5 Advantages of Custom Exhaust Systems

A car's exhaust system

The exhaust system in your car is made up of several different components, including the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, muffler and exhaust pipe. They all work together to reduce harmful emissions and excess noise from your engine. 

A standard exhaust system does its job reasonably well, handling the basic needs of an average vehicle —  but it wasn’t designed for your car’s make and model. Instead, standard exhaust systems are designed to meet safety requirements while keeping costs down for the manufacturer. 

Upgrading to a custom exhaust system can make a big difference for those seeking advanced performance, improved gas mileage, or a specific look and sound. This blog will explore: 

  • Advantages of a custom exhaust system
  • Cost to install 
  • How to find a qualified technician to do the job 

What Is a Custom Exhaust System? 

In its simplest form, a custom exhaust system is any modification to the vehicle’s factory standard exhaust setup. Custom exhaust systems are tailored to fit the specific requirements of a vehicle and its owner. 

Exhaust experts will often use higher-quality materials and offer a range of customization options depending on the make and model of the vehicle and what you’re looking to gain from the customization. 

Advantages of a Custom Exhaust System

Wondering whether a custom exhaust system is right for your car or truck? While the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts may be just fine, any car or truck could benefit from the increased power and performance that a custom system can provide. Here are five advantages to a custom exhaust system. 

1. Improved Performance. Who doesn’t want a car that runs better? A custom exhaust system allows your car to run more efficiently by optimizing the flow of exhaust gas. A common way to do this is by adjusting how an exhaust pipe bends. The OEM pipe usually comes bent in a crush style, which means the pipe is crimped at the bending point, leading to a restricted flow of gas. 

Customized pipes can be bent to maintain a consistent diameter throughout, allowing for a smoother flow. This can result in more horsepower and torque, giving your vehicle a noticeable boost in power. 

2. Better Fuel Efficiency. Fuel efficiency is one of the primary benefits of a custom exhaust system. When gas flows better, your car doesn’t have to work as hard to run.

There’s a balance between more power and better fuel efficiency when building a custom system. A qualified technician can help you find the mix you’re looking for. 

3. Custom Sound. While a muffler’s primary job is to dampen sound, that’s not the effect you may be looking for. A custom exhaust system can produce a deep rumble, a high-pitched racing sound, or something that’s just a little different. For instance, if you’re craving a quiet ride, you can add a custom muffler to bring the volume way down. 

4. Higher Quality Parts. Custom exhaust systems can be made from higher-quality materials, increasing their longevity and durability. Be sure, though, that the parts you choose for your customized system are, in fact, an upgrade. 

Mild steel is less expensive, but it rusts more quickly. Aluminized steel (mild steel with an aluminum-silicon alloy) is easy to bend, more rust-resistant and costs less than most stainless options. Stainless steel, including 409, 439 and 304, costs more but is corrosion-resistant and can improve the sound. Ask your installation expert for advice on the best materials for your custom job. 

5. The Look You Want. The great thing about a customized exhaust system is that you can tailor it to your aesthetics. Whether you want a chrome or matte finish, a single or dual exhaust setup, or even a flame- or heart-shaped tip design, a customized system is the way to get exactly the look you want. 

How Much Is a Custom Exhaust System?

There are several factors that influence the cost of a custom exhaust system:

  • Your vehicle. Luxury cars may require costly parts, while simpler vehicles may not.
  • The parts you choose. In general, there are two options for replacement parts: OEM or aftermarket. The materials and quality of the parts you select will affect the price.
  • Style of the exhaust system. Different styles of exhaust systems — like cat-back, axle-back and high-performance — can also impact the final cost.

On average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $150 to $2,000 for parts and $75 to $300 for labor. Always consult with a professional to get an exact quote. 

You might be tempted to save by choosing the cheapest parts or opting for a local auto repair shop that doesn’t have much custom exhaust experience. This can cost you more in the long run. 

How to Find a Qualified Technician to Install a Custom Exhaust System

Customizing an entire system within your vehicle takes time and expertise. Trusting the job to experts who will take the time to do the work right the first time will save you from having to do more expensive repairs down the road. 

Here are a few questions to ask your technician before signing on for custom exhaust work

  • What’s your team’s experience and background? You want to hire a technician who is knowledgeable and comfortable with this type of customization. 
  • How many custom exhaust systems have you installed? Follow this up with a question about the different types of vehicles your tech has worked on. Have they ever worked on your specific make and model of car? 
  • Can you provide a detailed quote for the work, including parts and labor? Getting a quote upfront can help you understand the costs and avoid surprises. 
  • What types of materials do you use and why? An experienced technician will understand when and how to use quality materials. Some components may not need to be the most expensive, while others shouldn’t be skimped on. 
  • How long will the installation process take? Having a timeline is important so you can plan to be without your vehicle. An experienced technician should be able to accurately estimate how long the work will take. 
  • Do you have any references I can speak with about your work? There’s no better way to judge a technician’s work than speaking with former customers. 

A custom exhaust system isn’t something you want to compromise on. Asking questions up front can give you the confidence and peace of mind to move forward with the work. 

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