Will Changing Muffler Change Car Sound? (Louder Or Quieter?)

By December 16, 2022Muffler

Mufflers are essential parts of the vehicle that significantly determine how the vehicle will sound. Stock mufflers can achieve a much more silent sound in vehicles. However, people opt to get high-performing mufflers that give their vehicles a more exotic sound. 

Personally, I have changed the mufflers on my Honda Civic. I got a dual muffler with a larger straight pipe. Although it was pretty expensive to get done, I could notice an immediate change in the sound of my vehicle. 

In this article, I will go into the impact of mufflers on car sound. Once you finish this article, you will understand how mufflers will make your car louder (or quieter, if that’s what you want). So, read on!

Understanding Where Car Sound Comes From

anatomy of combustion chamber

Sound is produced inside engine during combustion

The sound of every vehicle, regardless of the brand, comes from the engine. The engine has many components that create sounds. 

Some of these components involve the moving metals in the engine, the air pressure going into the engine, exhaust gases and many more. When you bring these components together, it creates the sound of your vehicle. 

To understand where your engine’s sound comes from, you need to know how the engine works and creates these sounds.  

First, we will consider the sound that comes from the combustion chamber. For the combustion system to work, the engine needs air and fuel. The engine can get air through the intake system, which draws air into the engine through a plastic tube. The intake also contributes to the sound of your engine through the rushing air going into the engine. 

However, the type of intake you use will determine the level of contribution it will have to the engine’s sound. If you use cold air intake, then the contribution would be significant. 

During combustion, the air from the intake and the fuel from the fuel injection is mixed using the air-fuel ratio. This mixture is then sent to the engine cylinders. The piston compresses the mixture, and then the spark ignites it, which then causes the combustion. 

The power created during the combustion then pushes the piston. Due to the moving metals and the combustion process, sounds are created. How significant the engine’s sound also depends on the engine you use. 

Furthermore, we cannot forget the sound created by the exhaust gases from the engine. After the air-fuel mixture has been burnt in the combustion chamber, the remaining exhaust gases are transferred into the exhaust system. 

The movement of these gases will also create sounds. When the gases get to the muffler, it is reduced but not completely eliminated in most cases.  

Also Read: Do Mufflers Increase Horsepower: An Expert Weighs In

What’s A Muffler & How Does It Work?

Image of the internals of a muffler

Muffler has chambers that will bounce sound waves so they cancel out

A muffler is a part of the exhaust system that acts as a means to quiet the sound coming from the exhaust system. The exhaust sounds are loud when transferred from the engine to the exhaust pipes. 

The muffler contains tubes and chambers that help redirect the gases and sound waves so that they cancel themselves. 

Sound waves coming from the engine are high, and the way to reduce the sound waves is for the muffler to create lower sound waves that will cancel out the noise when met with higher sound waves. 

Mufflers can achieve this through four sections. The sections include the inlet, resonator, tubes, and outlet. 

The inlet is where the exhaust gases and sound wave enters the muffler. It is then transferred into the resonator, which acts as an echo chamber where the high waves meet with low sound waves and cancel themselves. 

After the resonator, the gases are transferred to the perforated tubes. It is where the general extent of the sound is determined, which is either loud or quiet. The tubes also help increase vehicle performance.

A muffler outlet is the last section in the muffler, which lets out the gases and also the rest of the exhaust sound. 

How Will Changing Mufflers Impact Your Car Sound?

Changing the muffler in your vehicle can alter the car’s sound, making it either louder or quieter. The sound you will get from changing the muffler depends on the type of muffler you change to. 

Different types of mufflers offer different sound impacts. There are many things to consider when getting a muffler that can affect the sound. The size of the muffler, design, type of muffler and more can determine the sound product of the muffler you will be getting. 

Also Read: Muffler Delete Ultimate Guide: Cost, Sound, Mileage & Power

5 Factors To Identify If A Muffler Will Be Louder Or Quieter

You must understand the factors that need to be identified if the muffler will be loud or quiet. It will help you choose the right muffler you desire for your vehicle. 

1. Size of the Muffler

Image of a muffler on exhaust

Big mufflers are quieter

One factor determining whether the muffler will be louder or quieter is its size. Bigger mufflers are much quieter than smaller mufflers. Bigger mufflers allow enough room to take in exhaust gases and sound waves. Once the exhaust gases are taken in, the gases are slowed down, and the dampening process can take place easily. 

On the other hand, smaller mufflers do not have the space to contain enough of the gases and sound waves. The gases are let out faster, which does not allow the muffler to slow down gases enough to create lower sound waves which will be used to cancel the sound made by faster gases with higher sound waves. 

2. Number of Mufflers

The number of mufflers can determine the extent to which the exhaust will be loud. Many people have the misconception that having two mufflers will make the vehicle quieter, and this is not true. 

A vehicle with two mufflers is often louder and has a deeper sound when compared to single mufflers. The type of pipe used with the mufflers will also play a prominent role in the sound it gives. For instance, using an x-pipe will give a louder raspy sound. 

3. Muffler type 

Glasspack mufflers

Straight through mufflers are extremely loud

There is a wide variety of mufflers available in the market today. Some are built to be quiet, while others have louder sounds. For instance, the stock mufflers that come with many vehicles are quieter. It is because they are designed to be bigger and accommodate more gases. 

However, high-performing mufflers are a lot louder when compared to the original parts. An example of a high-performing muffler is the absorptive muffler. It gives out a very aggressive sound due to its packing material that has absorption properties. 

It is also important to note that not all high-performance mufflers are loud. Some perform great when it comes to noise cancellation. For instance, the reactive style muffler, whose restrictive nature helps cancel exhaust sounds. 

Also Read: 5 Muffler Types Compared For Sound, Power & Mileage (Detailed)

4. Internal components 

Image of the internals of a muffler

Mufflers are built differently and have different internal components. Depending on the type of muffler, these internal components will determine how the muffler will perform when it comes to sound. 

The muffler’s internal design helps redirect gases and sound waves so that the sound is cancelled or a particular sound type is achieved. 

5. Shape of Muffler 

The shape of the muffler affects the sound of the exhaust. As we have mentioned earlier how the size of the muffler affects the sound, and the length of the muffler can also affect the sound it gives. A longer muffler will also be quieter than a shorter one because it can also take in more gases and sound waves. 

Type Of Mufflers For Quieter Sound

There are many types of mufflers that you can get to achieve a quieter sound. Depending on the vehicle you drive, even your stock muffler is built to achieve a much better sound. Below are three types of mufflers that provide quieter sounds. 

Also Read: 5 Muffler Types Compared For Sound, Power & Mileage (Detailed)

1. Chambered Muffler

Flowmaster muffler

A chambered muffler comes with chambers and plats that help to redirect the sound waves. The sound waves bounce off each chamber and plate. When the sound waves enter the mufflers, they split and bounce off the chambers. Once the sounds collide, they automatically cancel each other. The disadvantage of using a reactive muffler is that it can be restrictive and encourage the build-up of back pressure. 

2. Turbo muffler

Turbo mufflers

The best type of muffler to use if you want to achieve a quieter sound is the turbo or reverse-flow muffler. It combines the features of the glass pack muffler and the chambered muffler to achieve a quieter sound for your vehicle. It uses an S-shaped tube that the gases will pass through, where the sound wave is reflected and absorbed simultaneously before exiting the muffler. 

Type Of Loud Mufflers For Louder Sound

If you want to achieve a much louder sound for your exhaust, you should choose from the wide range of high-performing mufflers. Below are three types of mufflers for a louder sound. 

Also Read: Top 6 Loudest Mufflers (With Complete Sound Samples & Cost)

1. Straight-through or glass-pack muffler 

Glasspack mufflers

A straight-through muffler makes use of a straight tube that has been perforated. The tube contains unique materials that help dampen sound. The material includes wool or fibreglass. The longer the tubes are, the quieter it becomes. But straight through mufflers are generally very loud – regardless of the size. 

2. Chambered Muffler

Image of the internals of a muffler

Chambered mufflers can also be loud – depending on how the chambers are assembled inside. Generally, the lesser the chambers, the louder the sound. 

If you are interested in getting a louder muffler but not too loud like the straight-through, then get a chambered muffler from popular brands like Flowmaster.

Also Read: Best Performance Muffler 


Mufflers play a significant role in determining the sound of the vehicle. The general role of the muffler is to reduce the sound created by the engine through exhaust gases and sound waves. 

At present, the muffler serves more than just reducing the sound of the muffler. It could also cause your vehicle to sound louder. It increases the sound quality by giving it a more exotic sound. 

High-performance muffler parts majorly achieve increased sounds. There are a series of muffler types that can either significantly increase the vehicle’s sound or reduce it. 

Ifandi L.

Ifandi L.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

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