Auto repairs are often difficult to detect for those who are inexperienced with the inner workings of cars. But that’s not the case with all parts on a car especially the muffler. You won’t need special training or an automotive computer diagnostic system to figure out when a muffler should be replaced.

You will need to use your senses of hearing, sight, and smell in order to understand the signs your car will give you that something is not right with your muffler. Here are a few things to be on the lookout for:

1. The purpose of the muffler is to reduce sounds of your exhaust system made by your car’s internal combustion engine. Unless you drive a high-performance sports car that makes a considerable amount of noise when it runs, you’ll be able to spot a problem should you hear a loud muffler or at least one that is noticeably louder than usual. This is a clear sign that it’s time to have your muffler inspected by a professional.

2. Another sound to pay particular attention for is a new noise like rattling. Most of us have driven next to a car slowing down for a stop light and heard this rattling noise at some point. This rattling sound can be serious. It may mean that your exhaust system is not aligned correctly or it may be loose. If this noise is occurring with your car, then take it in to a qualified technician right away.

3. Have you ever parked your car and heard a “ticking” sound underneath your car right after turning off the ignition? Most likely you have. However, it you hear a different ticking noise that you’re used to, this could be a red flag of a problem with some part of your exhaust system such as a loose exhaust manifold. Again, different ticking noises than normal are indicators that it’s time to have your muffler checked out by a pro.

4. Mufflers and exhaust systems play an important role in your car. If they’re not properly maintained, holes or cracks can allow exhaust fumes and even carbon monoxide to enter your passenger compartment. So if you encounter fumes and smells while in your car with your windows rolled up, that’s another sign to go have your muffler inspected at your nearby garage.

It’s important to pay close attention to the sounds of your car. When you understand the warning signs, it’s easy to know when it’s time to let a professional take a look at your muffler and have it replaced.