What Exactly Does a Muffler Do?

June 16,2015

Anyone who’s ever experienced a broken muffler knows that they’re in for a noisy drive. In order to maintain good relationships with neighbors, your car needs to have a working one. But what causes the sound, and how exactly can a muffler help? Read on to find out.  

Why is my car so noisy?

Here’s the short answer: exhaust. When your engine burns fuel, your exhaust valves open to release highly pressurized gas. The noise is a result of thousands of sound bursts per minutes traveling down and bouncing around your exhaust pipe. Your muffler’s job is to cool the gases and reduce the noise.

How does the muffler minimize noise?

Most cars have a muffler mounted in line with the exhaust pipe. To minimize noise, a muffler uses perforated tubes or baffled chambers. When the sound waves travel through these chambers, they create opposing sound waves that partially cancel out the original sound waves.

Engineers can create a number of potential sounds or weaker sounds by modifying the muffler design. Think of a musical instrument that’s designed to play a higher or lower range of notes.

The same thing is possible for your vehicle’s sound waves.

what does a muffler do

What if I like the sound?

Many modern high performance cars are built to run quietly. However, not everyone wants a quiet car. As a result, car engineers have had to design a workaround for owners who expect some noise with their expensive automobile. But it doesn’t involve the engine or the exhaust system. Instead, a high tech sound enhancement system simulates the noise of the car engine.

Many performance engines don’t even have the V-8 engines that make those classic noises anymore. Now, they’re six or even four cylinders with turbochargers. To satisfy the demand for muscle car noise, engineers have to take some liberties. It’s an interesting bit of magic to make what’s naturally noisy quiet and what’s naturally quiet noisy.

How does the muffler affect vehicle performance?

The exhaust system as a whole affects the overall performance of the engine. The faster the exhaust flows through the exhaust system and out of the car, the quicker the engine can take in the new oxygen necessary to burn more fuel. A highly efficient exhaust system creates the possibility of a very powerful engine and a very fast car, which is why it’s such an important component.

 

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Many people notice their muffler making sounds before it breaks down and becomes a noisy nuisance. That’s a good time to involve a mechanic. If you have questions about your muffler or car performance, stop by Veenstra’s for a 22-point inspection. We’ll take care of it.