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They weren’t exactly flooring it in Gatineau.
While the muscle car film Fast and Furious 6 topped the box office over the weekend, things were “pretty quiet around the theatres,” said Gatineau Police spokesman Pierre Lanthier.
In anticipation of its debut last Friday, police warned they’d be ramping up enforcement since the movie could “spark an adrenalin rush in certain people.”
Cops conducted radar in a few areas, however, “there was not too many (drivers) speeding,” he said.
On the other side of the river though, police have been seeing a spike in modified mufflers and warn they’ll be cracking down.
Officers can generally spot an illegal muffler just by eyeballing it, said Ottawa Police Sgt. Mark Gatien.
“If you see in the back of a small car, or any car, and it’s got a huge tailpipe opening, that’s a modified muffler,” he said.
In other instances, it’s all about the ears.
“I’ve had cases where I’ve got a car sitting beside me, idling at a light,” Gatien said.
“I’ve got my windows up in a cruiser and my police radio’s trying to tell me something, and I can’t hear because the muffler beside me is drowning me out.”
No Limits Auto Parts owner Mike Huizenga can practically list every muffler made.
His products are generally sold to racing clientele for off-road use.
Nonetheless, he said he tries to promote common sense.
“When we get guys doing exhaust systems, we give them every warning possible on legality issues,” said Huizenga.
“Some people listen, some people don’t, of course.”
The problem with Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, he said, is “there’s no actual sound decibel rating,” meaning it comes down to officer’s discretion.
“So I’ve had customers with factory stock cars, you know, driving mom’s Camry, and they’ve been nailed for noise violations.”
Most clients change their mufflers for fuel efficiency, he said.
The biggest complaint in Ottawa “has always been the Harley guys,” said Huizenga.
“The wannabe-poser-biker guys; every lawyer and crap (driving) downtown with his loud Harley. It’s ridiculous. We love the sound of engines, believe us. But, you know, there’s a time and a place for everything.”
In many cases, drivers with flashy vehicles often change the back end of the muffler to a resonator.
“Bottom line, it’s making it sound loud,” said Gatien.