Muffler Splint





Introduction: Muffler Splint

About: Architect/designer based between Chicago and SE Minnesota. Resource based problem solver... in other words, I always take a minute to peek in construction dumpsters :)

How to secure a loss muffler with an aluminum can.

It's Simple. In two steps you're car will go from scaring children to humming like an angel.

Follow these steps or do a better job by using multiple cans to make a more sturdy splint. I'm three weeks in and the splint is holding up beautifully. Here's how!

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Thanks to the sponsor of a local design event. A month ago Green Sheep Water sponsored a Creative Mornings event at Leo Burnett in Chicago. Thanks to all involved especially the team who has organized for years in Chicago and around the globe.



  • Aluminum can - any will do. Use multiple to build up more material and a stronger splint
  • Hose clamps - 3-5"

Step 2: Can Prep

Snips aren't even necessary. If you're handy with a knife you can easily prep the can. Take caution when working with sharp edges.

The can is the exact diameter of the pipe so it's easy to match. Additional layers help build up a more substantial support.

Step 3: Pipe Prep

The pipe will have rusted and swelled at the break. Clean off the rust using a wire brush.

The photo shows my poor prep work that was accomplished with a pliers. If I need to replace the splint I'll use a wire brush.

Step 4: Secure the Splint

Apply a hose clamp on each side of the break. I held back on securing as tightly as possible because I was concerned my poorly prepped surface would tear the can. The can is most durable as a solid piece and if torn will become significantly less dependable.

Will comment over the coming weeks if the single can breaks and I need to replace it with multiple layers.

Good luck and thanks again to the folks at Creative Mornings and Green Sheep!


--if you want to make things easier you can always buy a muffler coupler :)



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    Great instructable! I have used a similar method many times with good results and longevity though my way uses a tin can and tie wire. The tin can is a bit more rigid than an aluminum can and tie wire is simply a "must have" in everyone's car trunk...not just to secure the can but sometimes to rehang the whole exhaust system!

    good for temporary fix aluminum and steel don't play well together you get galvanic reaction the heat and moisture from the exhaust (water is a byproduct of combustion ) will make the rusty parts rot faster.

    2 replies

    When I was younger I had several of these kinds of patches on various cars over the years. Aluminum does corrode pretty quickly, especially with heat added to the equation and the extreme thinness of soda cans (around three or four thousandths of an inch). My solution was to switch to steel soup/coffee cans; no galvanic corrosion, plus thicker material = longer lasting repair. The tin plating also keeps normal rust at bay for a while.

    Thank you - did a quick google search but didn't find anything. Had dealt with a similar issue before with pex connections to copper.

    Instead the aluminum can, you can grab a junk piece of steel tubing slightly bigger than the exhaust pipe, make one cut through it from end to end, which makes it a little more flexible when you're going to clamp it, make a tight seal around it, like a C shape

    One can also buy pipe sections from auto supply stores, in various sizes, lengths, straight and curved. That's my shot of an "S" curve fix

    1 reply

    Thats's great! Thanks for sharing and posting a photo

    Paint cans or any cans which hold pressure (brake parts cleaner, fix a flat can) are all good. I would use some JB Weld or similar repair putty to seal holes. Chances are, though, if one area of your muffler has rusted through, the rest will soon follow.

    2 replies

    Don't even bother wasting money on jb weld or other exhaust patch putty. it will just fall off. This is an OK fix to get through the week. If you want to save money, buy a used flux core welder and learn to weld. you can fix stuff like this in a few hours. won't be pretty but it will be secure.

    Thank you both!

    Thuzil, any recommendations? The harbor freight cheapo welders are always the right price but no word on the quality. What do you use?

    Looks familiar. That's a West Virginia bandaid! lol! :)

    The first day I had my driver's license, the muffler fell off of my grandmother's car while I was borrowing it. My friend's dad put it back on for me using hose clamps and an old dog food can. I told my grandma what happened, and even though she never got the muffler properly replaced, it still passed emissions tests and sounded like nothing had happened to the exhaust. I wouldn't suggest doing this with aluminum for a long term fix, but steel cans seem to work very well.

    1 reply

    Cheers TG!

    Appreciate the example and think you're right that a more durable can would provide for a better option. Will look for other materials if I have to re-patch.

    A better idea is to replace the muffler so you don't get a defect notice and an impounded car... Nice idea tho, some mufflers get really hot maybe use steel not alluminium

    1 reply

    $500-$1000 vs. $5. The choice for some people is obvious. If you've got the money to throw at it I doubt you'd be searching for this instructable. I don't think anyone believes that this is a permanent fix.