Your exhaust system is probably going to be the hottest part of your vehicle when the engine is running and after you shut it off. Exhaust systems are made to get hot and are made from materials that can withstand the heat.
What can’t withstand the heat is any part of your body or materials like plastic or rubber. So, what if your muffler gets hot? How high does the temperature rise? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!
How Hot Does a Muffler Get?
After an engine has warmed up to its operating temperature, it doesn’t take long for the muffler to reach an average of 900-degrees Fahrenheit. That’s enough to give a person some serious burns, and also enough to melt common everyday materials like plastic and rubber. Although mufflers are designed to withstand that kind of heat, most other everyday objects aren’t.
A muffler can reach temperatures of over 900-degrees, and should always be given time to cool down before someone works on or even touches them. For tips on how to handle a hot muffler, read on!
How Hot Does the Average Muffler Get?
An average muffler on an average car can get anywhere between 400-700-degrees Fahrenheit.
Of course, that temperature can change with vehicles that aren’t so average.
The bigger the engine, the more hot gasses will be expelled and flushed through the exhaust system.
This will make a muffler run much hotter, possibly as hot as 1200-degrees for a big truck, and as hot as 1600+ degrees for modified applications.
Something else that can make a muffler run extremely hot is the location of the muffler.
For instance, if you have a mid-engine vehicle, the muffler will be that much closer to the engine, causing it to get hotter.
Why Does a Muffler Get Red Hot?
This is a very rare problem, if there is a problem at all.
For high-performance applications, a glowing muffler could just mean you have been running it hard, the way it was designed to run.
However, if you don’t have a high-performance application, and your muffler is reaching temps so high that it makes the muffler glow, you probably have a timing problem, or your engine is running too lean.
Either way, both of these problems need to be fixed.
What Is the Hottest Part of the Exhaust System?
The hottest part of the exhaust system is not the muffler, but is the exhaust manifolds or headers that connect to the engine.
All exhaust parts that are closer to the engine will be hotter than the pieces of the exhaust that are by the rear, like the tailpipes.
Other parts of the exhaust system that tend to reach higher temperatures are the catalytic converters and the O2 sensors.
How Hot Does an ATV Muffler Get?
An ATV does have a considerably smaller engine than a car, but that does not mean that their exhaust pipes don’t get just as hot.
The mufflers are much closer to the engine, and depending on how hard you are riding one vs. how lean the engine is running, your ATV muffler can get anywhere from 900-1600-degrees after a long period of time running.
These exhaust systems can also be more problematic for human injury, because they are much more exposed and within human reach, more so than a vehicle muffler.
How Hot Does a Lawn Mower Muffler Get?
Whether it’s on a tractor or a push lawn mower, these mufflers still get up to 300-600-degrees after running for some time.
Although not as hot as a vehicle or an ATV muffler, that is still hot enough to burn the skin off a human.
How Hot Does a Diesel Muffler Get?
A diesel muffler will get about as warm as a regular gas-burning vehicle’s muffler.
Anywhere from 350-700 degrees is pretty normal for a diesel, although they might run a little cooler because they create much more torque at lower RPM levels.
How Hot Is Too Hot for an Exhaust?
Most exhaust systems can tolerate 1200-degrees Fahrenheit, and some exhaust systems can tolerate even more, possibly up to 2000+ degrees on racing applications.
However, it’s not normal for your normal vehicle’s exhaust system to get so hot that it glows.
If you have this problem, you’re driving your vehicle too hard, and or you might want to have it checked out for other issues.
Can a Muffler Overheat?
A muffler can go bad and overheat, causing the engine to overheat.
When it starts to affect the engine, you could be causing yourself headaches you want nothing to do with.
So, when you notice you have a problem with an overheating muffler or engine, you’ll want to get to the dealership/auto shop as soon as possible to save yourself from any expensive damaged engine parts.
How Long Does It Take for a Muffler to Cool?
The muffler itself shouldn’t take too long to cool, maybe about 45-minutes.
But other parts on an exhaust system like the O2 sensors, catalytic converter, or the headers/exhaust manifolds could take up to an hour.
How Do I Fix High Exhaust Temperatures?
Lowing the temperature of your exhaust could be as easy as getting an aftermarket muffler that promotes more flow.
The less restriction on the exhaust flow will also create a little more horsepower, torque, and better gas mileage.
When changing your muffler, you can also go with bigger diameter exhaust pipes to create an even better flow. The only trade-off here is that exhaust systems aren’t cheap.
To learn more, you can also read our posts on types of headlights, wheels alignment symptoms, and most expensive tires.
For any muffler that goes on an internal combustion engine – after running for about 5-minutes – they will have heated up enough to burn the skin of a human.
After about 20-minutes, they will have heated up enough to melt materials like rubber and plastic. The best thing to do when it comes to a muffler that has been running is not to touch it for at least 20-minutes while it cools down.