How to Repair Common Issues with an ATV Muffler

Repair common muffler issues with this handy guide. Your ATV is a go-anywhere vehicle that sometimes likes to break down. Common issues with ATV mufflers may seem like they can’t be repaired, but this is not the case. We explore how to repair common issues with ATV mufflers.

Mufflers are a crucial part of your ATV. They help to keep the engine running smoothly and quietly, but they can also break down over time and cause more problems than you want to deal with. If your muffler is broken or damaged, it's time for a little DIY repair work. In this post, we'll go through some common issues that occur with ATV mufflers and show you how to repair them.

atv muffler

What Is A Muffler?

A combustion powered ATV needs to expel exhaust gasses. The muffler acts as a way to remove gasses safely and to quieten down the noise of the ATV engine. Usually made from stainless steel, they add to the look of the ATV too. Some owners like to use aftermarket mufflers to make it louder or quieter, for performance, and show off their ATV in shows or out on the trails.

Common Issues with ATV Mufflers


The disturbing sound of a bang or pop, which hurts your eardrums - it is common for ATVs to backfire. Backfiring is caused by the air-fuel ratio being mixed incorrectly and occurring outside the combustion chamber. An explosion occurs in either the exhaust or intake manifold and can make the ATV switch off when backfiring.

Commonly these are caused by carburetors depositing fuel into your engine, faulty ignitions and timing, or a faulty fuel pump with high or low pressure – depending on your ATV setup.

It is not unusual to experience some backfiring on your ATV. Only when the backfiring happens more often does it raise concerns. Focusing on one root cause at time helps find the problem quicker. Although if you are not comfortable tweaking with your ATV fuel lines or engine parts, then take it to a professional and seek further advice.

How to Repair Backfiring

With Fuel/Air Mixture difference

Spark plugs ignite the precise mixture of air and fuel in your engine’s cylinders. Too much fuel or not enough air supplied means additional fuel can leak outside the combustion chamber which causes the backfire.

Over fueling in the combustion process could mean fuel is leaking somewhere, not enough air could mean components such as air filters, exhausts and vacuum piping is blocked and needs repair.

Not enough fuel and too much air can be caused by a different issue. Such as fuel filters being blocked or the carburetor oil needs replacing because it is old.

Fixing Blocked Carburetor

This need for repair is common for ATVs that have been sat for a while in storage. If fuel has been sat in your carburetor and tank it breaks down causing the passages to block. Both air and fuel cannot get through and causes a disproportion in air-fuel mixture and therefore backfiring.

To repair a blocked carburetor, use carb and choke cleaner. This can be easily bought online or in local parts stores. It aids in clearing the passages and intake to allow better air and fuel flow. To fully repair the carburetor, the casing and internals need to be cleaned too. With all the air and fuel lines being carefully measured for optimum flow, any blockages here will cause the muffler to backfire and the engine to splutter.

If you are ever unsure about dismantling your carburetor, take it to a local ATV mechanic who will have more experience in the repair of your clogged carburetor.

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Clogged Muffler

Exhaust gasses leave a deposit of material on the inside of your muffler. This builds up over time causing a decrease in gas flow and therefore a poor running ATV. Mufflers restrict airflow anyway as they quieten down the sound coming from the engine and reduce overall emissions coming from the back of the ATV.

How to fix Clogged Muffler

Some mufflers can be detached by unscrewing them at the base near the engine (make sure the ATVs is cold). From here start up your ATV and give it a few heavy engine revs whilst you are stationary, and this deposit should be cleared out. You will see some black smoke or soot deposited nearby so be careful when doing this.

Loud Muffler

Another common issue with ATV mufflers is they appear too loud for their users. Trail riding and racing ATVs is difficult in some areas due to noise pollution coming from loud mufflers. Four stroke ATVs are much louder than older engines, with performance muffler systems added, the sound can be enhanced even further. The overall goal is for ATV owners to have some fun whilst offering minimal disruption to locals. A repair to make your ATV muffler quieter goes a long way in achieving these.

How to Repair a Loud Muffler

Install Muffler Silencers

This is an easy but effective way of reducing noise coming from your muffler. Adding a silencer to your existing muffler takes under 10 minutes for most ATVs and can be removed easily when necessary. They are made with baffles and sound deadening materials and vary across different brands of ATV. Make sure to check its compatibility with your ATV muffler before starting the repair.

Add a Spark Arrestor

Used to reduce the risk of forest fires, spark arrestors lower the ATVs sound level too. As the meshed setup of the arrestor disrupts the sound waves as they exit the muffler. It is a simple tweak that reduces the sound level by 1-3dB.

Replace Stuffing on Existing Silencer

Most ATVs come with sound deadening already as a part of their muffler setup. Over time, the fiberglass sound dampening material gets covered in dirt, gets burned and becomes less effective. A useful repair is to replace this material with high temp silicone and repacking material that can be placed in your muffler. OEMs sell this as separate parts, so finding the solution for your ATV should be straightforward.

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