4 easy steps: How to make a car exhaust quiet temporarily?​

4 easy steps: How to make a car exhaust quiet temporarily?

Very unpleasant experience. That’s what I felt when my car started making some strange noises while I was driving down the highway one day. Instinctively, I thought there was a problem with the exhaust, and throughout the car ride home, the only thing on my mind was, how to make a car exhaust quiet temporarily? I bet I was affecting others too. 

I got on a call with a good friend of mine who was a mechanic to have him meet me at my place. When I got back, we dove into the issue at hand to find a fix. Did we succeed? Yes, we did! And I learned not just about temporary methods but also some longer term solutions to reducing exhaust noises.

Stick around to find out more.

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Common causes for loud car exhaust

Before going into the solution, let’s talk a bit more about the causes of loud car exhausts. Unless you have intentionally made your exhaust louder than normal or you are driving a powerful sports vehicle, loud exhausts noises should not be commonplace. So what are the main culprits?

Holes in your exhaust pipe

These are usually caused by wear and tear and happens quite commonly in older vehicles. If you’re still driving that old beat up car from 1974, it’s not hard to wonder why there are loud noises coming from the exhaust, or anywhere else for the matter. Most of the time, there will be a leak in the exhaust pipe which can not only make loud noises but also dangerous smoke.

Rust corrosion

Related to the above point, rust can cause corrosion and create holes in your car’s exhaust pipe. As the holes get larger, the noise gets louder.

Damage due to collision

If you have caused some damage to the exhaust pipe due to hitting something while driving, it can cause it to become loose, causing loud noises due to metal parts hitting each other. This can also cause the exhaust to become misaligned and produce chugging noises. 

Inspecting exhaust pipes for leaks

How easy is it to identify an exhaust leak? Not all of us are familiar with the inner workings of a car, so this can be a stumbling block for the regular car owner. 

Luckily, the steps to do so is not that difficult. Depending on how deep underneath the car the holes are, it could be a simple fix, or you will have to find a professional mechanic.

Put your car in park on flat ground. You do not want the car to start rolling while you inspect it.

You can either lie down (better method) or bend down to observe for any liquids dripping from under your car or look out for the presence of smoke. As the exhaust is a large pipe that runs along almost the entire car, it is very easy to identify it.

Make a note of where, if any, the leaks are. You will need to scoot under and check closer. Small holes can be repaired with sealants, patches, or exhaust paste, but if the holes are too large, you will need to head to a workshop.

Hey, quick one. If you intend to start a soundproofing project soon, check out our Best Materials for Soundproofing post to get a headstart. Most projects require similar materials, so this post will save you a ton of time researching.

4 Ways to make a car exhaust quieter

There are a few fixes that you can attempt in order to fix the noise issue. Read on to find out the details.

1. Fix any leaks from the exhaust

One of the biggest causes of exhaust noises comes from leaks. Following the directions from above, located and mark out the locations of the holes on the exhaust. Although it seems that it will be quite difficult to repair a hole on a hot pipe, it is actually not that complicated, at least for a temporary fix.

You first need to have the right tools to do it. What I would recommend is heat resistant epoxy. A suitable alternative is to use heat wrap tapes for exhausts.

These two solutions are able to handle most small holes, and will give you a nice temporary fix.

Always allow a couple of hours for them to cure and set in place (check the directions on the packaging to be sure). 

If you deem the hole to be larger than normal, the above 2 methods will not work. You will need to use a muffler cement instead. The application method is similar to the epoxy but this will work better for large holes. 

Be sure to clean the area before applying as it will affect its effectiveness.

2. Change to a quieter muffler

Another solution will be to change to a quieter muffler. The muffler is a small device that helps reduce the noise created by an exhaust. It is that part which covers up the exhaust near the rear end of your car. 

So if you don’t find any other issues causing loud noises in your exhaust, a change of muffler might do the trick. Don’t be too worried though. It might sound like a difficult task that should be handled by professionals, but there are lots of videos on YouTube where many people shows how easy is it to change it by yourself. 

To find the parts, head to Amazon where there are lots of different models that are priced reasonably. While you start your project, always ensure that you clean out the area before and after installation. 

3. Install a silencer

A silencer works by narrowing the outlet hole of your exhaust pipe and in the process, reduce the amount of noise being emitted.

The good news: you can buy them right off Amazon and install it right away. You don’t need any particular skills at all to do it. All you need to do is to slip it into the exhaust and secure the screws.

They are not perfect solutions though, but they should be able to help for the interim.

4. DIY soundproof mufflers

If you are more hands on and want to try your luck making your own soundproof mufflers, yes you can. You would need a few tools to help you with that, but some of them might actually be lying around in your home such steel scrubs and metal wool. 

One key thing to take note here is to use heat resistant material, otherwise they will not be able to withstand the heat from the exhaust pipe and end up getting damaged, or worse, start to burn.

If you have never done it before, I would suggest you skip this. But if you want to find out more, you can check out the following video.


What if you are still hearing loud noises from the exhaust?

If the noise is bothering you and you could not get any of the methods above to work, it is really time to send it in to the mechanic. You could end up wasting a lot more time and effort if you continue to do it yourself. Although you will save some money, but you need to consider if it is worth it.

If the noise is not that loud, you can try to soundproof the cabin instead. This is actually a much bigger project that will cost more money, but it is cool to do if you are somewhat of a DIY enthusiast. 

Check out the following articles that might be relevant to your situation:

There are several specialized sound deadening material that you should consider using if you are serious about making your drive experience better. Find out more about them here:

In conclusion

If you are driving a really old car and you encounter loud noises from your exhaust, it might be a better idea to send it in to the mechanic or consider changing a vehicle. Loud exhaust noises could be signs of bigger problems especially in older cars. 

Before you DIY fix your car, always ensure that you take all safety precautions and keep the work area as clean as possible so that your tools will properly.

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Bryant Littlewood is the Chief Editor behind SoundproofingHacks. He shares all the lessons he has learned in turning his home and office into quiet sanctuaries across the blog posts here. Bryant is also a part-time audiophile, and some of the posts here will reflect that passion of his too. Connect with him on LinkedIn or read more on the about page.