What Does a Muffler Do? 3 Muffler Facts You Might Not Know


The automobile has a long history in the US and abroad. Yet, the working of the internal combustion engine and other car parts remain mysterious for many vehicle owners. The venerable muffler is an excellent example of a vehicle part that mystifies.

Some people rightly wonder, “What does a car muffler do?” How different is the car muffler noise compared with a non-muffler noise? Is it all about the noise?

If these kinds of questions ever crossed your mind, keep reading. We’ll explore three facts about car mufflers and their functions.

1. Mufflers Dampen Sounds

Sound dampening is the main role of the average car muffler. What noise?

The engine of your average car produces a lot more noise than people realize. After all, the combustion part of the internal combustion engine is basically a series of small explosions.

Without a muffler in place, the noise from an engine would prove deafening. Consider how loud a car with a hole in the muffler seems. Many locations impose noise ordinances on vehicles to ensure muffler repair.

You can play with the degree of sound dampening a muffler imposes with options like a Borla Exhaust.

2. Fume Management

Vehicle fumes contain some things to which human bodies don’t react well. The main offender is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can leave people with headaches, nausea, and even prove lethal in higher doses.

The exhaust system helps direct those fumes away from the passenger cabin. The muffler contains and directs these fumes, so they exit at the rear of the vehicle. Once there, the moving air helps disperse the fumes safely.

Without the muffler, the fumes might end up making everyone in the vehicle sick.

3. Mufflers Can Affect Car Performance

The performance of your vehicle engine depends in part on the amount of fresh air it takes in at a given time. The more fresh air it takes in, the better it performs overall. The muffler interferes with a little.

The inside of a muffler contains pipes and chambers. The purpose of those pipes and chambers is sound reduction. Yet, they also slow down the movement of the exhaust from the engine.

Since the engine can’t push out all of the exhaust, it can only bring a diminished amount of fresh air. That limits the engine’s performance in a small way.

Of course, the change remains unnoticeable at normal travel speeds.

What Does a Muffler Do? A Lot

What does a muffler do? It does quite a lot, or least it does a couple of important things very well.

The muffler dampens the noise from the engine. Without the dampening, engine noise would overwhelm anyone nearby. You can even run afoul of law enforcement if your muffler has a hole in it.

Your muffler helps keep you safe from the carbon monoxide in your vehicle fumes. It also has a slight influence over engine performance by slowing the exhaust.

Interested in more automotive information and tips? Check out some of our other automotive blog posts on this site.