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Why You Should Do a Muffler Sound Test

How do you feel about the sound of your exhaust system?

Most after-market systems are quiet and functional. However, many drivers modify their systems to create a unique and guttural sound every time they give their engine a rev. While you may find joy in the sound your exhaust system makes, your neighbours may not be so appreciative.

Doing a muffler sound test is a great way to ensure that your vehicle operates within a legal decibel limit. Otherwise, you may be looking at citations and fines.

Otherwise, performing a muffler sound test can also ensure that your vehicle is performing the way you want it to.

How To Do a Muffler Sound Test

The first step in performing a muffler sound test is to acquire a decibel meter, which is available to buy from online retailers or from automotive stores.

Local mechanics may also rent them out, so it’s worth getting in contact to see if you can borrow one instead of purchasing it.

Once you have your decibel meter, you need to prepare a test spot in order to measure the muffler sound. 

Park your running vehicle on a solid flat surface that is at least 25 feet away from any building or enclosed wall – this will prevent help to avoid an echo.

Place the microphone of the decibel meter on an even level with the center of the muffler exhaust opening and about 20 inches behind the tailpipe at a 45-degree angle to the opening.

Make sure the microphone is not in the direct gas path from the exhaust.

Set the decibel meter weighting to human ear frequencies then set the range for the legal limit. This will help ensure you stay within noise legislation laws in your area.

Once everything is set up and in place, rev your vehicle’s engine to 50-75% of the safe RPM limit.

Check the decibel meter – the number shown is your exhaust’s sound level (give or take 10 decibels).

While the procedure is easy to do, it may not be possible for vehicle owners to get their hands on the equipment and space necessary to perform the test.

A licensed exhaust technician can perform a muffler sound test in a proper environment with high-quality equipment.

Why You Should Do a Muffler Sound Test

Now that we’ve gone over how to perform a muffler sound test, here are two good reasons why you should have one done:

Noise Legislation

Noise legislation is probably the most obvious reason you should do a muffler sound test, especially if you have a custom exhaust system that produces more sound.

While noise laws differ from area to area, the general consensus is that loud vehicles are not appreciated by law enforcement and communities.

For instance, in Edmonton, loud noises that are characterized as a nuisance to the general public are dealt with as a community disorder issue. 

Fines for this violation can reach $250.00.

Check with your local jurisdiction to see what the thresholds are for exhaust noise to ensure that you do not break any by-laws.

Required Performance

The intake system, as well as the exhaust system, are important contributing factors to engine noise character and sound-pressure level so they should be tuned to meet the required performance.

The engine sound quality should be suited for the particular vehicle type. For example, powerful and sporty cars should be louder during acceleration and silent during constant-speed driving.

Keep in mind that replacing your exhausts in order to enhance performance may not necessarily work – louder exhausts that are too wide for your vehicle’s make and model will not increase gas velocity.

If you are looking for a louder exhaust sound, but want to increase the performance of your vehicle, your best bet is to take your car to a qualified tuner to advise you on the proper modifications as well as tune your engine to complement a louder exhaust system.

How to Quiet an Exhaust Without Losing Performance

If your vehicle is registering high decibels when it comes to your exhaust, and you want to avoid the risk of a hefty fine, you can always quiet your exhaust system without losing performance.

One way of doing this is to sound-proof your muffler. You can use materials like steel scrubs, fiberglass packing or metal wool to dampen the sound.

However, if you’re not sure how to do this, don’t attempt it yourself – you’ll risk causing damage to the exhaust system.

Instead, get in touch with one of our licensed technicians to have your exhaust sound-proofed without damaging your vehicle.

You can also have our expert mechanics install a muffler silencer, which narrows down the space in which exhaust noise travels through. 

This is a great alternative to sound-proofing your muffler or replacing the system entirely.

How Does Your Engine Sound?

If you’re concerned about how loud your exhaust system is, or simply want to ensure that it’s working at optimal levels, feel free to book an appointment with Park Mufflers!


Save time at the shop by booking ahead.



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  • Serving Sherwood Park, Edmonton, and area since 1979
  • 25-bay service centre
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  • Same day service for most repairs and maintenance
  • Open Saturdays

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