A straight pipe exhaust is an exhaust system installed in vehicles that joins a pipe directly from the exhaust headers to the end tip without connecting it to the muffler or the catalytic converter at any point in between.
- Purpose of a Straight Pipe Exhaust
- Advantages of a Straight Pipe Exhaust
- Disadvantages of a straight pipe exhaust system
- Two of these systems are
- Concluding remarks
Purpose of a Straight Pipe Exhaust
It is mostly used in vehicles to reduce the ‘backpressure’ exerted by the motor on the car, in order to reduce the noise it makes.
People install Straight Pipe Exhaust systems in their cars to achieve the full level of noise their engines produce, and in some cases, it even tends to increase the HP of the vehicle.
It is able to do so by letting the exhaust gases flow freely out of the engine into the atmosphere directly through the exhaust tip instead of passing through the muffler or the catalytic converter.
They are mostly found in racing cars and not normal street cars due to the noise they make.
Advantages of a Straight Pipe Exhaust
Some of the very prominent advantages of using a Straight Pipe Exhaust can be directly seen by observing its working and the purpose it is used for. Listed below are some of the advantages a Straight Pipe Exhaust offers:
An increase in horsepower
Most of the drivers or owners install Straight Pipe Exhaust systems in their cars to increase the performance of their car’s engine.
The Straight Pipe Exhaust system tends to reduce the backpressure exerted by the engine, which allows the gases to exhaust freely out of the system — this way the engine functions properly without any hindrance acting in its way.
Without the resistance, the engine performs freely and better, and the horsepower increases and the car will give better performance for the same amount of fuel. This way, the overall fuel economy of the vehicle tends to improve slightly.
Make your car stand out in the crowd by giving it an aesthetic look
Another glorious advantage of using Straight Engine Exhausts by most cars is the increase in the noise it can make. Mostly race car drivers install these systems to make their cars stand out in the crowd.
Some of these systems even come with a chrome finish at the exhaust tip, making your car look appealing in the eyes of the audience.
You can even apply different welding tricks to make the smoke coming out of the engine colourful like red, blue or green etc. giving it a more aesthetic look. Instead of a single pipe, you can consider installing double pipes to give it an even cooler sportier look.
Hear the true sound of your engine
As we explained earlier, a straight pipe exhaust system directly connects the exhaust system to the end tip without passing through the catalytic converter.
With the gases now not being filtered by the catalytic converter first, are let out of the system freely without any hindrance. This way the noise that a car’s engine makes is not reduced at all and hence we can hear the engine roaring louder.
Mostly, race car drivers use straight pipe exhausts for this purpose to increase their car’s noise giving it a sportier vibe.
A side benefit to this is that you don’t have to replace the mufflers every now and then because they are not installed in your car anymore.
Reduce your car’s weight and make it go faster
Another reason why race car drivers use a straight pipe system is to get rid of the weight of the mufflers and the catalytic converter. Reducing this weight can really make their car go faster, increasing their odds of winning and achieving their goals.
Also not having a catalytic converter or a muffler reduces the repair cost as you don’t have to spend any money on either of the two.
However, once you remove the two parts, make sure that your car is tuned before driving at high speeds, as it can be dangerous if your car is not tuned.
Universal kits available in the market that help you fit any car
There are custom exhaust tubing kits now available in the market that can help you in modifying your straight piper exhaust to fit any car.
However, you still have to make sure that the diameter of the pipe suits your car’s model. Different cars have different requirements for the diameter.
To best know about what diameter pipe to get, you can see a mechanic. Some cars also need to equip a model that is non-CARB compliant as well.
Disadvantages of a straight pipe exhaust system
Above were the advantages of the Straight Pipe Exhaust system. However, it comes with some disadvantages as well that you can easily see by studying how it works. Some of the disadvantages include;
Installing a Straight Pipe Exhaust system can be really expensive
Installing a Straight Pipe Exhaust system isn’t as simple as it sounds. Firstly, you need to alter the entire exhaust system of the car. For that, you will need new pipes which are expensive. This is why most people go for custom-built exhaust pipes.
Secondly, you also need to remove the catalytic converter and the mufflers and then tune your car accordingly. This too costs a lot of money.
Bad for the environment
Another obvious disadvantage of installing a straight pipe exhaust system is that it is unhealthy for the environment.
A catalytic converter converts all the harmful gases like monoxide that are produced in a car’s engine into harmless gases.
After being converted, these gases are released into the atmosphere. However, once the catalytic converter is out of the picture, these gases without being filtered are straight released freely into the air, which causes air pollution.
Another disadvantage of this is that all cars must first pass the emission test and then be driven on the roads. With a straight pipe exhaust system, your vehicle won’t pass the test.
What you can do is, get a cat-back exhaust system, which is a catalytic converter + straight pipe exhaust system. This way, your car will pass the emission test.
However, it will cost you more money.
Sometimes it can be extremely loud
As we discussed earlier, most drivers use straight pipe exhaust systems to increase the level of noise their car can make.
But in some cases, especially if you are driving through a noise-free suburban area, the noise can get so loud it might be annoying or disturbing to the people around you.
It also might result in a police warning as you can’t drive cars in residential areas that produce that much noise. These cars are only suitable for race tracks etc. where they can be tested to their full abilities. In other areas, they can cause you some serious trouble.
Substitutes to using Straight Pipe Exhaust systems
As you can see that a Straight Pipe Exhaust system with all its benefits, comes with a price.
It can be hard to afford as it involves a lot of alterations like changing the pipes or removing the muffler and catalytic converter etc. and has bad effects on the environment both in terms of air and noise pollution and due to these consequences, you might not be allowed to drive a car with a Straight Pipe Exhaust system on the road in the first place.
However, manufacturers have now come up with solutions for this problem. There are substitutes available in the market for a Straight Pipe Exhaust or systems that work in collaboration with the straight pipe exhaust to provide you with the pros, without having to worry about the cons.
Two of these systems are
Cat-back straight pipe exhaust
This system consists of a catalytic converter working in coordination with a straight pipe exhaust system.
It provides the same advantages as that of a straight pipe exhaust system. For instance, it will increase the engine’s hp and improve fuel economy. It also maximizes the noise an engine produces by reducing the backpressure.
It’s also made up of quality material and gives your car a stylish look.
At the same time, it performs the job of a catalytic converter and converts the harmful gases into harmless ones before releasing them in the air.
A by-pass solution basically consists of two exhaust systems, and you can switch between these two systems, with the click of a button, as per your requirements.
These two systems include a muffler and a straight pipe system. For normal every day use you can use the muffler, and as soon as you get on the track, you can open the valve with a button that takes the gases directly to the straight pipe exhaust tip.
These were the advantages and disadvantages of using Straight Pipe Exhausts. You can avoid most of the cons simply by using one of the other exhaust systems either a muffler or a catalytic working in coordination with the straight pipe exhaust, making your car legal to be driven around.