A Guide to Upgrading Your Exhaust System: Key Factors to Consider When Choosing the Ideal System

Upgrading the exhaust system on your car is one of the most cost-efficient ways of improving performance. The beauty of it is that you’ll hear the aggressive growl from your engine as it roars to life, and you’ll also feel the boost in horsepower as the exhaust gases are expelled more quickly to increase acceleration.

But with so many different brands and styles available on the market, how do you go about choosing which one is right for your car? This article will help you make an informed decision by going over some important factors to take into consideration when upgrading your vehicle’s exhaust system.

car performance exhaust
source: parkmuffler.com

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Exhaust System

Stainless Steel vs Chrome-lined

First things first, there are two types of exhaust systems: stainless steel and chrome-lined. Stainless steel is the more popular choice as it’s durable and can withstand harsh conditions like constant heat from the engine. The downside though is that it is not as flexible compared to chrome-lined which is more flexible but less durable. This means that if you have sharp bends in your exhaust system, then a stainless steel will be more preferable than a chrome-lined one. 

In terms of performance, both types are more or less equal as they both produce a similar amount of noise and horsepower. The next thing you should consider when upgrading your vehicle’s exhaust system is the type of car you have. If it’s a sedan or coupe, then an aftermarket muffler will be sufficient to get the job done. However, if you have a truck or SUV, then you’ll need a complete catback system so that all parts of the exhaust system will fit properly.


In terms of cost, you’ll be surprised to find out that a catback system can cost as low as $150 and go up to as much as $600. The reason why it’s so inexpensive is that most companies manufacture these parts in China where labour costs are significantly lower compared to here in Australia. I personally, however, prefer buying an exhaust system from a brand like Armytrix Exhausts, simply because they’re of higher quality, reasonably priced and guaranteed to fit.

armytrix exhaust
source: armytrixusa.com

Mandrel vs Crush Bends

The next thing you should consider is whether you want the exhaust system to feature mandrel or crush bends. The advantage of a mandrel-bent exhaust system is that it produces less noise than a crush-bent one, and provides more horsepower due to being less air-restrictive. However, the disadvantage is that exhaust systems with mandrel-bent pipes and headers can be much more expensive. On the other hand, a crush bent exhaust systems are more affordable, but they’re more restrictive than mandrel-bent systems.

Sound Production

Next, you need to think about what type of exhaust sound you want. If you’re looking for a deep, throaty sound that can get your car noticed, then an aftermarket performance muffler will be the perfect choice. On the other hand, if you want something more subtle and refined, then consider getting an adjustable muffler from companies like Armytryx Exhaust as they provide both options.

Ensuring a Snug Fit

Then, you have to consider the fit. The exhaust system shouldn’t be too big or too small for your engine. In order to ensure that, you have to pay attention to the diameter of the exhaust pipes as well as the length. Most aftermarket mufflers come with a sizing chart which you can refer to in order to get the right fit for your car. It’s also important that the exhaust system fits snugly on all parts of your vehicle, especially if it has sharp bends. This will prevent any leaks or rattles from occurring.

exhaust system
source: darksidedevelopments.co.uk


As far as installation goes, it’s generally easier to install an aftermarket catback system on your own rather than having someone else do it for you. Most systems come with simple instructions that even a novice can follow, and some even come with an installation DVD so that you can watch how it’s done. However, if you prefer to have the work done by a professional mechanic, you should also factor in the installation costs into your budget.

Your Car’s Warranty Terms

The last thing you have to consider is your car’s warranty terms. Most manufacturers provide a certain period of time in which you can make modifications to your vehicle without voiding the warranty, so it’s best to check with them first before buying an exhaust system. 


In conclusion, upgrading your car’s exhaust system is definitely worth it as it not only improves its performance but also enhances its looks and sound. You just have to choose wisely as there are many different brands out there claiming to be the best when it comes to exhaust systems. Do your due diligence when deciding on the products you want to buy, as it will play a crucial role in determining whether the aftermarket exhaust system will fit your car or not.

Author: Michael Hobbs

Share This Post On