What Are The Different Exhaust Systems?

Key Points

  • Aftermarket exhausts are easy to install and can change your vehicle
  • Performance exhaust systems can surprisingly improve your trucks performance
  • Different systems provide different sounds, performance, & MPG
  • There are five different exhaust types single, dual, dual side, dual opposite, and performance
  • There are many accessories you can spend a lot of money on that serve little to no purpose

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5 Common Exhaust Systems

Some are ideal for normal vehicles while others can improve high-performance engines. Here I’ll share the types of exhaust systems commonly used in cars today!

Single Exit Pipe

The most common type of exhaust system is a single exit. They’re usually on cars and trucks you buy from dealers, but they aren’t very efficient pipes – in fact, its an area where carmakers have been cutting costs lately as manufacturers strive for a competitive edge against foreign competition with cheaper labor rates that come out ahead time after time.

It doesn’t matter what make or model your vehicle may be; if it has more than 1 pipe exiting underhood then there’s probably going back somewhere between 30 – 50 years ago before all vehicles had them installed this way because that’s just how today’s vehicles are made.

Even vehicles being built today share a lot of components from the same automaker, so it remains important to have a more efficient exhaust system for your vehicle which is going to be reflected in its performance and fuel efficiency on road!

Dual Rear Exit

The dual rear exit exhaust system is generally on the sportier cars or added to make a vehicle seem as if it has more power. It gives off an engine sound that’s deep and powerful, which catches your attention when driving by in traffic, not bad for something so simple!

This type of setup uses two pipes running parallel with one another at each end instead of curving around wheels as other designs do; this helps them produce better traction during hard starts thanks mainly due to brakes not having extra weight any more than usual.

The system can be added to just about any car but is most commonly found on small sports cars that don’t need the extra fuel consumption or weight due to their ability to go fast enough as it is.

Two of these systems are easily noticed when looking at a rear hatchback vehicle because they’ll look like two exhaust pipes coming out of each corner of the vehicle. It’s also used in some high-performance luxury cars to give them a sporty look and feel even when they don’t have too much power behind their engines.

Opposite Dual Exhaust

The purpose of the opposite dual exhaust system is to have two separate pipes that exit out from behind your vehicle’s tires. They’re designed for better filtering and reduce buildup by exiting downward, so they don’t block any air intake grilles on top or below them like other systems may do! This type can be found mostly in larger vehicles such as trucks which need more power because their weight requires it.

The opposite dual exhaust system is great for vehicles that have a lot of weight because they need the power. This system is designed to have two separate pipes that exit out from behind your tires. By exiting downward, these pipes won’t block any air intake grilles on top or below them which can cause other problems with other types of exhaust systems.

Dual Side Exhaust

A dual side exhaust system has two pipes next to each other on one side. The two gasses are more efficiently expelled through these branches, offering some enhancement in performance! The exhaust manifolds are also made of durable materials and can take the heat!

The main advantage of a dual side exhaust system is that it can help your engine breathe better by letting the engine expel more exhaust gasses.

The dual side exhaust system is also used on V8 engines, where the twin pipes are routed to two separate mufflers. You can find dual sided exhausts for engines that have a single exhaust manifold on smaller engines (usually an inline 4 2.X liter) but they are only for show. Dual exhaust tips adds more symmetry on the rear of your car. Some even just go the lazy route and buy an extra exhaust tip and mount it under their trunk.

More perfomance-oriented vehicles like sports cars usually come with this type of exhaust set up. The sound you get from a dual side exhaust system is deeper and throatier than from a single exhaust system.

One downside of having a dual side exhaust is that it can be noisier. If you’re looking for something more subtle, you may want to go with a single exhaust system. But if you’re looking for that performance edge and don’t mind a little more noise, a dual side exhaust may be right for you.

High Performance Exhaust

There are many benefits to installing a high performance exhaust system on your vehicle. Not only will it make it easier for you when accelerating, but these systems also reduce emissions and green house gases that lead the deterioration of our environment as well! The following will cover the torque and horsepower gains you can achieve with an aftermarket exhaust system.

Depending on the vehicle, the power gains are significantly different for each model. The first thing to take into consideration is if your vehicle is turbo charged or not. Turbo charged vehicles use a forced induction system (turbocharger) which compresses the air that is entering the engine, thus increasing power and throttle response. Turbo charged vehicles do not yield as much of an increase in horsepower as a naturally aspirated engine does.

One of the first questions we all ask is how much horsepower can I expect to gain from my aftermarket exhaust system?

Well, it all depends on how much exhaust flow capacity is increased. If you are looking to gain 20-30 horsepower, expect to spend about $1,000 total on the system and have it installed professionally. This includes bolts, hangers, clamps, gaskets, etc.

Names Of Exhaust Parts

Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust system on your car is a vital component that prevents toxic gases from reaching passengers inside. The manifold guides engine waste where it through the vehicle’s catalytic converter or other devices for removing harmful pollutants like soot and carbon dioxide (CO2).

The manifold is a group of paths that funnel exhaust into the main tubes. They are usually made metal that are designed to last for the life of the car.

Manufacturers fabricate manifolds in various shapes to suit specific vehicles. There are round, tubular, L-shaped, V-shaped, and even straight ones.

Oxygen Sensor

The function of an oxygen sensor is to measure how much air there’s in your exhaust system. Once it knows the amount, then by varying fuel levels will allow for best mixture at high performace conditions or low-end models with less airflow requirements

“It works like this: as the oxygen in the exhaust stream flows past a coiled wire, voltage is generated. The more oxygen there is in the mixture, the stronger the current. As you might have guessed already, that current varies depending on what fuel-air ratio your car is currently running. If it’s jetting for high performance then a richer mixture means more voltage is generated. If it’s trying to save gas then a leaner ratio generates more voltage.

The computer reads the signal out of the sensor in order to adjust fuel flow and spark timing.” Source

This sensor is important in ensuring that the engine is running with the correct fuel-air mixture. By reading the voltage output of the sensor, the computer can make adjustments to ensure that the car is running efficiently.

Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter is the pivotal component in our vehicle’s exhaust system. This device turns harmful pollutants like unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide into less noxious substances, such as water vapor or CO2 gas. For any modern vehicles that have this factory installed on them by their manufacturer it must always be functioning if not replaced with one at an inspection station!

Catalytic converters are the keys to reducing greenhouse gases and vehicle emissions. This is because they burn up harmful urea in cars, which has been proven by scientists as a major contributor towards global warming!

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

In order to meet modern emission requirements, all Diesel engines require a DPF. A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is an integral exhaust part and removes any soot or particles from the exhaust gas before it goes into your car’s engine.

Exhaust Pipes

The exhaust pipes on a car are what direct all the gas through various parts of your vehicle’s system, before finally exiting out at the tailpipe where we can enjoy its beautiful sound or see billowing smoke come from as evidence that something is working perfectly within this complex machine!


A muffler is most known as a silencer. It’s situated near the end of an exhaust system and works by reducing any noise caused by fuel combustion, for instance when you drive your vehicle it will make engine knock or pop noises that could be heard outside if there were no mufflers in place to block them out.

A good muffler should send fumes outside through perforated tubes which creates different sound waves canceling each other so we only hear one thing-the smooth purr from our cars’ power plants!

Exhaust System Accessories And Add Ons

Vehicle exhaust system accessories are not necessities but they provide value to your car, so it is better to have them rather than not. But exactly which parts are useful?

People buy “exhaust tip” or “muffler tip” for many reasons but often just for looks. The easiest way to make your exhaust more attractive is to buy some shiny and round tips, but that’s just customizing not accentuating it.

Engine Headers

A header is an exhaust system that takes the gas from your engine and sends it through pipes. Headers may come in different shapes, sizes or styles – with varying performance levels for each type depending on what you are looking to do at any particular time.

Short headers produce more torque by providing unrestricted access to fresh air into the combustion process at low speeds while long tube ones give higher RPM power as they can handle higher temperatures better. A header could also be classified as a manifold because it is part of the manifolds and completes the exhaust system.

Manufacturers such as Corsa, Kooks, and Magnaflow make different types of headers for all sorts of applications. So if you’re looking for the best header for your needs, it is important to do your research to find the right one.

Exhaust Wrap

Exhaust wrap is used for your headers. It does more than just make them look good, it also reduces the temperature of exhaust and leads to improved engine efficiency with increased horsepower!

Header wrap is a thermal insulation material used to cover the headers on an engine. It is made of fiberglass, cotton, or other materials and is wrapped around the header tubes. The purpose of header wrap is to keep the heat in the headers, which helps to improve engine efficiency by reducing the number of heat losses. Header wrap also protects the headers from corrosion.

Header wrap can improve engine efficiency by up to 3% and increase horsepower by up to 5%. In addition, header wrap can reduce the temperature of the headers by up to 50%. The benefits of header wrap are most noticeable on turbocharged engines, but they can also be beneficial on naturally aspirated engines.

Exhaust Gas Recirculation (ECR) Valve

The EGR valve is a device that recirculates part of an engine’s exhaust gas and sends it back into the cylinders. It helps to reduce emissions by allowing more air intake for burning, so you can drive with less pollution!

For example, the EGR valve in Porsche 911s is an integral part of the cars’ emissions reduction system. Its role is to close when the engine reaches normal working temperature (about 94 degrees Celsius, or 200 degrees Fahrenheit). When this happens, it lets exhaust gas back into the cylinders; instead of flowing out through the exhaust pipe and into the environment.

The EGR valve can also help to cool the engine, as the exhaust gas is cooler than the air that comes into the engine. This is why you’ll sometimes see an EGR valve with a small radiator attached to it – it helps to keep the valve and the engine running cool!

EGR valves are also found on engines in trucks and buses. They help to reduce emissions from these vehicles by up to 30%. So if you’re driving in a city, and you see a big truck or bus go by, thank the EGR valve!

Exhaust Resonator

An exhaust resonator is part of the car’s system that reduces and changes the sound.

Basically a car silencer, it acts as an echo chamber for loud noises coming from inside your vehicle and changes its tone, making it more throaty before mufflers silence them completely with their absorbent material which also helps reduce CO2 emissions by trapping harmful molecules in one place so they can be exhaled back out when you breathe fresh air again!

The resonator is placed downstream of the muffler and it helps to create a pleasing sound that drivers and passengers can enjoy. Your car’s resonator changes the sound of your car’s engine and intake, so you get a deep but not loud sound.

These types of resonators vary in the material they’re made from, but mostly they’re made from metal which is highly durable and resistant to rusting.

Turbo Up Pipe

The up pipe is a pipe between the header and turbo. It takes exhaust gases from your engine, which then get sent to one of three places: back into what’s called “the scavenger” where they will mix with fresh air in order to make water vapor.

It goes out through an outlet muffler (which may have some small resonators) that causes all sorts of noises we enjoy but don’t want at high speeds for safety purposes; or else directly into another part on our car just like gas would go if it were not being used by anything else first!

Turbo Downpipe

The downpipe is often an overlooked engine component. It’s not just about adding power – it also helps reduce CO2 and other harmful emissions by taking them off through your pipes where they can do less damage!

Downpipes can also improve turbo response and help the engine breathe better. Bypass valves can be installed to keep the exhaust gases flowing smoothly, which can result in extra power and improved fuel economy.

Test Pipe

A test pipe is basically a piece of straight pipe that replaces your Catalytic Converter. For some applications, you can create more power with a test pipe than a CC. There is little to be gained by bypassing the CC but if you are racing and need to suck out all the power you can from your engine then you will be looking at a test pipe.

For those that aren’t in this boat, taking out your Catalytic Converter will make your car unroadworthy. It won’t pass smog either. You will pollute more as well. So for the casual daily driver racer, a test pipe is a big no-no.

But do you. I can’t advocate doing anything so blatantly illegal or environmentally unfriendly.

Exhaust Tips

Adding exhaust tips basically only makes your car’s rear more aesthetically pleasing.

There are many different types of exhaust tips that you can choose from. The first type is a universal slip-on. This means that they only require the simple removal of your old exhaust tip and installation of a new, shiny one! These are usually produced with a mild steel metal which gives a polished look but it also rusts easily.

Another option for exhaust tips are the over-the-axle style. These tips stick out perpendicular from the side of your car and can be a little bit more difficult to install than the slip-ons. They’re also a little bit more expensive. However, they make your car look much better and add a unique detail that most other drivers won’t have.

The most popular exhaust tip style is the slash-cut or rolled tips. These are the tips that curve inward and then flair out again at the end. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can find the perfect one for your car. They’re also not too difficult to install and are very affordable.

So How Do I Choose The Right Aftermarket Exhaust System

Some people think they need to get an expensive brand name exhaust system in order for their car sound great. That’s not always true though because there are plenty of affordable solutions out on the market that can make your vehicle turn heads while still keeping it legal.

So take the following into consideration when researching and picking an aftermarket exhaust system for your car or truck:

Your Specific Car Or Truck

Each make and model of vehicle has its own set requirements. As with every other kind, the one you choose will be tailored to your specific needs – so think about what’s important when deciding! You can also keep in mind that some exhausts have OEM specs and some have a universal fit depending on your skill level, or patience.

Exhaust Sound Profile

The mufflers and exhaust systems in your car are what make the sound of it. There is something for everyone – from a mild tone to an aggressive growl, you’ll be able find whatever type sounds that match how much rumble power you want!

One very important thing when it comes to your exhaust is decibels. If you drive within the legal limits of how loud you can be, than this shouldn’t be much of an issue for you. But if you do go over the limit, many states and cities have laws pertaining to how loud a vehicle can be.

Exhaust is your chance to make a bold statement with the way you want it. If chrome or double exhaust tips are what catch eyes, then this style will be perfect for showing off in public places such like on roads that don’t have many different car models around.

Exhaust Price

The most limiting aspect, like with any auto accessory is your budget. By defining the limits of what you’re willing to spend on an exhaust system or muffler for example will help in finding a good fit that works well within those boundaries and still provides great performance at lower prices too!

Just be sure to factor in the cost of installation when budgeting. Many exhausts are easy enough to install yourself, but others may require a professional’s help.

So there you have it! Keep these things in mind and you’re on your way to picking the perfect exhaust for your car or truck. Whether you’re looking for a mild upgrade or something more radical, it’s easy to find the best style to meet your needs!


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