Does Muffler Tape Really Work?

Your car is making a lot of loud, awful noises when you crank it up and accelerate, and you notice more fumes and smells than usual are coming from your tailpipe. After further inspection, you see a small hole. It’s Sunday and all the auto shops are closed, but your muffler needs fixed.

While walking the aisles at Walmart, you see something called “muffler tape.” It says it is used to seal cracks and holes in your muffler or tailpipe. It also sounds too good to be true. Does muffler tape really work?

The truth is that the jury is still out on the effectiveness of muffler tape, but most mechanics agree that it’s a temporary fix at best.

“Mufflers rust from the inside out as gases and all of the other things that are produced when gas is combusted combine with moisture to cause corrosion,” says Bob Hrovat, co-owner of Rainbow Muffler & Brake. “If you see a hole on the outside of your muffler, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is internal.”

Wrapping your muffler with muffler and tailpipe repair tape from a retailer like Walmart or Amazon may plug the hole and temporarily muffle the sound, but it doesn’t address or resolve the internal problem that caused the hole in the first place.

“If you have a hole or a crack in your muffler, you definitely need to replace it. Even a small hole cannot be welded because the metal on a muffler is too thin,” Hrovat says. “If it is already corroded or rusted, it can’t be welded.”

When Should You Repair or Replace Your Muffler?

The good news is that even when your muffler has a visible hole, it may not mean you need to replace your entire exhaust system. Specialized auto repair shops with the ability to repair and replace individual components of an exhaust system can save you a lot in unbudgeted repairs.

The muffler’s number-one job is to dampen and cancel out exhaust gases and sound created by the engine. If your car is louder than usual when you crank it up or accelerate, if you smell fumes coming from your tailpipe while driving or if you notice a change in your gas mileage, these can all be signs of a muffler problem.

A custom muffler shop with the ability to fabricate new exhaust pipes or replace segments or components of your exhaust system can save you a lot of money. In many cases a piece of replacement pipe can be cut and bent to fix the problem without requiring you to fully replace your muffler or, even worse, your entire exhaust system.

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Typically, a standard factory-issued muffler should last around three to five years. If your muffler is older than that and showing signs of wearing out, replacement could be the only option, but there are many choices when it comes to replacement.

Some exhaust system parts and components are stainless steel, for example, and will last two to three times longer than a standard muffler. Shops with fabrication capabilities can replace only what's worn out. Before making a decision, have an experienced mechanic take a look — and always include the exhaust system in your regular car maintenance.

A good technician knows what to look for and can catch problems early before they become bigger and more expensive issues down the road.

“If your car is making a lot of noise when you crank it up or accelerate or it’s putting out a lot of fumes, muffler tape may quiet it down for a few days until you can take it into the shop, but it’s just a temporary fix,” says Hrovat. “Muffler tape is literally just putting a Band-Aid on the problem. It isn’t a long-term solution at all.”

Rainbow Muffler & Brake is uniquely qualified to machine and fabricate new exhaust pipes or replace segments of your existing exhaust system for long-lasting repairs that won’t break the bank.

Is your muffler or exhaust system making a lot of noise? Do you think you may need muffler repair or replacement? To learn more about custom exhaust work and our made-in-the-USA exhaust inventory, contact Rainbow Muffler & Brake today or stop in for a free estimate at one of our Northeast Ohio auto repair shops

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