There’s a good chance you’ve ridden in someone’s modified streetcar, turned it on, and pressed the gas pedal, only to hear a sound that isn’t typical of a car.
If you have ever wondered why, it’s likely that something is going on in the back of the car, or more specifically in the exhaust system. In this article by Motoring Junction, we’ll look at a straight pipe exhaust, which can be either good or bad for your car.
What is a Straight-Pipe Exhaust?
A straight pipe exhaust is an alternative to the plain old standard exhausts that come on cars when they leave the showroom. Some car enthusiasts care more about how a car sounds and performs than how clean it is. While many people think this is irresponsible, you can’t ignore the fact that almost all cars sound bad and controlled these days.
Industry-standard exhaust systems are made to keep a car from making too much noise. Not only that, but it’s a heavy setup with things like the DPF filter and catalytic converter hanging under the car.
You won’t know how much of a difference there is until you take off your old system and replace it with a straight-pipe system. With a straight pipe exhaust, you don’t have to worry about the limits of your standard system, so your car can make all the engine noise it can. The purists and people who like track days will love it for sure. Full system exhaust is another name for straight pipe exhaust.
How Straight Pipe Exhausts Work
At their core, straight pipe exhausts are not that different from standard exhausts. The only difference is that the exhaust pipe runs all the way from the exhaust headers to the end, without any noise-reducing catalytic converter or muffler. (We’ll talk about what this means for the environment in a bit.)
So, now there’s nothing stopping the exhaust gases from flowing freely through the exhaust pipe and out the exhaust tip. This makes a sound that motorheads love and go crazy over, but most older neighbours hate.
Now, a lot of people like straight pipe exhausts, but there are also a lot of people who don’t like them. Let’s look at why people have such strong feelings on both sides of the issue when it comes to these noise-making bad boys.
Advantages Of Straight Pipe Exhausts
Getting better results
This may come as a surprise, but removing the catalytic converter helps the car reduce a lot of back pressure. This makes the car have more torque and more horsepower. For many people who like cars, this is a no-brainer: more horsepower means a better car. In many cases, the fuel economy also goes up in a noticeable way.
Many people who like streetcars won’t buy it because of this. People think that a car should show who you are, which you can’t do with a car right out of the factory. Standard exhaust pipes don’t give you that look that would make you stand out from the crowd and show who you are. Straight pipe exhausts seem to let car fans show off who they really are and make their car truly their own.
Putting the pedal to the metal
We’ve already talked about how the engine sounds best and loudest when the muffler isn’t in the way. This is one of the main reasons why most fans like a straight pipe system better. Something about the sound of an engine that hasn’t been tamed feels right. And that’s what gets people who love cars excited.
When you take weight off of a vehicle, not only does it become lighter, but it also gets faster and uses less gas. So, when making a vehicle, manufacturers always take this into account. When you switch from a curved exhaust pipe to a straight pipe, you lose weight. This makes the car a lot more fun to drive. This is also one of the reasons why many people find straight pipe exhausts to be a good choice.
Disadvantages Of Straight Pipes
Very, very loud
We’re not joking when we say that your neighbours will probably call the police on you if you put these straight pipe exhausts on your car. If you get rid of the muffler, your engine will be a lot louder than you think. This will get a lot of attention, both good and bad.
Not good for the planet.
If there isn’t a catalytic converter to filter out the harmful parts of the exhaust gas (like CO2 and sulphur, for example), they can easily mix into the air and cause a lot of trouble in the long run. Some of the things that happen because of these harmful emissions are acid rain and global warming. So, environmental activists don’t like straight pipe exhausts very much. If your neighbour is an activist, you might want to think twice before putting in a straight pipe.
Costs a lot.
Straight exhaust pipes are not cheap. Aside from the equipment, you’ll also need a professional to do the installation, since it’s easier to say than to do. Even if you have the mechanical skills to do the installation yourself, the equipment will cost a lot. Make sure you remember that before you jump in to make your car sound cooler.
Resale Value Takes A Hit
Straight pipe exhausts are against the law in many places around the world. In fact, many countries, including the USA, have made it illegal to change anything about your car. This is to protect certain laws and keep crime rates down. This is one reason why the resale value of your car will drop so much once you’ve changed the exhausts.
Some Final Thoughts
Now that you know what a straight pipe exhaust is and how it can be better or worse than a regular exhaust system, it’s up to you to decide if you want to upgrade to one or not. If you don’t care much about your car’s resale value and love the sound of an untamed engine, go for it. A straight pipe will keep you happy for a long time.