How To Make A Quiet Muffler For A Small Engine

Have you ever been to a car show and noticed that some of the most expensive cars on display are also the noisiest? It’s not just because they’re more powerful. There is a science behind it. 

A noisy exhaust system can indicate horsepower, but it can also indicate that the engine is running at its best efficiency.

The reason for this has to do with how sound waves travel through the air and interact with each other in different ways depending on whether there is a boundary or obstruction present (think about placing your hand over one end of an empty soda bottle). 

What happens when you have something like a muffler that blocks off all sound waves coming out from within? You get an even louder noise outside! 

That’s because the muffler also absorbs some sound waves that would have been gone if there was no muffler at all. This guide aims to show you what you can do to make a quiet muffler that allows some sound waves out and absorbs a lot of them.

How to Make A Quiet Muffler For A Small Engine – Full Guideline

Estimated cost: $50

Estimated time: About an hour (longer if you need to drill holes in your kitchen pot)

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • An old cooking pot
  • Some aluminum foil
  • X-Acto Knife or a sharp object
  • A soda can or other metal containers with a diameter of around 2 inches 
  • Some packing tape 
  • A drill with a thin bit 
  • An assistant (optional)

Steps on Making A Quiet Muffler for A Small Engine


Step 1. Gather your tools and materials

Gather around everything you need. It’s time to get busy and create a muffler that will envy all other car owners!

Step 2. Remove The Bottom Part (or don’t)

Go ahead now and remove the base from your cooking pot to just the top piece with any handle attached. You’ll also want to remove the lid of your old soda can. 

Why did I say “old” soda can? Because if it isn’t too old, use an X-Acto knife or another sharp object to make a small hole in the side near one edge of the rim; this will let air escape as you drill through later on. 

Don’t worry about this for now though. We don’t even have our new muffler put together yet, let alone installed on a car! 

Step 3. Make the Casing Part of Your Muffler

This is where things get messy! Go ahead and open up that package of aluminum foil (if you haven’t already) and bust out those scissors. Take one sheet of foil and crumple it up into a ball, then flatten it out again. 

Fold this piece of foil in half lengthwise from top to bottom, then unfold it and do the same thing on the other side so that you have a strip of foil that’s about two inches wide by six inches long (or however long your soda can is).

Step 4. Tape to The Inside of Your Muffler

This is the time-consuming part. You’ll need to take your whole strip of foil and tape it to the inside of the top of your muffler.

 To do this, use a single piece of medium strength or low-strength packing tape (it doesn’t matter) and first cover one end with a length of tape that’s about six inches long or so. 

Then go ahead and fold up the strip over itself three times on each side, as best you can, towards the center. Repeat this process until you’ve reached the other end where you started. 

When done correctly, as far as aesthetics are concerned, there should be a noticeable overlap in your foldings at every turn but not so much that they start bunching up on the inside. Then go ahead and flip over your muffler to look at the underside. 

Stick a piece of tape on each corner, or in the middle, if you’re using packing tape with dispensers attached for easier application, to hold everything down tight as well as add some extra support. 

That’s it! You’ve made your noise-suppressor muffler (if you didn’t skip Step 2). 

Step 5. Use a Drill to Make an Opening Through The Bottom of Your Muffler

Take that drill with its thin bit attachment and begin drilling from the top down towards that hole you made in your soda can earlier.

 If all goes well, after a few seconds, you should be able to see the light coming out from underneath where your drill bit made a hole. Go ahead and flip your muffler upside down now so that the bottom part is facing up. 

(You did remember to remove that bottom part, right?) 

Step 6. Get a Friend, or Get Your Engine Ready!

Get an adult who is close by and able to help you hold the muffler steady while keeping their composure so that they can hear what you say with your face close to theirs.

This is because once we finish drilling, we’ll fill up the hole with a screw and then tape it over to make sure nothing comes spilling out. 

Step 7. Fill That Hole!

Take your drill again and put whatever you can on top of whatever it is you’re drilling into so as to stabilize it while adding pressure using your hands or feet. 

You don’t want this thing to move while you’re drilling! Now just begin slowly feeding the screw into the hole you’ve made. 

Once it’s in, make sure that it’s level with the rest of the muffler and not sticking out towards an edge (it’ll get cut off later). 

Now take some medium strength or low-strength packing tape and wrap it around your muffler and the screw you just put in as well as whatever else might be sticking out of there. If it screws in flush with the top, you won’t need to worry about this.

Step 8. Get Ready To Go!

Now, you’ll want to attach this new muffler to an old car or lawnmower engine using whatever means necessary (screws, in my case).

 The next step will be optional, but it makes the whole experience more fun for those of us with younger kids who don’t know how cars really work yet! 

You can tell your kid that we’re going to put a few drops of water in our car’s gas tank and turn on the ignition switch – what does all this do? I think you know by now… 

Optional Step: Fill Up Your Car With Water!

This is an optional step, but it’s definitely worth it for the looks you’ll get from people watching you drive by as they realize that there’s no smoke coming out of your muffler and hearing all that quiet running inside. 

Step 9. Let It Rip!

For those of you who did not choose to install the above optional step, simply attach your muffler to the thing that needs a muffler (engine) and goes ahead and start it up. 

For those of us who chose the above optional step, well… Why don’t we just pretend I forgot how much fun this part was! 

Step 10. Voila! You Have Created A Quiet Muffler For A Small Engine!

There you have it; if everything went according to plan, your small engine should be running with no noise coming from its exhaust port(s). 

And while you’re at it, why don’t you take out that X-Acto knife and make some little holes in any other parts of your new muffler that make noise? 

Test Out Your New, Quiet Muffler!

This can be done anywhere, but why not do it at a place where you need that quiet muffler the most? You could mow your lawn or even go on a road trip! Or just run around in circles.

There’s no doubt that you’ll want to try out your new muffler right away! Just remember to be careful walking around with a scalding hot engine running, because those things actually get really hot (don’t ask me how I know)! 

Add Sound Effects!

If you’d like to add some sound effects for your kids’ enjoyment, make sure you’ve got the timing down and then explain the process.

 They may even come up with their own ideas about what kind of sounds should happen when! One trick is simply using a balloon or two and blowing into them while holding them near your muffler. 

You can also use a wooden spoon or dowel and smack the engine’s casing with it while it’s running, and this can make some neat sounds!


How can I make my small engine exhaust quieter?

Answer: To make a small engine exhaust quieter, find a muffler to fit the engine. You can make one from sheet metal, or you can buy one at an automotive supply store. 

Can you put a car muffler on a small engine?

Answer: Yes, you can put a car muffler on a small engine. The muffler is the part of the exhaust system that reduces noise from an engine. 


“The quieter the better” is what you’ll hear when someone’s talking about a muffler. Mufflers are typically found on cars, but it doesn’t have to stop there! 

In this article, we talked about how installing a car muffler on an engine can make your small engine exhaust quieter. Hope you enjoyed it. Good luck and happy muffling!

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