Are you considering investing in a performance exhaust for your car? Some telltale signs that you need a new exhaust include an unusually noisy engine, rusting or splitting on the exhaust itself or a reduction in fuel efficiency, as Halfords notes. However, these aren’t the only incentives for you to upgrade your exhaust.
As Fast Car explains, “a performance exhaust is there to get your engine breathing more effectively, it’s that simple.” Still, a fair few aspects warrant consideration before you splash out on that exhaust.
Make sure you… insure
Of course, this goes without saying in the UK, where you need at least third-party car insurance to legally drive a car, whether or not it is equipped with a performance exhaust.
However, as adding such an exhaust can increase your premiums, you should consider switching to a specialist modified car insurance policy to help rein in the costs.
Bad noise, bad noise, whatcha gonna do?
An exhaust consists of various elements – including a manifold, catalytic converter and, of course, the exhaust pipe. There’s also the silencer, which is responsible for muffling the rumbling noises a vehicle’s engine makes. If the silencer is damaged even slightly, the engine may become noticeably more audible.
If, however, the engine sounds more like it’s rattling than rumbling, then it might be the catalytic converter that is at fault, as it may have either loosened or incurred damage.
Hey, big bender! Is the exhaust pipe in the right shape?
Ideally, the exhaust pipe will be straight from front to back, entirely free of contortions. In practice, you might struggle to find an aftermarket exhaust pipe that is actually like this, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for the smoothest pipe possible, a hallmark of performance systems.
Where an exhaust pipe does bend, you should make sure there’s quality workmanship there. A good exhaust system will be “mandrel bent”, resulting in a pipe that hardly changes diameter when twisting.
Weld in motion: yes, you should look at the welding
When it comes to welding, ensuring good workmanship is (again) essential. You don’t want an exhaust blighted by blotches or splotches; instead, it should be MIG (metal inert gas) or TIG (tungsten inert gas) welded to strongly secure the seal.
While there’s only so much that you can judge about an exhaust from the outside, one with sumptuously smooth casing will typically be smooth internally, too, thereby allowing the gas to flow more freely.
Some like it hot – especially your exhaust
The warmer that gases are, the quicker they tend to move, as you probably already know if you’re partial to curry. That science applies to your car exhaust, too; it’s a good reason for you to keep as much heat inside it as possible and, in this way, improve its operation.
The aftermarket processes from which you can choose to meet this end include heat wrapping, where a low-cost thermal bandage is applied to the exhaust, as well as high-end – and high-cost – ceramic coatings.
As you can see, there’s a lot to contemplate if adding a performance exhaust to your four-wheeled pride and joy is something that you fancy doing. Be sure to bear the above in mind, then, before you make any decisions, to ensure you make a worthwhile rather than regrettable upgrade.