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Will No Muffler Hurt My Engine?

by Richard Rowe

Mufflers are designed to reduce sound, but they do it at the cost of horsepower and fuel efficiency. Removing the muffler can only stand to increase engine performance.

Muffler Function

Most mufflers use fiberglass or steel wool packing material to absorb sound energy. Exhaust flows through a perforated tube and exhaust noise exits through the holes in the tube to be absorbed by the packing material. Some performance "chambered" mufflers use a series of metal baffles and chambers that cause sound waves to bounce back on themselves and cancel out.

Exhaust Restrictions

Anything but a completely straight section of large diameter tubing will act as a restriction in your exhaust system. This includes bends in the tubing, catalytic converters and mufflers.

Restriction Consequences

Exhaust restrictions increase pressure in the system, which keeps used gases trapped inside of the engine's combustion chambers. These gases take up space that should be occupied by fresh air and fuel. The end result is a loss of engine performance and fuel economy. Removing the muffler or replacing it with a higher-flowing unit will reduce system pressure and increase performance.

About the Author

Richard Rowe has been writing professionally since 2007, specializing in automotive topics. He has worked as a tractor-trailer driver and mechanic, a rigger at a fire engine factory and as a race-car driver and builder. Rowe studied engineering, philosophy and American literature at Central Florida Community College.

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Photo Credits

  • échappements image by thierry planche from Fotolia.com