21 Tips Anyone Interested in an Aftermarket Exhaust should know BEFORE making a purchase!

21 Tips Anyone Interested in an Aftermarket Exhaust should know BEFORE making a purchase!


  1. Cat Back Exhaust systems can attach in a number of places under the car but most often connect in the middle of the vehicle just back of the catalytic converters.

  2. Axle Back Exhaust systems connect after the rear end. They usually slip into the factory break in the tubing but sometimes require cutting of the tubing to install.

  3. Not all stainless steel tubing is the same. Both 409 and 304 alloy stainless steel will not rust through in normal use.

  4. A 409 stainless steel will pick up a surface rust over time. This condition does not affect the sound or durability of the exhaust

  5. A 304 stainless steel exhaust will retain its silver color for the life of the exhaust. As a material it is more brittle than 409 and is prone to cracking over time.

  6. Never put an exhaust on your car that is less than the material used on the original vehicle. Today that means stainless steel.

  7. When picking an exhaust – go conservative unless you are looking to go racing. With exhaust – less is more if you intent to drive the vehicle everyday.

  8. Don't let your exhaust tips stick out too much past the bumper. They will become a hazard sooner or later.

  9. Clean your exhaust tips with a non-abrasive metal polish at least after every other car wash. Carbon can become permanent if not removed.

  10. Make sure that the kit you buy includes all of the installation parts. There is nothing worse that having you system half installed and having to go buy a missing clamp.

  11. Compression bent exhaust tubing flows less than mandrel bent. Compression bends show wrinkles in the metal on the inside of the curve. Mandrel bends are smooth throughout. Mandrel bent exhausts are the only way to go.

  12. Mileage from a freshly installed aftermarket exhaust will usually get worse at first. That’s because the owner generally drives more aggressively excited to hear the awesome new performance exhaust sound. That is a documented fact that will generally improve over time.

  13. Never increase the size of the tubing used in your aftermarket exhaust without the advice of an expert. For most street-bound vehicle, 2.5-inch tubing is the best way to go.  If you have over 500 HP, then a step up to 3-inch tubing is advised. Under 250 HP, 2-inch tubing is fine – in most cases.

  14. Not every aftermarket exhaust will improve engine horsepower.

  15. Horsepower gains from a quality aftermarket exhaust system will occur – but they will be less than 5 HP except for extreme cases.

  16. Exhaust tubing should never be less than an inch from critical suspension and braking components and should be more than two inches from fuel system parts.

  17. Always install the retainer clips (provided in most quality aftermarket kits) to keep the rubber isolators from slipping off of the hangers. They should be pushed in place and be located up against the isolator.

  18. Adjusting the hangers  - either on the vehicle or on the exhaust – is allowable. Just make sure the exhaust does not touch any critical vehicle components.

  19. Adjustment of the hangers can be done easily with a length of pipe, which provides the leverage required to make the job easy.

  20. Size matters – the size of the muffler, in most cases, determines the loudness of the exhaust. Yardstick for picking a muffler: The bigger the muffler, the quieter the exhaust tone.

  21. Both X-Pipes and H-Pipes are valuable in terms of improving vehicle performance by equalizing pressure. A system with an X-pipe will emit a deeper tone while an H-pipe will create a higher pitch.


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