Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Exhaust and muffler replacement cost

rusted muffler

Muffler replacement cost

When drivers ask about muffler replacement cost they’re usually not referring to just the muffler, but exhaust components like exhaust pipes, flex pipe, catalytic converter and the brackets and isolators that hold them in place. Shops quite often recommend replacing those pipes along with the muffler because the labor required to separate old rusted pipes costs more than replacing them with new parts. So let’s take a look at what goes into calculating muffler replacement cost.

How much does a muffler cost?

Most late model cars and trucks were built with either stainless steel or aluminized exhaust parts. Mufflers made from these materials cost more than older muffler styles made from plain steel sheets and tubes. But stainless steel and aluminized products last almost four times longer.

Aftermarket mufflers (made by companies other than the carmaker) are equal or better than the factory muffler, so there’s no reason to have exhaust or muffler work performed at the dealer. Let’s compare exhaust parts prices for a 2005 Ford Taurus. The retail price of a genuine Ford resonator and muffler combination is $560.40 (Part #6 in the illustration Ford part 4F1Z5230BA). The labor guide shows 2.4

exhaust diagram

hours to remove and install this part. With a typical dealer labor rate of $125/hr. this muffler replacement cost totals exhaust repair cost comes to $860 plus exhaust gaskets, hangers and muffler clamps. Ford lists this muffler a one-piece unit. But aftermarket suppliers offer the parts separately.

Walker Exhaust is a major aftermarket supplier of high quality exhaust parts. For this 2005 Ford Taurus application the shop would need resonator #48325 ($200), extension pipe #52222 ($26) and muffler #21386 ($170), for a total parts cost of $396. Muffler shops’ labor rates are lower than dealer shops, averaging around $90/hr. So a muffler shop would charge $612 for the same repair.

muffler replacement cost

However, we’ve assumed that you really need all those parts. Where the dealer is limited to installing a one-piece unit, muffler shops can replace just the muffler. You’ll pay a bit more in labor to cut off the old muffler and prepare the pipe to accept a new unit, but you’ll also save the cost of all those extra parts. In this case, you could pay less than $300 for a new muffler.

Best place to get muffler and exhaust work

In my opinion, chain operated muffler shops are the worst place to go for exhaust work. Most are franchised shops that pay hefty advertising fees to the franchisor. Even with discount coupons, you’ll most likely pay more for exhaust work at these shops than at an independently owned muffler shop. The chain operated shop will have a nicer cleaner waiting room, but you’ll pay dealer for that.

How about your local independently owned mechanical repair shop? Sure, they can do exhaust and muffler work. But that’s the smallest part of their business. Their labor rates are higher and they don’t have the specialized welding and tube bending equipment you’ll find in a muffler shop. In most cases, they don’t even stock exhaust parts.

If you read my posts regularly, you’ll know that I recommend buying tires at a tire shop, brake jobs at a mechanical shop, and in this case, exhaust and muffler work at a muffler shop.

To learn more about exhaust system components and what they do, see this post.

©, 2017 Rick Muscoplat



Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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