What Does A Muffler Do? This Common Car Question Explained:

What Exactly Does a Muffler Do?

June 16,2015

what does a muffler do

Anyone who’s ever experienced a broken muffler knows that in order to maintain the peace and good relationships with neighbors, your car needs to have a working one. What exactly does a muffler do?

The exhaust valves in your engine open and release highly pressurized gas, the byproduct of the fuel the engine burns in order to make your car’s wheels turn and your car go. Another byproduct is noise: the result of thousands of sound bursts per minute traveling down and bouncing around the exhaust pipe.


In a typical car the muffler is mounted in line with the exhaust pipe. In order to minimize all the noise, a muffler is designed with perforated tubes or baffled chambers. When the sound waves travel through perforated tubes or the baffle 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 design of the muffler and the way that the sound waves interact within it, much as a musical instrument can be designed to play a higher or lower range of notes.

what does my muffler do

Interestingly enough, many modern high performance cars are built to be so quiet that car engineers have designed a work around for car owners who expect some noise with their expensive automobile. It doesn’t involve the engine or the exhaust system, though. Instead, a high tech sound enhancement system hijacks the function of making the noise that the car’s engine used to.

Many performance engines don’t even have the V-8 engines that make the classic sexy noises anymore. They’re six or even four cylinders now with turbochargers, so 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 all for the benefit of the driver’s overall aesthetic experience.

The exhaust system as a whole also functions to affect the performance of the car’s 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. Many people notice their car’s 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 car’s muffler or performance, call Veenstra’s Garage. We would love to advise you on your exhaust system options.