How to Remove an Exhaust Silencer

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What You'll Need
Automotive grease
Shop rag

An exhaust silencer is installed on a vehicle in the muffler or tailpipe to reduce engine noise. If you want to make your vehicle more noticeable, removing the exhaust silencer is a quick way to do it. The roar of the engine will turn heads as you go down the street. Silencers are usually attached with very simple mechanisms such as clamps or screws. However, when removing the silencer you must take care not to bend or damage the engine pipe. Lube up the silencer with grease if necessary and work it out gently. You may wish to reinstall it someday.

Step 1 - Check for Regulatory Compliance

Before removing your exhaust silencer, make sure that the proposed changes won’t result in fines and citations. The EPA may have strict emissions regulations in your state. You can always remove the silencer gently and then have the vehicle tested at a shop. If the vehicle fails an emissions test without the silencer you can reinstall it or redesign the exhaust system. Municipal codes may contain noise ordinances that police use to control loud parties, loud music, and loud vehicles. You are far less likely to be ticketed on the highway or interstate.

Step 2 - Locate Fastener

Lime green reflection on chrome tailpipe

Check your exhaust system to determine the style, number, and placement of fasteners holding the silencer in place. Do you have a one-piece exhaust system or a muffler? The silencer is usually just a plug located in the tailpipe. It will be held in place with a screw or Allen bolt. Look at the exhaust tip at eye level. There is usually a bolt holding it to the frame. If your car still has the manufacturer’s stock exhaust system, you will also likely find bolts on the clamp that holds the pipe to the frame.

Step 3 - Remove Fasteners

Use your screwdriver or wrench to remove the bolt between the silencer and frame first. Remove the bolt at the clamp second if applicable. Now, gently wiggle the silencer out without bending the tailpipe. If it won’t move, try lubricating it with engine grease and pushing or pulling it with a wire coat hanger. If it’s really stuck, you can yank it out with pliers. However, this will ruin the silencer. This is only a concern if you wish to save the silencer for future reinstallation.

Step 4 - Clean Exhaust Tip

Removing the exhaust silencer probably knocked loose some rust, soot, and debris. There may also be leftover grease in the tailpipe. Clean the exhaust tip with WD-40 and a shop rag or wire brush. Check all the joints holding the pipe bends together and the fasteners holding the exhaust pipe to the vehicle frame. Make any corrections necessary and start the vehicle. The engine should now make a much louder sound.