Driving a car with a loud car exhaust can be fun if you’ve purposefully made it louder, but it’s not as fun if it’s accidental.
Perhaps your car exhaust has started making a loud noise that you need to quiet until you reach a garage, or maybe you deliberately have a loud car exhaust, but you need to make it quieter for certain journeys.
Either way, you’ll need to know how to temporarily quiet down a loud car exhaust.
The most important thing to remember is that temporary methods won’t be anywhere near as effective as permanent ones, but if your car is damaged then a garage will fix it anyway.
Standard car exhausts aren’t particularly loud, and you obviously won’t be able to completely soundproof the exhaust. So here are the best ways to temporarily quiet down a loud car exhaust.
Fixing the Exhaust with Sealant
One of the first things to do is to take a look at the exhaust to see its condition.
If you’ve got an old car, then it’s perfectly possible that wear has caused the exhaust to leak. If that’s the case, then it’s worth booking in at a garage to repair or replace it. Temporary repairs can be made by you.
Smaller holes are perfectly easy to repair with some epoxy filler or sealant. You can buy this in most hardware stores and it’s really easy to use. Patching up small holes should make a difference to a loud exhaust, but it won’t be a significant one.
For bigger holes you’d be better to use repair patches, as these are easier to apply on a larger surface area. The video below shows how this one works.
Repair patches are available online in various sizes and are really easy to apply; you simply peel off the backing and apply it over the hole. However these patches won’t be effective on holes over 3 inches, but if your exhaust is that damaged you should take it to be repaired.
It’s worth noting that covering holes in your car exhaust shouldn’t have any impact on the car’s performance, but this doesn’t mean you should go filling every hole in the exhaust.
Whatever you do, don’t plug up the actual exhaust hole. While this might make your car quieter, it’ll also cause a lot of damage.
Signs of an Exhaust Leak
Exhaust leaks are one of the most common causes of loud noises, especially if it’s not something your car was previously doing. It’s helpful to know what to look out for, so here are some top tips on how to identify an exhaust leak.
- Park the car on a level surface, put in neutral and apply the brake.
- Lie down next to the car and look for any drips. The exhaust system runs along the bottom of the car, and is pretty easy to spot.
- If you do see fluid leaking from somewhere, make a note of where on the car this is. If you’re going to try and repair it yourself it can help to have a patch handy.
- If the hole is near the back of the exhaust then this’ll be much easier to repair, and will save you crawling under the car.
Repairing or fixing holes in the exhaust isn’t always the easiest job, but it can definitely make a difference to noise levels, even if it’s only temporary.
Make sure to buy epoxy or patches that can withstand heat so it won’t get damaged. There are many products available for temporary exhaust repair. Keep an eye out for them.
Temporarily Repairing a Rusted Exhaust
- If you happen to have only recently noticed the condition of your exhaust, it might be a bit too late to fix any issues. If this is the case, it makes sense to just have the whole exhaust replaced, although this isn’t always an option for some due to costs involved.
- A new loud noise from a rusty exhaust will likely be caused by a crack, or by several holes rusting together. Either way, the best solution is to use a product called exhaust paste, which is a special heat-resistant glue, and a few bandages.
- Wrapping bandages around the exhaust will hold it together temporarily, at least until you get to a garage.
- Using these materials will make no difference to your car’s performance, and will help to quiet down a loud car exhaust, particularly if a new crack has developed.
- Just remember this method won’t work in the long term, as cracks become worse over time, and any loud noises will eventually come back.
Identify Other Sources of Loud Noise
Exhaust leaks are only one source of loud exhaust noises.
If you’ve had a good look at the system and can’t see any leaks then it might be worth looking at other possible sources of noise. You might not be a mechanic though, and if so then you won’t really know what you’re looking for.
One of the first things to check is whether the exhaust is rattling around.
If some bolts have come loose over your car’s lifetime then there’s every chance the new loud noise comes from the exhaust vibrating as you drive. You can check for this by simply trying to give the exhaust a little shake. If it moves, you will know that it needs tightening. Don’t shake it too hard though, as you don’t want to risk pulling it off!
To fix this problem temporarily you’ll likely need a ratchet, wrench, or possibly a screwdriver. Find out what holds the exhaust in place, whether it’s bolts, screws, or something else, and do your best to tighten them.
Again, this won’t be a permanent method, and so it’ll be best to take your car to a garage to have the problem checked out.
Fit a Muffler or Silencer
Many standard modern cars already have a muffler fitted, but you might find that it’s not doing as much as you’d like. However, some cars – particularly models such as hotrods – don’t have mufflers fitted, and you might want to fit one temporarily for some reason.
Fitting a new silencer on your car is probably the most expensive method suggested here, and so it’s only worth considering if you’re serious about making your car exhaust quieter.
Also, it’s worth remembering that fitting a silencer is a more permanent method than the others suggested, although it can still be considered temporary if you’re willing to take it off every time.
Silencers for a car exhaust don’t necessarily need to be expensive, but with many other car-related modifications, you’ll get a much better product if you’re willing to spend more money. They’re also not particularly difficult to fit, and many will come with instructions on how to do so.
That said, if you’re not particularly handy with cars, or you simply don’t have the time, then take it to a garage to get fitted. This might not be the best option if you’re only looking for a temporary way to quiet down a loud car exhaust, as it’ll mean spending time and money every time you want it taken off.
Easily the most expensive option is to fit a variable muffler. These are quite pricey, but are absolutely perfect for someone serious about making a car exhaust quieter. Because they do cost so much, they’re only really worthwhile for cars that have intentionally loud car exhausts.
Variable mufflers are basically exhaust silencers that can be switched on or off. This means they have “loud” and “quiet” settings, and can easily be switched between the two with a remote control. This makes them perfect for someone who needs to make their exhaust quieter if they’re perhaps driving through a residential neighborhood.
Final Thoughts on Quieting a Car Exhaust Temporarily
Making a loud car exhaust quiet temporarily isn’t always an easy job, but if you’ve got an idea of what to look for then you can definitely attempt to solve the problem.
It’s important to remember that temporary fixes shouldn’t be used for too long, and should be repaired by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.