If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you were a NASCAR driver, upgrading a vehicle’s exhaust system to make a louder sound is the next best thing to actually being on the race track. A louder exhaust sound can make for some added fun when accelerating, or even just revving your engine at a stoplight to demonstrate the sheer power of your machine. If you’re training to become an auto mechanic, upgrading a vehicle’s exhaust system to make it louder is something that isn’t too difficult to do, but it’s important to know that there are a few different ways to go about this procedure.
Here, we’ll review the ins and outs of automotive exhaust systems, as well as some options that mechanics have for making them louder.
Those in Auto Careers Should Know How an Exhaust System Works
In all gas-powered vehicles, an exhaust system is responsible for expelling exhaust, which is created as a result of the combustion process. In combustion, fuel and air are mixed and then ignited by a spark plug to produce the energy on which an engine runs. The exhaust system expels the surplus fuel particles and other harmful substances from a vehicle’s cylinders, where the combustion process takes place.
If you’re in automotive school, it’s important to note that exhaust systems may differ depending on the vehicle. Exhaust systems may include a cylinder head or a manifold, which consolidates the exhaust gas in the cylinders into a singular pipe. Most vehicles are also equipped with a catalytic converter, which reduces the expulsion of harmful emissions into the atmosphere by converting pollutants into carbon dioxide and water. The exhaust pipe connects the parts of an exhaust system together and acts as a funnel through which exhaust travels and is filtered, while the muffler serves to reduce the amount of noise by redirecting sound waves away from the tailpipe. Exhaust systems may also include an exhaust tip, a non-essential accessory that attaches to the tailpipe, and comes in different shapes and sizes for a unique look.
What Determines an Exhaust System’s Noise Level?
While mufflers control the amount of sound a vehicle’s exhaust system makes, the engine is what plays the biggest role in determining the volume of the exhaust system. Bigger engines will produce a deeper sound, while smaller engines won’t be as loud. While replacing a vehicle’s engine could have a role in changing the sound of the exhaust, this is an unlikely route for achieving a louder exhaust sound. Instead, the volume of the exhaust system can be altered by upgrading or replacing some of the system’s existing components, such as the muffler type, exhaust pipe, and the exhaust tip. Here are some of the ways to do it.
Make a Vehicle’s Exhaust System Louder with the Straight Pipe Method
This method is one of the most complicated ways to upgrade a vehicle’s exhaust system, but for qualified professionals in auto careers, it’s definitely an option. The ‘straight pipe method’ is just what it sounds like — replacing a vehicle’s exhaust system with a singular, welded pipe from the manifold (or headers) through to the exhaust tip. This method involves the complete elimination of the mufflers and catalytic converter, allowing an engine’s true sound to be heard, as it removes any barriers the sound may encounter. Additional benefits include enhanced performance, as a straight pipe allows exhaust gases to flow and the engine to perform without encountering any obstructions.
A drawback of the straight pipe method is that it may not always be legal, depending on the amount of fumes emitted. Government regulations prevent vehicles from emitting more than a certain level of exhaust, and without a catalytic converter, a vehicle may be at risk of becoming illegal to operate. Additionally, straight pipe exhaust systems, in addition to being loud, can also create much stronger, unpleasant exhaust odours, which might be an inconvenience for those with sensitive noses.
Up the Volume by Replacing the Muffler
As the function of the muffler is to absorb the sound made by the expulsion of exhaust, manufacturers often design a vehicle’s muffler to keep the noise levels as quiet as possible. Replacing a vehicle’s muffler with one that’s designed to increase sound rather than absorb it will make a vehicle’s exhaust system louder. Glasspack mufflers are one option for a muffler type known to increase the sound output of a vehicle. In these mufflers, exhaust gas goes straight through the center of the muffler rather than being redirected.
The Simplest Option? Give Your Muffler Some Holes
Putting holes in an exhaust system’s muffler can work to amplify the sound of a vehicle’s exhaust. By drilling holes into a muffler, exhaust can escape from other places, making the expulsion of exhaust sound much louder. When putting holes in a muffler, it’s important to test a vehicle’s exhaust system for sound after each hole until it reaches a desired level of noise. As always, make sure to follow legal regulations with regard to this practice, as drilling holes in a vehicle’s muffler is not allowed in certain areas.
Are you interested in attending auto mechanic school?
ATC Toronto’s programs will give you the training you need for a successful career.