How to Replace a Muffler

If you enjoy a smooth and quiet ride, one of the parts you can thank is your car’s muffler. The muffler helps to reduce the noise your engine makes, and contributes to the overall performance of your car’s engine. If your muffler gives out, the muffler replacement cost can feel daunting. Fortunately, you can take down some of the cost of a new muffler by DIYing the process, especially if you’re facing a muffler leak.

Mufflers can range in price from around $15 to almost $1,500. The cost of a muffler can depend on anything from the type of metal used to overall quality. If you’re interested in saving on muffler replacement costs, you may be wondering how much it costs to fix a muffler and the steps needed to do so. We’ll help you walk through that process below.

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How to replace a muffler

The muffler replacement process starts with understanding the warning signs of when it might be time to switch out mufflers. Knowing the signs of a bad muffler, a muffler replacement cost estimate, and the steps to change a muffler can help you move further in the process.  

Here’s the information you need to get started.

Signs of a bad muffler

Car exhaust pipe smoke

There are ways you can tell if a muffler needs replacement. Here are a few signs you can look out for:

  • Amplified noise – Mufflers help keep your engine from making too much noise. If this isn’t happening, it may mean that your muffler isn’t working properly and needs to be looked at or replaced.
  • Physical damage – Have you noticed any rust or holes in your muffler? If so, your muffler may have experienced damage from water or debris and needs a change.
  • Bad odor – If you notice a strong smell coming from your ventilation system, it could be that the exhaust is leaking. This could be a sign of your muffler wearing down.
  • Having to make more trips to the gas station – Mufflers support your exhaust system, which helps to support your gas efficiency. A decreased fuel efficiency points to a potential muffler issue.

These are just some of the issues that could point to a potential muffler problem. Identifying these can help you decide whether to take your muffler to be replaced professionally or handle it yourself.

How much does it cost to replace a muffler?

So, how much does it cost to replace a muffler? The total expenses will depend on whether you try to do it yourself, the type of muffler you need for your car’s make and model, and any additional equipment required. For example, suppose you want to take care of replacing a muffler yourself, and you already have the necessary tools. In that case, you may only have to pay for the muffler’s cost (which can vary between $15 and or in the hundreds, depending on the type of muffler you need).

But, if you decide to take it in to have a professional replace your muffler, you could have to pay an additional $100 or more for labor and parts. Without taxes and any fees, you could be facing costs between $150 and $800 depending on the parts needed and the type of vehicle you have.

How to replace a muffler on your car

Undercar view of catalytic converter and corrugated heatshield
Muffler under vehicle

If you’re interested in tacking muffler replacement yourself, here are the steps to get started:

  • First, you need to have the right tools. Here is a list of supplies you’ll need to replace your muffler:
    • The muffler
    • Floor jack
    • Lifting points
    • Silicone lubricant
    • Socket wrench
    • Wheel chocks
    • Safety goggles
    • Work gloves
    • Exhaust cutter
    • Pipe sealant

Steps to Replace a Muffler

1. Put on safety gear

Before you begin the process, make sure you’re putting on any safety gear like goggles or work gloves to protect yourself. 

2. Disconnect the car battery

To ensure your car doesn’t turn on while you’re working, disconnect the car battery.

3. Park and station your vehicle

It’s important to park your vehicle on a flat surface. Then, secure it with wheel chocks to ensure your wheels are stationary and stay in place as you begin the next step.

4. Lift the car and apply lift points

You’ll then carefully place a lift jack beneath your vehicle. Once you lift it to a sufficient height, you can then install lifting points under the car to keep it suspended while you work.

5. Remove the old muffler

Disconnect the bolts around the muffler clamps (use lubrication if needed to ease the bolts) using a socket wrench, cut it out of any existing piping, and remove the muffler hangers from the rubber muffler hanging mounts. While cutting away any connected piping, only cut the muffler’s pipes.

6. Measure the new muffler

See if the new muffler fits by measuring it against the current piping. If so, start installing the new muffler. You’ll add the hangers to the rubber hanger mounts and connect the muffler to the new piping. Finally, spray exhaust sealant to connect the piping. Note that it may take a little while for it to take effect. 

7. Reconnect the battery and check for leaks

Once the sealant has taken hold, reconnect the battery to your car and then run your vehicle to check for a muffler leak. If everything works properly, you’re good to go!

Mufflers are an essential component of your car, and provide overall protection for your exhaust system and engine. We have a variety of mufflers to fit your make, model, and preferred price point. Look through our extensive collection to find the right muffler at Autozone!

FAQ/People Also Ask

How much does it cost to replace a whole muffler?

It can cost anywhere between $150 to $800 to replace a muffler. But the exact cost will depend on your car’s make and model and your muffler product preference.

Can you just change the muffler?

You can, but you need the right tools and an understanding of how to accurately change your muffler. Do the necessary research before you get started, and seek out the help of a professional if needed.

When should I replace my muffler?

Bad odors, loud engine noise, and exhaust leaking are signs of a bad muffler. When these events occur, it’s time to consider changing it.

Is driving with a broken muffler ok?

Not only can a broken muffler lead to loud and distracting noises, but you also risk toxic substances like carbon monoxide leaking into your ventilation system. So, it’s best to get your muffler fixed before driving it.

Can I drive without a muffler?

No, a muffler drives down the noise of your engine and prevents toxic fumes from getting into your ventilation. It also protects your engine from damage, therefore it’s not a good idea to drive without it.

Why is my muffler so loud?

Loud engine or muffler noises can be a sign of a broken muffler. If this is happening, check it and replace it if it’s broken.

Will any muffler fit my car?

No, different mufflers can come in varying sizes and with features to fit a car’s specific needs.

Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

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