Muffler repair

My 2000 Chevy Malibu recently started sounding like a tank, so I suspected I needed a new muffler. I was not able to get in to my preferred mechanic, so I took it to a local Monro Muffler shop. I left it & the technician called later with the verdict: the muffler was factory & the break was in the “mid-pipe” so he would have to replace the entire assembly…to a tune of over $800! The only other option, he said, was to cut a flange & somehow connect the new muffler to said pipe, & he “didn’t think I’d want him to cut into my new muffler”. This type of repair would be closer to $200. I informed him I didn’t have 800 bucks for car repair right now, (my 14 year old car is scarcely worth that), thought about just going to get it & trying another shop, but relented & told him the 200 dollar repair would have to do. So, he fixed it & it sounds fine. BUT, I looked under the car, & it looks like the same old muffler to me. I thought he was going to install a new one! Did I get taken?

There wasn’t a problem with the muffler but instead with the pipe going to the muffler. So that is what was replaced.

This is a common practice in the exhaust business when the pipe going to the muffler rots out but the muffler itself is fine.


Why not go to your trusted mechanic that you couldn’t get in to, and ask if he can take a look.
He should be understanding if you explain that you just couldn’t wait for an appointment with him. Or just blame it on some relative that borrowed your car and they had the muffler work done.

Either way, You may be looking at the catalitic converter instead of the muffler.

I think you were treated fairly. The car is fixed and $200 is not out of line for what was done.

I think he did you an honest favor. A lot of shops would have insisted that the entire system needed to be replaced.

For the record, these type of repairs are so common that there are countless types of “spit clamps” made specifically for them. They clamp around the cut pipe’s outside and create a flange to bolt to the existing flange. Generally a woven metal gasket will be installed between the two to form a seal. The gaskets used to be asbestos, but that’s a story for another thread.

I attached a link with photos.

Thats not a bad price,there probably wasnt anything wrong with the muffler so he put it back on,it sounds like it was the pipe that was leaking.
Most shops wont do any kind of "custom" work like that if you wont pay for the factory parts to replace the broken parts they will refuse to do any work at all.

I agree with Tester. However, I do think you may be back to the well in short order. Mid-pipes do not just rust out in isolation. The rest of the system is likely not far behind. There’s a reason the guy suggested replacing the entire she-bang from the mid-pipe on back. It’s 14 years old and that muffler has seen better days. Although he could save the muffler on back, it’s probably not all that long for this world either.

Most of the better shops around here will saw out the cancer, fabricate a new length of connector pipe and then use a spreader to open up the cut ends so they slip together. Then a quick weld job and you’re on your way. Assuming you’re working on a budget and trying to get by as cheaply as possible…