When starting as a mechanic, there are things you learn from reading, and things you learn from seeing and doing. After a while you know when not to bother with some things and when to skip straight to what’s usually the last option, brute force or the torch.
Exhaust systems are often the rustiest parts of cars, because they’re bare metal at the very bottom of the vehicle, getting constantly sprayed with water and salt. With a car even a year or two old you’re lucky to loosen the bolts holding it together with just your tools. A little longer and you’ll need to heat them up with a torch, and if it’s been several years the bolts are pretty much just little lumps of rust and it’s time to just melt them off with the torch.
That’s what I had to do to replace the muffler on my sister’s 2003 Subaru Outback. Because I have experience with rusty exhaust I knew to immediately just get the torch instead of messing around with trying to use regular tools to even get a grip on the rusty bolts. After several minutes of blowing sparks and molten metal across the floor the remains of the muffler came off and I just had to clean up the leftover metal and clear out the holes for new bolts.
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