Custom Exhaust Shops: What Should You Know?
All cars roll off the manufacturing line with the same standardized parts. While perfectly functional, these parts are designed to maximize affordability rather than performance, and the one-size-fits-all parts are not tailored to your car’s specific make and model.
For driving enthusiasts, updating components with custom parts is part of what makes owning a car so much fun. An aftermarket exhaust system is one way drivers can increase their vehicle’s horsepower and torque. On top of that boost in performance, it can also make a vehicle look and sound better.
Benefits of Custom Exhaust Shops
Your car’s exhaust system is made up of the catalytic converter, muffler, exhaust manifold and pipes. It is designed to reduce and remove the toxic fumes — including hydrocarbon, sulfur dioxide, lead and carbon dioxide — that are created by the engine’s combustion processes. The exhaust system reduces the pollution generated by your vehicle, and the muffler provides the necessary backpressure to help your engine run more efficiently.
The exhaust system used by vehicle manufacturers is designed to be installed on a wide variety of makes and models, so it leaves a lot of room for customization and improvement. An aftermarket exhaust system can be tailored specifically to your vehicle.
You can choose to customize any part of the system, resulting in:
- Increased performance: Most exhaust systems are created using crush bend pipes, which have a decreased diameter in the sections that are bent. Air flow is restricted in those narrower sections. A custom exhaust system can, instead, be created using mandrel bend pipes, which have the same diameter throughout. Mandrel bends increase air flow and improve your engine’s performance by allowing it to work more efficiently — resulting in better horsepower and torque. Many aftermarket systems are also made with stainless steel, which has a longer life than the mild steel used for typical exhaust systems.
- Improved sound: If you’re looking for that distinctive deep growl, an aftermarket exhaust system is the way to obtain it. The slightly larger pipes create a louder, more aggressive sound than your factory exhaust system. If you are not looking for a louder system, you can customize your muffler to give your car all of the improved horsepower with none of the increased volume.
- Improved visuals: Depending on the material and style you want, you can make your car look impressive and flashy with a custom exhaust system. Larger exhaust tips and a high-shine finish will make your vehicle look like a racecar.
Choosing the right custom exhaust system is a complicated process; each component needs to complement the other components and your vehicle. If you choose the wrong pipes, muffler or exhaust tips, you risk hurting your vehicle’s performance instead of helping it.
Find Your Personal Mechanic
This complicated process is exactly why it’s important to work with a credible auto shop for your aftermarket exhaust system. The technician responsible for creating your custom system should be able to expertly guide you through the entire process so you don’t end up regretting the work you’ve had done. When deciding where to take your vehicle for a custom exhaust system, ask yourself these questions:
- How long has the shop offered custom exhaust system services?
- Does it have the right tools to machine the systems on site?
- How many years of experience do the technicians have in custom exhaust system work?
- Does the shop have examples of its previous work?
When you visit an auto shop for custom exhaust work, you should be treated with respect and honesty, regardless of your own level of expertise with cars. Everyone from car fanatics to those just getting into car customization should feel comfortable asking questions. If you feel unsure about your interaction with the technician, look for another shop to do the work. The time and expense that a custom exhaust system requires are too significant for you to work with a shop that you aren’t completely satisfied with.
The Customization Process
Once you’ve found the perfect shop, ask yourself what you’re looking for in your custom exhaust system. The expert technician will be able to guide you through the process of choosing every component for your new system and will help make sure the components work together to achieve your car goals. From pure performance to vanity features, the technician will create a perfectly customized system that you’ll be excited about.
Once everything has been designed, the technician will remove your standardized system and replace it with your custom one. This is a complicated and delicate process that requires considerable expertise. Once installed, your car will run, sound and look better than ever.
The Final Inspection
Once the work is complete, it’s a good idea to visually inspect your vehicle. Some things to look for include:
- Exhaust leaks: Listen for a discordant sound while driving; this can signal a leak in the exhaust system.
- Weld quality: Inspect where the components have been welded. Look for a smooth application without holes.
- Integrity of surrounding components: Look at the components surrounding the system to ensure there is no damage from the install.
Many drivers are perfectly satisfied with the standardized systems their cars had the day they rolled off the factory floor, but others are looking for ways to customize their vehicle’s look and performance. A custom exhaust system is a creative way to make your car faster, more efficient and more attractive.