There are so many reasons to straight pipe your car: with incredible sound topping that list. Your car needs a powerful exhaust growl to match its look: just like every great movie doesn’t have the same impact without the soundtrack.
Straight piping your car isn’t just for auditory purposes, it also boosts performance and a lot of functionalities. Many car owners decide to straight pipe their cars as a do-it-yourself aftermarket project.
If you’re considering straight piping your car, especially if you want to do it yourself, there are a lot of things to consider. Apart from finding out how much it costs, you also need to know if it’s a worthwhile decision and what to avoid. It’s important to understand the basic science behind why straight piping has this effect on your car, and it’ll help you choose the right straight pipe.
Since you’ll be sourcing the exhaust system parts yourself, you have the opportunity to find the best exhaust system parts for your vehicle and customize the exhaust according to your vehicle’s requirements.
We’ll help you decide what the best decision is for you so that you don’t have to spend money in unnecessary places. While it can get overwhelming once you see all of the options in the market, it’s easy to dissect and choose the ones you like once you understand what you need.
So how much does it cost to straight pipe a car?
Straight piping your car can cost anywhere between $500-$1000. It depends largely on whether you decide to source the exhaust system materials yourself or get the change done from a mechanic.
How Does a Straight Pipe Work
Before you take the plunge and buy an entire straight pipe exhaust system for your car, it’s valuable to understand how a straight pipe works.
The reason why it’s called a Straight pipe is that there’s nothing else in the exhaust system apart from the pipe. The muffler and catalytic converter have been removed. This stripped-back version of the exhaust system provides very different functioning.
In fact, you’ll find straight pipes in race cars and hyper performance vehicles, since it can provide that kind of streamlined performance without the interference of a muffler or a catalytic converter.
So what exactly happens when your car has a straight pipe exhaust system? There is great ventilation and air circulation underneath the car. Any of the gases and contaminants that have to be expelled are free flowing and will be released directly from the exhaust tip.
How much does it cost to straight pipe a car?
Like we mentioned earlier in the article, the straight piping can largely depend on a couple of factors when you want to calculate the toll it will take on your wallet. Straight pipe exhaust systems can be expensive, but can also amass a large range of prices depending on the materials used.
The reason why materials become so important in a straight pipe system is because of the simplicity. Since there is only one pipe taking on the responsibility of the entire exhaust system, that pipe needs to be made of top-notch quality material. Furthermore, you’d want the exhaust system to last a long time if you’re making the switch, and most of them are built for durability as well.
However, straight piping your car is a bit of a commitment: if you only want to experience a straight piped exhaust system for a couple of years, it makes sense to opt for a budget exhaust system. You can expect to find a budget straight-pipe exhaust system within $200-300. This is perfect for people who have already spent a lot of money on the car, or other aftermarket modifications, but still want that straight-pipe experience.
On the other hand, if you’re a die hard straight pipe fan and are willing to make the commitment for the next decade, we see no reason why you should judiciously choose the best exhaust system that money can buy. With exhaust systems, you get your money’s worth in durability. Buying an exhaust system that is double the price of the entry-level budget counterparts will not only last you years and years, but will have a significant difference in the quality and sound.
There’s a big difference between the sound a budget straight pipe exhaust system will make and the one a high-end exhaust system will make, so if the main reason why you’re getting an exhaust system is for the sound: you should factor this in as well.
An added factor pertaining to the price is the labor cost. Naturally, getting a mechanic to do the switch for you will cost a bit of money. You can expect to spend anywhere between $100-200 for a mechanic to make the entire exhaust system switch for you. Getting the mechanic to source the parts for you as well will undoubtedly result in an extra $100-200. That’s why some people end up spending more than $1000 when they visit their local parts store and ask for a complete exhaust system overhaul.
If you’re willing to spend this amount of money, having the mechanics source it and do the switch can save you the trouble. However, you can cut the costs nearly by half if you simply do the research yourself and find the best straight pipe exhaust system. Installing it is not that difficult either. Check out this video to see how this guy does it!
What Can a Straight Pipe Do for A Car?
After installing a straight exhaust pipe system, the first thing you will notice in your car is the noise the pipe will allow your car engine to produce. However, before we can explore more about a straight pipe, you should understand that these exhaust systems play a crucial role in the overall performance of a car. These systems function just like your standard exhaust systems, and they will be in charge of taking the fumes and gasses generated in your car’s engine and moving them to the car’s rear to be removed from your car.
You will have to make sure that your car’s straight exhaust pipe is properly installed. And it is advisable to visit a professional and experienced car garage to get it done. If the system is not installed properly, your car will face issues getting rid of the engine’s harmful fumes and glasses. Whether you are installing the straight pipe system on your own or you have hired someone to handle the task, just ensure that the task is done the way it is supposed to. And you can enjoy all the benefits of using a straight pipe exhaust system for your car.
But should you go for it? We have listed some advantages and disadvantages of using a straight pipe system. Have a look at them, and you can make an informed decision.
Advantages of a Straight Pipe exhaust system
If you’re still not convinced to make the switch, here are the top reasons why you should change your exhaust system to a straight pipe one and the benefits it provides to your vehicle.
1. Better Performance
One of the advantages of having better air circulation (thanks to the straight pipe exhaust system) is that you deliver extra horsepower to the engine!
2. Incredible sound
We’d go so far as to say that the straight pipe exhaust system actually brings out the real sound of your car. Your engine really gets to growl without a muffler or catalytic converter to hold it back! However, you must bear in mind that this is loud. Driving to the airport at 4am is sure to alert the entire neighborhood.
3. Attractive looks
Anyone who knows anything about cars will recognize your straight pipe exhaust system with one look at it (that is, if they don’t hear it first!). It’s a major style statement as well, and these things can look great with chrome finishes and complement the look of your car.
4. Less unsprung weight
Ever wondered why racing cars have straight pipe exhaust systems? The answer is less weight. Mufflers and other exhaust system parts get heavy, and having less weight means that the car can go faster with less effort.
5. Much better fuel economy
Did we say your car can go faster with less effort? Yes, we did! I’m sure you can imagine what ‘less effort’ means — less fuel consumption! What’s not to love about that?
Disadvantages of a Straight Pipe
It wouldn’t be fair to only advertise the positives of having a straight pipe exhaust system — you should be prepared for the drawbacks.
1. Car is difficult to sell later on
It’s hard to imagine, but not everyone wants a straight pipe system and can be the dealbreaker for someone looking to buy your car once you’re ready to upgrade. A quick solution to this is to keep the original exhaust system handy so you can switch it back in this case.
2. Makes a lot of noise
Yes, the sound is incredible, but it’s also capital-L-loud. If you live in a neighborhood with pesky neighbors who will make an issue out of anything (we know the type), then you might be getting into a long-drawn fight. Be prepared to face this kind of tussle. Using a straight pipe system, you can face legal actions as your car may produce more noise than is legally allowed. Most cars with straight pipes are generally used on racing tracks.
You can also read our article on Best Exhaust For 5.9 Cummins.
3. It Is an Added Expense
When you buy a new or old car, it will come with a standard exhaust system. The system can do its task to keep your car functioning smoothly. However, I plan to replace it with a new exhaust system. You will have to spend more, which will add an extra expense to your car maintenance even though you have installed an affordable system, which will still be an expense for you, plan to install a straight pipe for a car if you have enough budget for your car maintenance.
4. It Can Increase Emissions
Remember that the exhaust system in your car does much more than keep the exhaust fumes and gasses moving along. The exhaust system also prevents the vehicle from generating more harmful gasses affecting humans and the environment. For example, every exhaust system comes with a catalyst converter. This tool is designed and developed to effectively convert your car’s harmful gasses into less harmful gasses, lowering the damaging effect. If you remove the catalytic converter while installing a straight pipe exhaust system, then your car will not perform such tasks and will begin to produce more emissions.
Upgrading Your Exhaust System: Things to Keep in Mind
There is no doubt that the OEM exhaust systems are much better than a car owner might think. If you want, you can improve or upgrade your car’s exhaust system, but you need to be very careful while modifying the system. To help you out with this, we have mentioned some important points. Have a look.
- You should never remove or delete anything. As per the experts, removing a catalytic or muffler converter can greatly affect your engine performance. The crucial tune system is the exhaust manifold, factory exhaust, and cylinder head. If you remove them from the car, your car will lose power. So, upgrade the exhaust but don’t remove anything.
- If you have the budget, go for a tuned system. Most experts say that a tuned system can be an ideal upgrade, especially the cat-back systems. They can be made from mandrel-bent or stainless-steel tubing.
- If you don’t want or can’t tune the exhaust system, you can make incremental changes. If you want to remove the muffler, it will be better to replace it with a straight-through muffler system. Check your car before and after to know how the new system has influenced the performance. Then you can decide whether you should use the new muffler or keep using the factory muffler.
- You should understand the tube size’s impact on your car’s overall performance. A 400HP equipped with a dual-exhaust system requires around 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches pipe. Going above this limit can be dangerous for your car.
So, keep these things in mind while changing the exhaust system to prevent any catastrophic failure.
Straight Pipe Exhaust System: Major Parts
This device allows people to breathe air when visiting New York or Los Angeles. The converter takes produced CO, unburnt hydrocarbons, and NOx from the exhaust system, and then it converts those gasses into H2O, CO2, N2, and O2, which are less harmful.
Exhaust Header or Manifold
This is an upgraded item, and here the heavy manifolds are replaced with tubular headers. One of the major reasons for upgrading an exhaust header is to increase the piping diameter and increase your exhaust system scavenging. Besides, this also has become a trend.
There are different mufflers, but all have the same purpose, lowering the noise level. These devices effectively redirect the airflows, allowing the gasses to expand and convert into sound-deadening material.
Even though it is not a necessary part of an exhaust system, experts always suggest using them as they can also help in eliminating sound. The devices function by rejecting or canceling the sound waves. They come tuned for a certain frequency to control the noise.
It is not good to allow the exhaust gasses to pump underneath the car, filling the cabin with glasses and fumes. You will need pipes, like straight pipes or more, to direct those gasses or fumes elsewhere.
Tips To Choose a Good Exhaust System
Consider The Construction Type of The System
What makes straight pipes exhaust systems a popular and effective performance upgrade? These systems are developed quite differently than their stock counterparts. Besides, they are proved to be quite effective in lowering power-robbing restrictions, offering more horsepower, and triggering exhaust scavenging.
One of the major differences between aftermarket and stock exhaust is the pipe’s diameter. The diameter range on a straight pipe exhaust system can vary based on a different application. But in general, these exhaust systems come with larger diameter options to flow more air volume. Furthermore, a good diameter size will also depend on other factors, such as RPM, engine size, and more. You can contact a professional car mechanic to choose the best size for your particular car model.
Another important difference between an aftermarket and stock exhaust system is the exhaust pipe bends. The stock exhaust pipes are generally created through the crush bending method. This is an easy and fast method. But it can also lead to performance-robbing restrictions. Most straight pipes manufacturers are now using the mandrel bending process to prevent such restrictions. Under this process, a flexible yet durable rod is inserted into the pipes. The rod will prevent the exhaust pipes’ walls from kinking or collapsing. As a result, you will enjoy a constant pipe diameter without any bending restrictions. So, for better performance, go for straight pipes made through the mandrel bending process.
Dual Or Single Exhaust Systems?
Another important thing to consider while choosing a straight pipe exhaust system is its configuration. Speaking about some commonly available setups, you can go for a dual exit, dual crossover, single or dual system based on your budget and requirements.
The most common configuration is the single exhaust system. Under this design, you will find a single set of components, including an exhaust tip and a muffler, and the parts will exit behind the car’s axle. With a straight pipe single exhaust system, you will enjoy a great performance upgrade compared to the stock exhaust systems. Besides, these will be lightweight and less expensive than the dual systems.
Now coming to the dual exhaust systems, these are generally a twisted version of a single exhaust system. The configuration will be the same, as a sign system, like one muffler, converter, head pipe, etc. But the only difference will be two straight exhaust pipes. You may not see any real performance improvement with this design, but some car owners love the design.
Talking about the true dual exhaust systems, these are quite popular among car owners. The design includes two exhaust pipes, two powerful catalytic converters, two mufflers, and other necessary things. Most performance freaks go for this particular design as it looks very sporty and demonstrates a high-flow capability.
Exhaust System Materials
Most of the aftermarket straight pipe exhaust systems can be created from different materials, but the experts suggest going for systems made of stainless steel or mild steel. One of the major advantages of a mild steel-made system is the cost. They are less expensive but will corrode or develop rust with time. On the other hand, stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, and a straight pipe exhaust system made of stainless steel can perform well in snowy or rainy climates. So, the choice is yours.
Exhaust Systems: Different Types Available in The Market
Apart from the straight pipe exhaust system, there are some other systems that you can use to change the horsepower and sound of your car. Here are the common options that you can choose.
Straight Pipe Vs. Cat-Back Exhaust System
Speaking about the cat-back system can change the machine after the catalytic converts to the vehicle’s tailpipe. Remember that you can’t detach the catalytic converters in the cat-back exhaust systems. As a result, your car can easily pass emission testing. This modification will replace the stainless-steel tubing, tailpipe, and mufflers in the car to boost the performance and horsepower.
Besides, it will also increase the car’s sound. But the best thing is that you can enjoy all these things without generating any harmful emissions as the catalytic converter will still be there. Like a straight pipe system, the cat-back system can increase the car’s loudness without making it noisy.
Straight Pipe Vs. Downpipe
Adding a downpipe exhaust system is a great way to enhance the sound and performance of your vehicle. This type of modification generally concentrates on your car’s front, not the areas behind the catalytic. While installing the downpipes, removing the catalytic converter is unnecessary, but you can directly attach it to the manifold using a bigger pipe.
As a result, there will be a smooth and efficient emission movement while passing through the car’s turban housing. This medication can be more expensive than a straight pipe system and around USD 2000 to USD 3000.
Straight Pipe Vs. Muffler Delete
Well, both the straight pipe and muffler delete exhaust systems are good choices for increasing the sound of your car. If you are looking for a cost-effective modification for your car, you can go for any of these options. But there will be a massive variation in sound quality between a muffler delete and a straight pipe system.
For example, a straight pipe system will make your car a little aggressive and can produce more noise under any driving conditions. You can witness louder noise even though your car’s speed is low. If you want to enjoy better volume without disturbing others, opt for a muffler delete system.
Straight Pipe Vs. Performance Exhaust
As the name suggests, a performance exhaust can effectively boost the overall performance of your vehicle. This system can also offer some great benefits, just like a straight pipe system does. And the benefits can be enjoyed without deleting the catalytic converter and making excessive noise.
By installing a good performance exhaust system, you can allow your car to properly adjust the airflow, and the horsepower will go up. Besides, torque will also be good. These systems are available in H-tubes and X-tubes. If you feel confused, consult your car mechanic about the model for the best exhaust system for your car.
How Much Does This Exhaust System Cost?
As per the experts, the cost of a straight pipe system for your car will vary based on different factors. The materials utilized in the pipes can make a huge difference. Besides, your car model can also play a great role in this. What’s more? Your current city and hiring a professional can also influence the cost. You save money by installing the system yourself, but you should not do that. For a low-end model, the straight pipe system can cost you around USD 300 to USD 600. But sometimes, the cost can go up to USD 1000 to USD 1500.
What Should Be the Size of The Straight Pipe Exhaust System?
This will greatly depend on your car’s engine size and the amount of power it produces. But there is an easy rule that you can follow to determine the perfect diameter of the straight pipe exhaust system. For every 100 HP, you should add one inch within the exhaust pipe. So, if your car produces 800 HP, then the ideal diameter of the exhaust pipe should be 8 inches, or you can go for two 4-inches pipes if you are planning to install a dual-exhausts system. However, it is advisable to consult an expert before making any modifications.
Is It Easy to Sell a Car with a Straight Pipe Exhaust System?
It will not be an easy task to sell your car with a straight pipe exhaust system. In fact, for some people, this can be impossible to do. This will depend on the city or state you live in and the local laws related to a vehicle. Not all places require an emission testing report. But other states can prohibit selling cars that are road illegal.
On the other hand, you should keep in mind that heavily modified cars don’t retain a good original or resale value, and not all people will be interested in buying a modified car. That means the resell value will go down. So, if you are planning for a straight pipe exhaust system, you should store the original exhaust system in good condition to replace it when you want to sell your car.
We can only provide an estimate of the cost: the reality greatly depends on your model and vehicle type. However, it should fall between the range we mentioned above. A good rule of thumb for any aftermarket modification is that you save almost half the money by doing it yourself.
However, it’s difficult to do it yourself without destroying the original system, and you might want to hold on to that in case you’re planning to sell the car in the next few years.
Of course, you can also opt for the latest dual exhaust systems that allow you to switch to straight pipe functioning whenever you want, but since the muffler and catalytic converter still exist, you don’t get rid of the unsprung weight or achieve better fuel economy.
We’re sure you’ll be able to make an educated decision after knowing about all the aspects of straight piping your car. Good luck!