Bad news, gents: women actually think less of you when you show up in a flashy sports car.

But the good news is, who cares? Modding your baby will be a lot more fun than a messy relationship, and a lot less dramatic in the long run. And one of the best additions you can add to your vehicle is a custom exhaust.

Exhaust is the sauce behind that delicious growl when you rev your engine. If you’re not satisfied with how your car purrs under duress, then modifying the car exhaust system might help. And it adds a couple of bonus benefits as well.

Keep reading for your full guide on exhaust system modifications.

Benefits of Custom Exhaust

There’s a lot more to an exhaust system than making your car sound nice. It helps with performance, fuel economy, and may be built better than factory versions. Let’s cover just a few of the reasons why you should get a custom car exhaust system.

Standard Exhaust Pipes Are Boring

If there’s one place no one ever looks, it’s the exhaust pipe. Why? Well, in most cases it’s because the exhaust pipe is a dirty old pipe coated in carbon buildup.

If you really want to make your car stand out, then the little details matter the most. A shiny exhaust pipe that’s higher quality than factory standard is a great place to start.

Improved Exhaust Flow

To save money, car manufacturers tend to go as cheap as they can. One of the places that loses out is the exhaust system. To reduce manufacturing costs, they’ll bend the pipe with a crush bend.

This reduces airflow, limiting how much exhaust can leave. Getting custom car exhausts gets you a mandrel bend, which has a consistent diameter throughout the tube. Better airflow is key to helping the engine “breathe” better.

Larger Pipe Diameter

While we’re on the subject of diameters, stock exhaust often comes with the smallest pipe diameter necessary. Custom gets you a thicker pipe. Same as with better bends, your engine won’t be choked up by the smaller pipe.

Better Build Quality

Since your auto manufacturer went cheap, the exhaust doesn’t use the best materials. While an exhaust isn’t at the top of the list for common auto repairs, it can break from time to time. Better materials mean the car lasts longer. Plus, you have so many options to choose from. Check out just a few here at the Sport Compact Warehouse.

Better Overall Fuel Economy

The reasons to upgrade your exhaust system don’t stop with improved performance as a result of more airflow. You even save a few dollars during your next visit to the pump.

Of course, an exhaust system can lead to burning more gas than usual–assuming you want increased performance. But with gas being at insane prices right now, you can get a custom car exhaust system that looks good and keeps your wallet heavier, too.

Types of Car Exhaust Systems

So you’re sold on making your car sound sexy–and be sexy, economically speaking. Now it’s time to learn about the different exhaust system types. There are three in total.


If you’re looking to be as minimal as possible, you’ll want to do an axle-back. This is a replacement you can often do yourself without shelling out a fortune to your mechanic.

This is where you replace only the tail end (no pun intended) of the system. You’re only making changes to the short run from the muffler to the rear axle.

However, know that you’ll get minimal benefits from the above. It’s a good starting point, and easy on the budget. But performance, fuel savings, and more won’t be as pronounced here.


If you’re not satisfied with an axle-back, but don’t want to tear your baby to pieces, then a cat-back is a good midway point. This involves a full replacement of the stock exhaust system–at least from the muffler to the catalytic converter.

This is a much more involved job and will likely require a visit to your car’s “dentist.” But it likely won’t break the bank.

You’ll get a considerable improvement over a simple cat-back, too. And this is the one where even the mechanic can appreciate your pipes.


If you want to go with the nuclear option, this is it. A header back is a replacement, back to front, of your exhaust system. All stock components come out for this one, replacing them only with aftermarket options.

Of course, this is the most expensive. But you also get the most bang for your buck. Since this new exhaust system goes straight to the engine, you’re getting all the benefits we mentioned earlier.

How to Replace the Exhaust System

Let’s give a brief overview of how replacement works. It’s recommended that you visit your mechanic for this step. If you do this yourself, you assume full responsibility for anything that happens.

1. Purchase compatible parts–make sure your new muffler and kit fit your vehicle!

2. Place your car in park and then jack it up under you can access the underside

3. Remove the parts depending on the extent you want to replace your exhaust

4. Remove the catalytic converter (only if you’re doing a full-blown header-back replacement)

5. Replace any rubber hangers that you find, since these get old and cracked

6. Remove your exhaust manifold and replace it

7. Reinstall the new exhaust system and associated parts

8. Be sure to tighten all those bolts and flanges

9. Give your car a test drive with the windows down to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

10. Congratulations, you’re all done!

Replace Your Exhaust System Today

A custom exhaust is an excellent way to make a meaningful alteration to your vehicle without tearing the thing to pieces. If you do choose to get a custom car exhaust, know that there are three different degrees that you can choose from. Pick one that fits your budget, but adds meaningful improvements to your vehicle.

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