The increasing traffic density in modern cities has pushed car manufacturers towards making their vehicles as quiet as possible. If you’re a person that can appreciate the beauty of an engine sound, from Inline-4 to V8, then making the exhaust louder is a simple and inexpensive way to get it. Let’s explore the methods and parts you can use to get the best sound possible!
Exhaust System – A Brief Overview
While the engine is creating noise, it is actually the exhaust system is that gives it a recognizable and pleasant sound. Having driven a car without an exhaust manifold, I can tell you that not only is it painfully loud, but also sounds more like a jackhammer than a rhythmic four-stroke.
The exhaust has multiple purposes: diverting fumes away from the engine and passengers, dissipating heat, and cleansing the fumes through catalytic converters and filters. Many of the components of an exhaust are legally required to be there, so whichever method you decide to go with, you should check beforehand it if complies with emission, noise, and insurance regulations of your state.
Exhaust tips are the most common way to make the exhaust louder, and the reason is quite clear. They’re very cheap, look good and do the job well enough. However, unlike most other options, looks are a very important part of choosing an exhaust tip. There’s nothing wrong with picking a $20 option from Amazon, provided it fits with the general theme of the car.
Brushed or polished aluminum tips from better-known manufacturers will undoubtedly look better, but as they’d set you back at least $100, they’re not something I would consider a budget option.
Research and find video examples of sound differences any particular exhaust tip will bring. Take a look at vehicle-specific videos relating to your car as that’ll give you the best idea of what to expect. If there are none, then look for cars with the same number of cylinders, layout, and fuel type as yours.
Exhaust tips are usually slid onto the end of the exhaust pipe and screwed in. The task isn’t difficult, but you will need a power drill and some experience with it. If the exhaust tip is sticking out too much, you might need to shorten the exhaust pipe, a task that I wouldn’t recommend, since, at that point, you might as well replace the muffler.
Mufflers do exactly what their name suggests. Through a series of chambers and plates, a muffler suppresses the sound coming out of the engine. This is great for a comfortable family car and the urban environment, but not so much for car enthusiasts.
Replacing the muffler with a high-performance option can drastically increase the noise of the car, but do so in a clever way. The emphasis is placed as much on increasing the noise as it is on fine-tuning the sound to draw out the rhythm of the cylinder cycles.
A new muffler will cost you around $100, depending on the option you go with. Replacing it requires cutting and welding, a task few are experienced enough to do. With the added cost of a mechanic, getting the right muffler on the first try is much more important than with an exhaust tip.
Luckily, both the specialized mechanics and muffler manufacturers are willing to assist you in your search for the right sound. Most manufacturers have a specialized call service for this very reason, so take full advantage of it.
Muffler delete refers to completely removing the muffler cylinder out of the exhaust system, and replacing it with a straight pipe. Since the right piece of an exhaust pipe can be bought online or at a junkyard for very little money, you’ll be the most bang for your buck, quite literally.
If we disregard the cost of installation, deleting the muffler is going to be cheaper than installing a high-performance option, but you should ask yourself what kind of sound you’re looking for. A muffler replacement will provide a lot of noise but keep it within reason at lower RPM while removing it completely gives you a raw and louder sound at all times.
When deleting the muffler, consider the laws and regulations of your state. In some places, cars are required to have a muffler, while elsewhere it could be left to the officer’s discretion to make a judgment.
Since we’re looking at budget options, instead of talking about cold air intakes, turbochargers, and new exhaust systems, we’re talking about drilling.
Drilling a few holes before the muffler, or through the rear of the muffler itself is the most common way of getting a louder and better-sounding exhaust. However, the exhaust is rust-resistant only from the outside, and by drilling holes, you’re significantly increasing the rate at which the exhaust will corrode.
I won’t give you any guides or methods on the number and size of holes as I am not a big fan of this method. There’s a lot that can and will go wrong over time, and you might not be satisfied with irreversible results. Being a car enthusiast isn’t cheap, but if you can’t afford a new muffler or at least an exhaust tip, I think it’s better not to do anything than to drill holes. Still, the final decision is yours.
Clean the Exhaust
There are several reasons why cleaning the exhaust might not be a bad idea. First, if the car has racked up a lot of miles, especially a diesel, soot will form in layers and not only affect the sound, but also the performance of the vehicle. If the vehicle has not been driven for a long time, the exhaust could to a nesting place for all kinds of creatures. I didn’t believe it was plausible until I saw it in the exhaust of a 40-year-old Ford.
Cleaning the exhaust is a time-consuming task, but aside from some power tools and brushes, it will cost you next to nothing. Take a look at this video to see just how much soot can accumulate inside an exhaust after 180 thousand miles.
These are the 5 cheapest ways to get a louder and better-sounding exhaust system. If you’re willing to spend more, installing a turbocharger, cold air intake, pieces, or whole aftermarket exhaust system will surely get you the results you want. Take a look at some of our other guides for more useful tips and information about all things cars!