Getting a louder sound coming out of the exhaust is all about finesse. You don’t want to create an obnoxious, ear-piercing sound as you’ll quickly start to hate it as much as the bystanders that hear it as you drive by. That’s why I’ll take you through the best methods of making your car louder, whether you’re on a budget or have a lot of cash to spend!
The cheapest way to make your car louder is to do a muffler delete. As this modification is illegal in most states, we’ll explore some of the other options that will save you from getting a ticket.
1. Muffler Delete
Removing the muffler is still the most popular method of bringing out the true sound from the engine. It’s also the cheapest because you’ll only need a pipe to replace that section of the exhaust, and to pay for dismounting and welding labor. Overall, a muffler delete will set you back $50 to $250 depending on your location.
The purpose of mufflers is to dampen and lower the sound coming from the engine across all RPM, so it would make sense to remove it and get a louder sound. The trouble is that some states explicitly ban muffler deletes, while nearly all have some form of regulation on how loud a vehicle can be. I have seen ways to legally bypass these regulations, but they all depend on location, so make sure to check what applies where you live before you start modifying!
2. High-Performance Muffler
If outright deleting the muffler can’t be done, maybe you can get away with installing an aftermarket high-performance replacement. You can get a nice-looking aluminum muffler that is lighter than the original and produces louder noise but stays within the regulations.
Installing an aftermarket muffler will be more expensive than a muffler delete, as you’ll need to buy one or two mufflers for about $100 a piece. However, the benefit of a high-performance muffler isn’t just the looks, but also the ability to tune the sound to your liking. Most companies have a wide range of mufflers, so you can pick an option that fits your needs and adheres to state regulations.
3. Catalytic Converter/DPF Filter Delete
The catalytic converter is present on all modern vehicles, with a DPF filter added to the diesel. These systems are placed inside the exhaust system to lower the volume of emissions produced by the engine. Inadvertently, they also have a significant effect on the engine sound.
This modification is also subjected to regulations and can be illegal in most states, so keep that in mind. However, if you’re living in an area where removing these filters is not a legal issue, not only will you get a better sound coming from the exhaust, but you’ll also regain lost power due to the clogging of the system. The cost of deleting the catalytic converter is between $50 and $300.
4. Aftermarket Catalytic Converter
Just like with the muffler, if you can’t remove it, improve it. Aftermarket catalytic converters can be built to factory specification, but also made for performance.
Because some laws require you to have a catalytic converter but do not specify its effectiveness, you can install a high-performance converter that doesn’t clean the particles as well as the stock converter but also doesn’t dampen the sound as much.
5. Resonator Delete
The resonator is the final component in the exhaust system, and it also has an effect on the sound. However, it’s not there to lower the volume, but rather combat the resonating noises from the engine.
Removing it will make the exhaust system slightly louder, but it will also result in humming and drone noise at specific RPM. Because of this, it’s generally not a good idea to remove the resonator, as it will cause your ride to become uncomfortable, especially at highway speeds. If you still want to do it, it’ll cost you between $100-200 per resonator.
5. Straight Pipe
Straight piping the exhaust basically involves removing the entire exhaust system up to the exhaust manifold and replacing it with a pipe. This means that the catalytic converter, DPF filter, muffler, and resonator are gone, making straight pipe the loudest of all exhaust systems.
Consider everything I’ve said about laws and regulations regarding emissions and sound levels, then combine it into one – getting away with straight piping will be very difficult. Some states have a regulation where the exhaust system needs to have at least one sound-muffling device, and in those circumstances, I would recommend keeping the resonator. You’ll technically adhere to the law, while also blocking out the unwanted noise.
Rather than taking out or replacing the parts that are subject to regulations, you can get a catback exhaust pipe and improve sound and airflow without breaking any laws.
Catback is placed between the catalytic converter and the muffler, but it can also refer to everything behind the catalytic converter, including the muffler, resonator, and exhaust tip. Manufacturers of aftermarket catback exhaust claim that it improves performance, but the benefits are marginal. What you can expect is a slight improvement in sound quality as exhaust fumes have a better flow.
7. Aftermarket Exhaust System
Replacing the whole exhaust system is going to be very expensive, so if you want to keep it on the cheaper side, you can leave the stock catalytic converter and the exhaust manifold.
What an aftermarket exhaust system brings is a customizable sound, both in how loud and how aggressive it sounds. It also improves performance in two ways: by reducing the weight, and improving the flow of exhaust fumes. If you’re looking for ways to get the best performance out of your car, an aftermarket exhaust system will go a long way in reaching that goal.
How can I make my exhaust louder without buying anything?
For an exhaust modification on a non-existent budget, take a power drill and drill a few holes through the back of the muffler. The sound may not be refined, but it will definitely become louder.
Can you make a 4 cylinder sound good?
A high-performance muffler may help bring a different sound out of the 4-cylinder engine and make it sound better.
Is straight pipe louder than muffler delete?
Straight piping is much louder than removing just the muffler because it also gets rid of the resonator and the catalytic convertor. In fact, straight piping is generally considered too loud for nearly every type of vehicle, as it makes the ride noise intolerable.
Making your car louder can get expensive, but I have provided you with a range of options so you can find the one that fits your needs. If you’re running on a really tight budget, then check out this article that focuses entirely on cost-effective ways of making the car louder: “How To Make Your Car Exhaust Louder – Low Budget Solutions“