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If your car sounds like a big Harley
Davidson, you know it's muffler time.
Yet it's rare that a car needs only
a muffler.
Usually other parts too, such as:
the exhaust pipe, tail pipe, clamps
and hangers.

The longevity of muffler and pipes
depends on what kind of steel the
components are made of, how pipes
are routed under the car, where the
muffler is located, and whether or
not the car has a catalytic converter.

Original equipment pipes made of
aluminumized steel generally last about
5 to 7 years, except in areas
with a lot of road salt and moisture.
In these areas, pipes may need
replacing about 5 yrs or less.
Original equipment pipes made of
stainless steel (which are used from
the converter forward on most cars
and for the entire exhaust system
on some) can last up to 10 yrs or more.

Most aftermarket pipes, by comparison,
are made of ordinary steel which is
good for about 3  to 5 years of service.
Aluminumized and stainless pipes are better,
but cost more.
With mufflers, stainless holds up the best,
followed by double-sided galvanized
steel.
Single sided galvanized and
aluminumized hold up fairly well, while
plain steel offers little or no corrosion
resistance.
As a rule, the hotter a muffler runs the
longer it lasts.
Mufflers on vehicles with catalytic
converters run hotter and last longer

than those on older vehicles without
converters.

Mufflers rust from the inside out.
Rust is caused by moisture in the
exhaust.
Moisture condenses in the muffler
when the engine is shut off and
the muffler starts to cool.
Some mufflers have a small pin hole
that allows condensation to seep
out.