What is the "hair" that appears to be coming out of my tailpipe?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 2003

Dear Tom and Ray:

This morning I went to my car to find that it had grown what appeared to be "hair" from the tailpipe. It was about 10 inches long and gray, with brown highlights. I had to get to class for a test, so I gave my car a haircut with my Swiss army knife. I tried to pull the rest out of the tailpipe, but it wouldn't budge. I am continuing to drive my car. What came out of the back end of my car? Should I get it checked? Any advice on how to tell a mechanic about this without sounding like I've lost my mind? -- Samantha

RAY: Well, Samantha, the first thing I'd do is contact Sy Sperling at the Hair Club for Men to see about becoming a supplier. If this continues, you could pay off your student loans, and then some.

TOM: We've actually seen this before, Samantha. It's muffler hair. Some cars (we've seen it on Hondas) use a fibrous insulating material as a sound deadener in their mufflers. When the muffler starts to deteriorate, the stuff starts to come off, and it heads out through the tailpipe. And you're right -- it looks and feels just like hair. I find it quite disgusting and creepy, actually.

RAY: What it's made of, I don't know. But now that you mention it, I have seen a large fleet of Accords in the Hair Club for Men parking lot.

TOM: So, what to do? In the short run, I'd apply some leave-in conditioner. That'll make it more manageable.

RAY: Actually, you can keep driving the car, but this means that your muffler is on the way out. And sooner rather than later, the car is going to get real loud. So if you've got the money, you might as well replace the muffler now, Samantha.

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