So... what's with the hair coming out of Linda's muffler?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 2008

Dear Tom and Ray:

Please help me. I have a 1996 Honda Accord that runs great -- no complaints. However, this morning, coming back to my car in a parking lot, I noticed some long hair or fur hanging out from my exhaust pipe. I removed some of it, and a kind gentleman pulled some more out and thought he got all of it. After driving 60 miles back home, I parked the car in the garage and noticed a lot more hair/fur hanging out of the same exhaust pipe. It is long, soft-black/gray/white hair or fur. I noticed a foul smell in the trunk as I was getting the groceries out. Please, what could this be, and how did something -- an animal of some kind -- get in there? Did it get in from another part of the car, like somewhere under the hood? I am afraid to touch the car again. Who do I go to or call to get this taken care of? Thank you so much. -- Linda

TOM: Call the Hair Club for Men, Linda. You might be able to sell this stuff and supplement your income.

RAY: Did the "kind gentleman" happen to mention anything about being a president and a client? He might have been Sy Sperling.

TOM: What you've got actually is something we refer to as muffler hair, Linda. It seems to be unique to Hondas. At least, those are the only cars we've seen with flowing muffler locks.

RAY: Honda apparently uses some sort of insulation in its mufflers that looks an awful lot like human or animal hair. It's not hair. It's probably fiberglass, or some such thing. It's used to keep the baffles in the muffler from rattling when the muffler starts to get old and the parts loosen up.

TOM: But when the interior of the muffler really begins to disintegrate, the baffles no longer hold the insulation (i.e., muffler hair) in place, and it gets pushed out the tailpipe.

RAY: This leads to a fair number of blood-curdling screams coming from people's garages when they go out in the morning and think Grandma has been stuffed up the tailpipe.

TOM: So, it means you need a new muffler, Linda. In the meantime, try putting it up in a bun or something so it doesn't look unruly.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One