Mufflers are installed within the exhaust system of most internal combustion engines, although the muffler is not designed to serve any primary exhaust function. The muffler is engineered as an acoustic soundproofing device designed to reduce the loudness of the sound pressure created by the engine by way of Acoustic quieting. The majority of the sound pressure produced by the engine is emanated out of the vehicle using the same piping used by the silent exhaust gases absorbed by a series of passages and chambers lined with roving fiberglass insulation and/or resonating chambers harmonically tuned to cause destructive interference wherein opposite sound waves cancel each other out. An unavoidable side effect of muffler use is an increase of back pressure which decreases engine efficiency. This is because the engine exhaust must share the same complex exit pathway built inside the muffler as the sound pressure that the muffler is designed to mitigate.
Some vehicle owners remove or install an aftermarket muffler when engine tuning in order to increase power output or reduce fuel consumption because of economic or environmental concerns, recreational pursuits such as motorsport and hypermiling and/or for personal aesthetic acoustical preferences. Although the legality of altering a motor vehicle's OEM exhaust system varies by jurisdiction, in most developed parts of the world, modification of a vehicle's exhaust system is usually highly regulated if not strictly prohibited.
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