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151 S Sunshine Ave
El Cajon, CA 92020

Opening hours

Mon – Fri 8 AM – 6 PM
Sat & Sun – Closed

(619) 444-1696

Car Exhaust Repair

El Cajon Car Exhaust Repair - Sunshine Autocare knows how to fix your rough sounding car problems. Is your muffler got a hole? Does your catylytic converter sound funny or need replacement? Do not wait to get a ticket before you fix the small problems.

Muffler & Catalytic Converter Repair

At Sunshine Auto Repair, we help our El Cajon customers’ cars run as cleanly and efficiently as they possibly can. We provide a range of emissions testing services to ensure that your car is running and driving its best, as well as complying with all local smog regulations. “California Smog Laws” are very important to know for compliance and to avoid the hefty fine by the CHP.

Should a problem arise with any of your vehicle’s emission systems, we provide the parts and expertise to get you back on the road. Sunshine Auto Repair can replace mufflers/catalytic converters, refill diesel exhaust fluid, and make sure the full range of filters in your vehicle’s exhaust system are working perfectly.


Mufflers are essential to keep your neighbors happy. Yes, they impede gas mileage but combusitionable engines are far too loud without them. It’s imperative that they are functioning correctly because your car is engineered to have the perfect amount of gas, air, and spark for your car to run. Having more/less air or gas to the mixture can cause significant damage to your engine.

Because older cars are not as advanced and are approaching their “twilight” they simply can’t meet modern emissions standards without extensive modifications. For newer cars however, passing a smog test is a requirement of road legality. Call us at 619-444-1696 to learn more about the emissions requirements for your vehicle.

Emissions testing (also known as smog testing) is a vital part of the maintenance of your vehicle. E-tests provide your mechanic with important information about your car’s engine and exhaust system. If important components, like your car’s catalytic converter aren’t working properly, the car isn’t running as it was intended to by the manufacturer. Inefficiency costs you extra money in fuel and does unnecessary harm to the planet. Emissions testing can also affect the value of a vehicle you’re trying to sell; while you can still sell a car without a valid e-test certification, you’ll get more money for one that has passed the test.

Catalytic Converter

Your catalytic is a very expensive piece of hardware but have saved California and the rest of the planet for another decade. Catalytic Converters are able to minimize the extremely damaging exhaust of ALL combustionable engines. By most estimates, catalytic converters fitted inside the exhaust pipe of a gasoline-operated car convert over 90% of hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the engine into less harmful carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen and water vapor. Unfortunately, from to 1970 to 2000 the number of cars has doubled from 100,000 to 200,000+.  If we didn’t have these standards our life expectancy would be closer to 60 than 80 years old.

Smog Testing

Smog Testing in El Cajon? Sunshine has the ability to smog most vehicles that are 2001 and Newer. To Smog your vehicle is the law. There are several reasons that a car may fail its emissions test. There may be a problem with the vehicle’s fuel system adding too much fuel to the air-fuel ratio required for proper combustion within the cylinders of the car’s engine. This is known as “running rich” and results in the smell of gasoline from fuel passing through the engine and exhaust system without being fully burnt. Causes of this issue range from faulty fuel injectors to issues with the engine’s control computer. There may also be problems with oxygen sensors or the vehicle’s ignition system. At Sunshine Auto Repair, we use a complete set of diagnostic equipment to determine the problem and fix it quickly, explaining every step of the process to you, our valued patron. Call us at 619-444-1696 or send us an email to arrange a health check for your car’s emissions system today!

(619) 444-1696

What Does It Mean When My Brakes Squeak or Squeel?

Brake pads are built with a special feature that’s automatically activated when they have worn out past their useful life.

Simply, a metal tab or blade is attached to the brake pad, where it hovers just above the brake rotor. As the brake pads wear out (just like your pencil eraser), they get thinner, which brings the metal tab closer and closer to the metal brake rotor.

At some point, the brake pad material will hit its minimum safe thickness. Here, the metal tab physically contacts the metal brake rotor, where it generates an irritating squealing sound. This is an audible signal from your brakes that it’s time to replace those worn out brake pads.

Just remember that brakes sometimes squeal or squeak, but not as a result of component wear. In any case, drivers should have their brakes inspected to determine the root cause of any unexpected noise.

What is a car muffler for?

A car’s muffler is necessary to “muffle” or silence the noise created from the combustion of gas, air, and spark, between your cylinder head and the cylinder wall. This explosion is necessary for your car to move mechanically.

How do i know my muffler is broken?

Muffler Sounds Funny or Loud:

If you think that your muffler may be wearing out, the sound is your first indicator. If your engine has gotten a little bit louder lately, there’s a good chance that you need to thoroughly inspect the exhaust system.

The muffler is often the culprit when it comes to exhaust problems, you should check out the entire system front to back to be sure.

On older cars, the muffler may have been replaced two or three times but the rest of the exhaust system like the resonator or the catalytic converter. If this is the case, it might be time for one of those components to fail even though the muffler is still solid. Use your intuition, and always err on the side of caution. Remember, an exhaust leak could lead to build up of carbon monoxide inside your car or truck, a situation that can be deadly.

Muffler Smells Strong in Car:

You should really never smell your car’s exhaust while you’re driving along the road or sitting at a traffic light.

When there’s a leak in your exhaust system someplace or a hole in your rusty muffler, exhaust gases will leak out and drift upward into your car or truck’s interior. The exhaust is flowing quickly and is under pressure, so even a small perforation in the exhaust system can pump a lot of exhaust out.

This can create a dangerous carbon monoxide situation. If you think you’re smelling exhaust in the cabin of your car or truck, have the exhaust system inspected right away.

Muffler has Holes or is Falling Apart:

Taking a solid look at your muffler and exhaust system is your last line of defense against an exhaust leak. Let it cool for at least an hour before you crawl around underneath or you could suffer a serious burn.

To inspect the exhaust system, start at the tail pipe and work your way forward. You’re looking for any obvious holes or splits in the system.

Areas of obvious rust are problem zones that may be hiding a hole or two. The muffler itself will tend to leak at its manufacturing seams. This means the rim of both ends, the seam along the center, and the points where the pipes enter and exit the muffler. The same goes for your resonator, catalytic converter, and flex pipe or pipes.

If you have access to a lift, you can look for an exhaust leak by feeling for leaks with the engine on, but be sure to do this in the company of a seasoned pro as burns are a real possibility.

What does my car need a muffler for my car?

Inside a muffler are a set of tubes. These tubes are perforated and are designed to reflect sound waves in a way to minimize the noise your combustionable engine produces.  Also, it provides a vector for displacing waste produced from your car’s engine.

How can I make my car's muffler louder?

There is a legal way and an illegal way of altering your car’s exhaust. Please remember that many of the calibrations made by your car’s designers have been done on purpose and neglecting that design can result in your vehicles voided warrantee. Secondly, increasing the noise of your vehicle may put you over the sound limit enforced by your municipality. Lastly, it may also illegally displace gasses into the atmosphere.

Sunshine Auto Repair having waved our legal liabilities does encourage the installation of performance parts that are allowed by the State of California’s Vehicle Code:

California Vehicle Code § 27150 – 27153 (2019)

Vehicle Code 21750. Adequate muffler required

27150. (a) Every motor vehicle subject to registration shall at all times be equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise, and no muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass, or similar device.

Vehicle Code 27151. Modification of exhaust systems

(a) No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of the vehicle so that the vehicle is not in compliance with the provisions of Section 27150 or exceeds the noise limits established for the type of vehicle in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 27200). No person shall operate a motor vehicle with an exhaust system so modified.
(b) For the purposes of exhaust systems installed on motor vehicles with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of less than 6,000 pounds, other than motorcycles, a sound level of 95 dbA or less, when tested in accordance with Society of Automotive Engineers Standard J1169 May 1998, complies with this section. Motor vehicle exhaust systems or parts thereof include, but are not limited to, non-original exhaust equipment.


What is a Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter is a large metal box, bolted to the underside of your car, that has two pipes coming out of it. One of them (the converter’s “input”) is connected to the engine and brings in hot, polluted fumes from the engine’s cylinders (where the fuel burns and produces power).

The second pipe (the converter’s “output”) is connected to the tailpipe (exhaust). As the gases from the engine fumes blow over the catalyst, chemical reactions take place on its surface, breaking apart the pollutant gases and converting them into other gases that are more safely blown out into the air.

More importantly, electric engines do not possess combustion engines therefore produce no pollutants into the atmosphere while driving. Because of the advent of catalytic converters we as a country have saved at least a million people from dying from these harmful pollutants and developing cancer from them.

How much is a Catalytic Converter?

Catalytic Converters on average cost between $1000 and $1800 to purchase plus installation costs. They generally cost more based on the size of the engines they are cleaning the waste from.

They are costly because they use expensive metals such as palladium to promote the chemical reactions that cleanse the exhaust. Palladium costs about $50 a gram—more than gold—and each catalytic converter contains about 5 grams of it. Metals like palladium are catalysts—a special class of materials that speed up chemical reactions but don’t chemically change themselves. In theory, catalysts can be used over and over, indefinitely.

In practice, however, the performance of catalysts degrades over time. To compensate, we are forced to use more of these expensive metals up front, adding to the cost.

Note: Electric vehicles do not have exhausts or catalytic converters.

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In El Cajon, CA

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Providing Superior Auto Repair in El Cajon, CA for over 20 years

We handle all your Domestic and Foreign Car problems. No job is too big or too small. Our highly skilled mechanics are there for you.

Bring us your tough car problems and we will be able to find an economical solution for you and your family.


In El Cajon, CA

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Save thousands of dollars by making sure your car is kept in tip-top condition. By performing routine maintenance on your car you will save time and most importantly your hard earned cash.

If you are hessitant to work on your car ask one of our technicians about our Car Maintenance Quarterly Service. This service provides top to bottom routine inspections for your car!