8 Things to Know When Picking a New Exhaust
Buying an aftermarket exhaust is a simple, foundational step to customize a vehicle. But it’s still a sizable investment, so you should know your options before making a purchase – and there are certainly a lot of options. Here are the eight most important things to know when considering a new exhaust system for your ride.
1. Material Type
Exhaust systems typically are made of mild steel, aluminized steel, T409 stainless steel or T304 stainless steel. T304 stainless provides the best corrosion resistance and longevity for automotive applications. But beware of U.S.-grade T304 vs. China-grade T304 – there is a difference!
2. Manufacturing Process
How an exhaust is made is just as important as the materials used. You should look for systems with mandrel-bent tubing as this technique creates bends without wrinkles or cracks. The smoother finish means more efficient flow. Furthermore, if it is a quality exhaust, it should have a good warranty.
3. Types of Exhausts
The exhaust style and configuration have a big impact on performance. Axle back exhausts are more affordable while cat back exhausts have more performance gains. Turbo-back and header-back exhausts are available for certain vehicles. You may also have a choice between a single or dual exhaust.
4. Tubing Size & Fitment
You should know the diameter of both the stock exhaust tubing and the aftermarket system you are considering. Many replacement systems have larger tubing to increase exhaust flow. However, this may require adding adapters so it connects properly to the existing parts.
5. Bigger isn’t Always Better
Remember that a bigger tube size is not necessarily better – especially when it comes to sound. The exhaust note is directly related to the engine and thus ultimately limited by the powerplant. You can’t make a V6 sound or perform like a V8 just with increased tube size.
6. Try to Avoid Drone
One danger of higher exhaust flow is the presence of drone, which is a loud, flat sound that rings in the vehicle’s cabin. Most common with straight pipe exhausts, this drone can be a tremendous annoyance, especially in a daily driver. Look for exhaust systems that advertise minimal or no drone.
Unless you’re an SAE-certified mechanic, how easy or difficult exhaust installation is should be a consideration. Some systems bolt on quickly while others require welding and special tools. Generally speaking, an OE-fit system will be easier to install than a universal system.
8. Where You’re Driving
It’s tempting to buy the most aggressive-sounding, best-performing exhaust you can afford. But if you’re almost entirely driving in busy neighborhoods and city streets, you won’t get the full benefits – not to mention you’ll have a lot of angry neighbors.
MRT aftermarket exhaust systems are handcrafted in the U.S. using mandrel-bent T304 stainless steel for excellent flow. Shop exhausts for dozens of vehicles that are backed by a limited lifetime warranty. We have more than 35 years of automotive engineering experience to help you Hear the Difference, Feel the Performance and Get Noticed.