged zone, you may or may not hear a grumbling noise. The leaking exhaust can also indicate that the engine is not performing its best.
If the vehicle has been running for a while and overheats, a damaged muffler may have caused it. If your muffler is malfunctioning or broken, it can be partially blocked and make the engine overheat or lose power.
Other tips and warnings
Be careful when raising the vehicle with jacks and support the vehicle with jack stands. In addition, take note that the exhaust system may be hot and cause burns. Make sure to wait for the vehicle to cool down first before touching and inspecting anything. Before replacing a muffler, check first the reliability of all the pipes. Pipes may seem fine on the outside but are already corroded inside.