I have a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. About 3 days ago, I was on my way to work and the muffler got very loud very fast. I’m thinking it needs replaced, but I don’t get paid until Friday. Is it safe to drive the car until I have the money to replace the muffler? I drive about 35-40 miles one way to school and work.
There are two issues. One would be a problem with leakage into the cabin. I would suggest driving with a window open. The other could be a clogged exhaust. If the car seems to be loosing power I would suggest not driving it until it is fixed due to possible engine damage.
A leaking exhaust system is potentially dangerous, since exhaust fumes can be drawn into the car. Since we don’t know where the leak is it’s hard to estimate how dangerous this might be. I suggest you get the exhaust system repaired as soon as you can. This is not something to gamble with.
Having said that, some people drive around for weeks with leaking exhaust systems.
I’d keep the windows open to maximize the fresh air until you get it fixed.
It does sound (no pun intended) like your muffler needs to be replaced.
However, the sudden increase in noise could be from a failed gasket on your exhaust manifold, a crack in the manifold, or a problem with the exhaust pipe, rather than the muffler. Only an on-site examination by a mechanic will tell the tale of exactly what the nature of the problem may be.
Yes, you need to have this evaluated a.s.a.p.
Yes, you can probably survive a few days with this situation, as long as you drive with at least one window open at all times. Even if you don’t smell exhaust fumes inside the car, it is still very possible to have Carbon Monoxide (which is odorless) seeping into the interior.
If it does turn out that your muffler needs to be replaced, then you might want to modify your driving habits. The aluminized mufflers on modern cars tend to last a very long time–unless someone does a lot of short-trip, local driving. That type of driving causes excess water vapor (from the normal combustion process) to remain in the muffler, as it is not burned off by longer drives. However, since you are driving 35-40 miles each way, twice a day, that should be able to evaporate excess moisture in your muffler.