The car’s exhaust system does the dirty work of transporting waste gasses created when air and fuel are burned in the engine’s combustion chamber. Most car exhaust systems are simply designed as a conduit for exhaust gases to move from the engine to the tailpipe. However, high flow exhaust systems can maximize the exhaust flow of the engine leading to better fuel economy and improved performance. These are just some of the benefits of a high flow exhaust system that this article will discuss.
What’s an exhaust system?
Most novice drivers would probably tell you that the short pipe that sticks out from the rear of their cars is what they know about exhaust systems. Although the tail pipe is a vital part of an automobile exhaust system, the truth is that it’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
There are many parts of a vehicle’s exhaust system. Let’s start with the building blocks of the exhaust flow—the manifold and headers. The former is connected to the head of the engine, placed directly over the cylinder. There’s a piece of pipe connected to each cylinder, and each pipe join together for a single exit point. This is then connected to the head pipe.
Headers, meanwhile, are replacements for cast iron exhaust manifolds. These are bent for superior flow with special coating finish to reduce heat in the engine compartment.
The headers are then connected to the mufflers through the head pipes. In between them is the catalytic converter, which stops exhaust gasses like carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from exiting the vehicle and being emitted to the atmosphere. It converts those gases into less harmful elements like carbon dioxide and water.
The muffler, meanwhile, turns down the volume of the exhaust by a few notches so that you and your passengers will be protected against noise pollution. Finally, at the end of the system is the tail pipe which is arguably the most prominent part of the exhaust system.
Stock exhaust system vs. High performance exhaust system
High flow or performance exhaust systems basically have the same features as that of factory exhaust systems. However, what makes a high flow exhaust system different is that it isn’t as restrictive as the exhaust systems installed by car makers.
Factory or stock exhaust systems are not optimized for the best possible flow of exhaust gases. Car makers spend more time perfecting the shape and placement of the air vents as well as improving the look of the car, among others, in hopes of getting more people to buy their cars. While there’s nothing wrong with that—after all, who doesn’t want to drive a nice-looking sedan, right?
But with car makers neglecting the exhaust system, drivers end up driving cars with engines working harder during combustion. In the end, the motorist has to deal with a car with lower horsepower and torque, as well as low gas mileage.
A high performance exhaust system improves power by limiting restrictions in the pipe, increasing diameter of stock pipes, and enhancing engine scavenging.
In doing so, a high flow exhaust system can bring several benefits to motorists, which will be discussed below.
Benefits of High Flow Exhaust
- Improved sound
The thundering, rumbling roar that an engine makes can be attributed to a high performance exhaust system. The growl that a car with a high flow exhaust system makes is a lot stronger and more powerful than what a vehicle with stock exhaust system could ever do. This is due to the use of slightly larger pipes made of stronger materials such as stainless steel. This can also be achieved by the installation of mufflers that offer a range of tones, allowing motorists to pick the right volume for their vehicles.
While this is more of a cosmetic benefit, it cannot be denied that many drivers just love hearing a deep, throaty roar from the engine. For most drivers, there’s nothing more fulfilling than to hear the sound of the engine as it indicates the force that’s lurking under the hood of their cars. It’s as if they are driving a high performance German sports car.
- Improved Engine Efficiency
Another benefit of having a high flow exhaust system is that it can improve the overall efficiency of the car engine. Thanks to wider pipes allowing exhaust to flow more freely down there, the cylinders of the engine are able to get rid of more waste gases. With fewer impurities in the cylinder, the engine is able to burn more air and oxygen which translates to more horsepower.
A more efficient engine can translate to at least 2 percent increase in fuel mileage. However, it may also be affected by other factors such as your driving habits. In the long run, replacing your car’s stock exhaust system would prove to be practical because you get to save more fuel thanks to a more efficient engine.
- Improved horsepower
Replacing your car’s muffler, headers, and catalytic converters can also improve your car’s power output in the long run. Adding an aftermarket exhaust system can improve a car’s horsepower by around 10 percent, according to most manufacturers.
If you’re lucky enough, your car can get up to 25 extra horsepower as well as up to 60 pound feet of massive torque increase.
Of course, you’ll have to take into consideration other factors like the overall condition of the car.
With these three major benefits of a high flow exhaust system, it is not surprising why there are car owners who are willing to spend just to replace the existing exhaust system in their cars. For most drivers, the benefit of a better flowing exhaust system that can boost their car’s performance is enough justification to spend. Others just like the impressive noise that their car’s engine can make when they revamp the exhaust system. And thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, there’s no fear of warranty coverage void even if motorists change their car’s exhaust system.