Home » Why Your Car Might Poop Out Hair

Why Your Car Might Poop Out Hair

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Hair where hair is not expected is, generally, disturbing. This goes doubly so for when hair is discovered in non-biological contexts, because if you’re suddenly finding hair in or on or around anything other than a mammalian something (perhaps arachnid or insect, if we count like fuzzy tarantulas) that usually means things have gone very, very wrong, often dangerously so.

Seeing lots of hair where hair should not be is the stuff of nightmares, which is why I was so surprised that I wasn’t familiar with the strange and deeply unsettling phenomenon where one’s car can, effectively, crap out hair. From the exhaust pipe, and like, a lot of hair. Wigs and wigs worth! It’s terrible, I hate it, so now let me show you!

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I came across the phenomenon doing some sort of search, I can’t recall exactly what for, but it must have been perverse enough to land me on search results full of confused people talking about hair coming from their exhaust pipes:

Searcheresults

Yes, friend, WTF indeed! Looking at the images that are associated with this doesn’t do anything to make you feel less creeped out, either:

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Screenshot: Google

Look at all the shades of hair! Brunettes and blondes, silvery strands and all sorts of extremely natural-looking sort of hair color combinations. These look like hair, like human hair. Video of the muffler hair just reinforces the sensation that you’re looking at lots and lots of long human hair being pulled out of your car’s anus:

Prefer chestnut brown hair? I gotchu:

This is all so hair-like that there’s at least one case of a person calling the police because they found what they thought was human hair in their car’s exhaust pipe. From the article:

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“Deborah Lieber was planning a party last Thursday (10 February) when her husband William returned home looking ‘visibly rattled’ with a large ‘clump of hair’ in his hand.

He explained that he had pulled it out of the exhaust of his 2016 Ford Expedition and the couple, from Wisconsin rushed out to the driveway, where A&E doctor William continued to fish the lifelike locks from the vehicle.

Fearful there may somehow be human remains in their family car, they called the police – who were equally baffled by the discovery.”

The cops were even baffled! So what the hell is going on here, anyway?

You’ve likely guessed this already, but this stuff isn’t human hair. It’s fiberglass, and it’s used for sound deadening inside the muffler itself. You can see a good example of this in this video from our pal, The Humble Mechanic, who cuts open a muffler and reveals the matted hair-like mass of fiberglass sound absorption material:

If you don’t have the stomach to watch a muffler dissection, here’s a shot of the big hairy mass:

Mufflerhair Cutaway

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Really, that just looks like the inside of a barber’s trash can. You can also see in the comments to that video that several people were freaked out by the “hair”:

This was a big help as we had no idea what was inside the tail pipe of our car and thought it was an animal that crawled in such as a skunk. That fiberglass certainly does resemble skunk hair. Thanks so much for educating me. I’ll be sore to watch more of your car tips

and

“I just bought a 2010 Ford Transit Connect so I can convert it into a weekend camper. On Friday I saw “hair” coming out my tailpipe!!! I was so shocked and terrified, I didn’t know what to think! I still don’t know EXACTLY what is wrong but I have a theory considering how loud it is, even in idle and how much gas i run through… I think I need a new muffler or catalytic converter, or both! “

and

“it happened with someone car at work/ we thought an animal was in the muffler”

This is all just anecdotal, but based on the frequency that this gets mentioned online, I think it’s even more important to discuss muffler hair, because it’s clearly something that is disturbing and confusing an awful lot of people.

It’s just fiberglass sound insulation, and it just so happens to look exactly, and I do mean exactly, like human hair. Why don’t the muffler makers all agree to, like, dye the stuff a bright green or blue or some non-naturally-ocurring mammalian hair color, just to really scream that this stuff is artificial and no, you didn’t somehow suck a Pomeranian into your car’s intake.

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I’m pretty sure of all the things that can go wrong on a modern car, the unexpected shitting out of massive strands and clumps of hair has to be the most unsettling and disturbing thing that can happen.

But if it happens to you, don’t panic! No mammals have been harmed, you’re not about to be involved in a murder investigation, your muffler is just falling apart, a bit. And, really, it’s not that big a deal. You can yank out all the hair, shampoo it and make a sassy wig, and still drive your car fine, likely just a bit louder. Also, it is fiberglass insulation, so maybe don’t handle it ungloved too much, or put it on your head, now that I think about it.

 

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sentinelTk
sentinelTk
3 months ago

I get this in a Ranker article force-fed to my by facebook about once a month. “People shocked when they asked the internet what something is.”

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
3 months ago

If you’re an OEM and want to sell a car with a glass filled muffler you have to pass the noise tests with an “aged” muffler which has been through enough heat and grief to have compacted and lost 100,000 miles worth of fibre.

Whereas if you design a muffler to use baffles and resonance chambers instead you can just test it without aging it. Much simpler, much cheaper, much more likely to work first time now we can model it on a computer first. We used to have a rule of needing 10 times the engine capacity for the muffler volume (so 30 litres of muffler on a 3.0 litre engine), but with clever design of the resonance chambers you can go way smaller than that now.

Aftermarket mufflers can be packed with any old crap because no one is testing it at all. I had one that barfed out enough glass to block the pipe, and had to cut the muffler open to get the tangled remains out. It was very, very loud without the packing, so I fitted a turbo to quieten it down.

Sean Ellery
Sean Ellery
3 months ago

Gimme a muffler with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Exhaust pipe length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as my car can grow it
My muffler hairrrr…..

Let it fly in the breeze
And get it caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds
There ain’t no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my…

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as my car can grow it
My muffler hairrrrr….

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
3 months ago

Sounds like vehicular Morgellons.

AlfaWhiz
AlfaWhiz
3 months ago

Muffler hair and shower spaghetti. Man, I love Autipian.

AlfaWhiz
AlfaWhiz
3 months ago
Reply to  AlfaWhiz

Autopian* obviously. Looks like sometimes I can’t edit my own post?

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
3 months ago

If you drive a Mercedes, this phenomenon is known as a benzoar.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
3 months ago
Reply to  Harvey Park

That may be the first ever pun using the term bezoar.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

I aim to please

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
3 months ago

As good a time as any to recommend the short story “The Diary of Mr Poynter” by M. R. James: https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Thin_Ghost_and_Others/The_Diary_of_Mr._Poynter

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

I happened to be reading some of Mark Twain’s short stories this morning, so, by the fifth paragraph of The Diary, I had to check the publication date: 1919. I suspect that Mr James was a fan of Twain from the florid style and the circuitous routes his sentences take. I hadn’t heard of him, so I appreciate the link

Sucktastico!
Sucktastico!
3 months ago

Its very unfortunate when a muffler has more hair than I have had since I was 18…

Alex Redmore
Alex Redmore
3 months ago

I like the cocaine in the Ferrari 360s muffler better

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
3 months ago

So, you’re telling me the condition of my muffler is a glass half empty situation? That’s not good.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
3 months ago

Yeah, please don’t fool with that stuff without a mask on yer face.

FloridaNative
FloridaNative
3 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Ummm, you’re taking to the guy who opened a battery with a chainsaw and no PPE.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
3 months ago
Reply to  FloridaNative

Indeed. As such, my post was intended for my fellow readers. I’ve spit into that wind before and it’s utterly hopeless.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
3 months ago

I guess I just assumed it was all the small animals my cars must have been ingesting. How wrong I was.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
3 months ago

Wow. I haven’t seen that much hair in a tailpipe since I accidentally sat in a bucket of Rogaine.

EPGCivic
EPGCivic
3 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

COTD

Sklooner
Sklooner
3 months ago

Wait so the genie who said I could go through any red light or stop sign but my car will poop hair may have been lying to me ?? Maybe I should have taken the other option

Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
3 months ago
Reply to  Sklooner

COTD if not COTM or COTY right there kids.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  Sklooner

This comment almost made me barf up my breakfast from laughing so hard. Good going. Take your upvote!

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
3 months ago

in other news, someone care to identify the red car with dual trapezoidal/squarecle tips? it brings to mind late model Porsche with an aerokit, but it’s too 90s. familiar, yet not at all.

Last edited 3 months ago by Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
3 months ago

jk I’m a moron. I googled the text under it. alfa brera. yummy.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
3 months ago

I guess the darker it is, the less your cat is doing by removing particulates

Ian MacDonald
Ian MacDonald
3 months ago

I gotta worry about cats in my exhaust now?!

Last edited 3 months ago by Ian MacDonald
Cool Dave
Cool Dave
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian MacDonald

We call it a ‘Tracy situation’ around here.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
3 months ago

“Why don’t the muffler makers all agree to, like, dye the stuff a bright green or blue or some non-naturally-ocurring mammalian hair color, ”

Because then people will freak out and post that they ran over a unicorn, or that they had trolls living in their exhaust.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
3 months ago

I believe “trolls in the exhaust” is exactly what medieval barber-mechanics used to blame like 90% of all starting difficulties on

Don’t look it up though

Drunken Master Paul
Drunken Master Paul
3 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I believe that was the name of Temple of the Dog’s unfinished second album.

RataTejas
RataTejas
3 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Trolls in the exhaust = Medieval constipation.

Ben
Ben
3 months ago

Considering the number of people running around with green and blue hair I’m not convinced there’s any color you could dye it that would help.

A. Barth
A. Barth
3 months ago

A couple of my older motorcycles have mufflers like this. One is aftermarket and one is OEM.

When I was a kid I had a single-cylinder four-stroke bike with the same OEM sort of thing. The part with the fiberglass was removable: undo the retaining screw at the end and pull the baffle – basically a perforated steel tube – out of the pipe. You could, and probably still can, buy sheets of ‘glass matting to re-do your baffles. (Insert Red October joke here)

One summer as an experiment I wrapped the baffle in many layers of shop rags and used some stout steel wire to hold them in place. The baffle was so thiccc it barely went back into the pipe, but I reassembled and went for a ride. It was definitely quieter but ran like crap and when I got back the shop rags were smoking a bit. The lesson was “don’t do that”.

Erring on the side of caution, I simply did a baffle delete. 🙂

Last edited 3 months ago by A. Barth
Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
3 months ago

I’m amazed that I’ve never even heard of this until now. Maybe because mufflers used to rust out before they had a chance to shed like this? Is this a fairly new phenomenon, since the rise of aluminized/stainless exhaust?

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Could be a case where automakers have increased the strength of the outer casing (like by galvanizing) but the innards are corroding away, which sets the glass free, and eventually the exhaust pressure poops it out.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Yeah this is news to me, but like you said mufflers used to rust out fairly quickly.

The Clutch Rider
The Clutch Rider
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

in the article the common automaker seems to be Ford.

In the lede there is a Subaru WRX but that might be just the vape

Lokki
Lokki
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Nothing new…. We were putting Thrush GlassPack “mufflers” on our cars back in the mid 60’s…..


“In the late 60s, the Thrush brand became popular among the first generation of muscle car owners and drag racers as the Thrush Glasspack muffler was found on thousands of Mustangs, GTOs, Chevelles, and other performance cars and trucks. Easily the most recognizable Thrush product, the Thrush Glasspack mufflers include a smooth-flowing, straight-through perforated tube for minimal turbulence, continuous roving fiberglass for that classic Thrush sound, and a durable heavy-gauge aluminized steel shell.”

Having said that I had a pair of “Cherry Bombs” on my 69 Camaro…. which were the same as Thrush GlassPacks, but considered much cooler in the crowd I ran with.

CHERRY BOMB® – DISTURBING THE PEACE SINCE 1968″

https://apemissions.com/cherry-bomb/

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
3 months ago

At best tangential, but it came to mind – does anyone still run glasspack mufflers anymore? Looks like they still make them, but…

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
3 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Yes, glasspacks are still around, and I’ve never known a traditional cylindrical glasspack to do this. Usually the packing gets more compressed over time, or burned away bit by bit, but I never saw large strands coming out.

But a lot of these OEM mufflers pictured aren’t shaped or constructed quite like a traditional glasspack. They’re the more like the oval baffle can types, or the irregular-shaped large units that mount transversely behind the bumper to create dual outlets on both sides. None of these designs used to include glass packing. So when the interior baffles rot out from moisture in the exhaust (which is probably getting trapped in the fiberglass packing to begin with), they’re going to turn into a big, hollow can filled with fiberglass strands that are no longer constrained in place — so they get blown out the tailpipe by the exhaust flow.

IOW, not really the application that fiberglass packing was initially applied to, and now it’s revealing why it might not be the best idea in these styles of OEM mufflers.

Why even bother with fiberglass packing in OEM mufflers anyway? Probably because it does a better job of quieting some 4-cylinder engines’ exhaust drone at certain harmonics better than baffles alone, especially in cars with limited packaging options for a larger muffler.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
3 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

yes, but only in the race cars and with hearing protection…

Chronometric
Chronometric
3 months ago

I always assumed muffler hair came from the cat.

Lokki
Lokki
3 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Hence the expression

Runs like a scalded Cat

Drew
Drew
3 months ago

Also, it is fiberglass insulation, so maybe don’t handle it ungloved too much, or put it on your head, now that I think about it.

I wander off and do exactly what you tell me, then I come back and see you’ve buried this warning a whole sentence later at the very end of the article.

Tbird
Tbird
3 months ago
Reply to  Drew

Man who chainsaws lead acid batteries warns of the danger of handling fiberglass.

A. Barth
A. Barth
3 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Sounds like a weird fortune cookie.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
3 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

“… in bed?”

Zelda Bumperthumper
Zelda Bumperthumper
3 months ago

I’ve never experienced muffler hair, but it reminds me of my former roommate’s tiny dog pooping out a tampon string, which was equally hilarious.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
3 months ago

Cat, plus tinsel from a Christmas tree, just as funny and gross.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Been there, seen that, also Easter basket fake plastic grass. Yuck!

Zelda Bumperthumper
Zelda Bumperthumper
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Amazing. We had a dog that ate an entire lasagna, including the aluminum foil on top. Foil bits were all over the yard for the next couple of days.

Cerberus
Cerberus
3 months ago

My sister had a pug that used to run around with a rubber bone flavored like chicken hanging out of his mouth like a cigar. One day, he started acting odd, so my BiL took him out to dump before taking him to the vet. He watched that little dog pass that rubber bone in its entirety. Proportionately, it would be like us passing a human femur. He couldn’t believe it and brought it in to show my sister, who was not so amused by the shit-covered bone. Vet did X-Rays and everything and was amazed the dog was—somehow—fine. Yet, the German Shepherd died from bloat. The world is definitely not fair.

Zelda Bumperthumper
Zelda Bumperthumper
3 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

That’s hilarious. Some dogs are basically just made from Spandex. The tampon pooping dog was a dachsund who left daily warm loaves that were equal to about 80% of his body size, and his uh, masculine bits were 1/3 of the length of his total body.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
3 months ago

Then there was Cheech and Chong’s “Labrador” brand of pot.

Sklooner
Sklooner
3 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

Mostly Maui Wowie with some Labrador

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei
Scott Ashley
Scott Ashley
3 months ago

I thought the driver was hooning the thing so hard that they were sucking small rodents from the roadside and pooping them out the tail pipe.

JDE
JDE
3 months ago
Reply to  Scott Ashley

legitimately I have seen rodent nests in long dormant barn finds expel nesting material upon first start up, but never seen hair like strands. All the old glass packs seemed to use something more like wall fiberglass matting, so it either came out in a chunk or burned off inside.

The Clutch Rider
The Clutch Rider
3 months ago

if you let your muffler bearings fail, hair will come out

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
3 months ago

Also comes out in road rage incidents, someone wants to get in your face and be an asshole, stick your hand up their tailpipe and pull out their car’s weave

The Clutch Rider
The Clutch Rider
3 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

what if a furry butt plug comes out?

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