Muffler Delete vs. Straight Pipe: Pros, Cons, Differences, & FAQ
One of the most common after-market modifications that people want to make to their cars revolves around the exhaust system. Some people are looking for better performance out of their cars, while other people want their cars to be louder on the road. There are two common types of modifications that people often make to their tailpipes, muffler deletes and straight pipes. These two methods of modifying the exhaust system are extremely common, but they are also quite different.
What is the difference between muffler deletes and straight pipes? This article will break down everything you need to know about both types of modifications, including a general overview, a deep comparison table, and frequently asked questions. By the end, you will know exactly the difference between these two kinds of modifications and whether or not it is something you want to potentially do to a vehicle in the future.
Overview of Muffler Delete
The essence of a muffler delete is right in the name. The muffler gets deleted. This is a very cheap and simple procedure that aims to increase the volume of your car by removing the muffler. Mufflers are sound dampening devices that are mandated by law to keep cars quiet on the roads. New cars continue to get quieter as technology improves, and that doesn’t sit well with everyone. The easiest way to improve the volume and sound quality of a car is to simply remove the muffler.
What Gets Removed and Replaced
In a muffler delete, the muffler gets removed and replaced by a basic steel pipe. The muffler generally sits between the guts of the exhaust system and the tailpipe.
When To Choose Muffler Delete
This is an easy modification that is extremely cheap to do. Muffler deletes are also sometimes done in lieu of a muffler replacement. If a muffler gets damaged and money is an issue, a muffler delete can potentially save hundreds of dollars. There are two reasons to choose a muffler delete, damaged muffler or wanting to boost volume and sound coming from the car. Muffler deletes can also be done to squeak out a marginal amount of horsepower and performance from a car. Muffler deletes reduce the weight of a car slightly and add roughly five horsepower. Generally, muffler deletes do not add enough performance to warrant doing the modification with that as the sole reason.
Overview of Straight Pipe
Straight pipe modifications are like muffler deletes, but they are more complicated and more involved. Where a muffler delete simply removes the muffler from a vehicle, straight pipe modifications remove multiple parts from the exhaust system in addition to the muffler. A good portion of the exhaust system is replaced by a long straight pipe, hence the name. Straight piping involves a lot more installation work and a more knowledgeable mechanic than muffler deletes. A straight pipe removes all of the things that inhibit the exhaust system allowing exhaust to flow freely and gets the best benefits when a car is at high RPMs for long periods of time. That generally means that straight pipes are largely seen in performance vehicles and racecars.
What Gets Removed and Replaced
In a straight pipe modification, the muffler is replaced. In addition, the resonator and the catalytic converter are also replaced. This entire stretch of the exhaust system is then replaced by a single length of straight pipe. This pushes the exhaust through a bare pipe and straight out the tailpipe rather than having to pass through the muffler, resonator, and catalytic converter.
When To Choose Straight Pipe
Straight pipe has more potential benefits than a simple muffler delete. Since more things are being taken out of the car, the weight reduction is greater, the backpressure level in the exhaust system is heavily reduced, and overall performance gets a greater boost. The sound quality and volume are generally the same between a muffler delete and a straight pipe job because the muffler is the main thing that affects the volume of a car. However, a straight pipe has more effects on the car than a muffler delete because there are more parts involved.
Is Muffler Delete or Straight Piping Legal?
No. Both modifications are illegal in all 50 states in the United States. It is important to realize that these types of modifications come with a level of risk. The potential consequences vary by state. Each state has different laws that govern the punishments for illegal modifications. In some cases, the modifications could result in a simple ticket. In other states, it could result in getting your car being impounded. Before you do one of these modifications, look up the local laws to ensure that you understand the risks.
Many states also have noise laws that govern how loud a car can be, especially in residential areas. These types of modifications will generally push your car past these noise limits. In some cases, that is the whole point. Again, this could lead to a run-in with law enforcement.
Does Muffler Delete or Straight Pipe Sound Better?
In most cases, muffler deletes and straight pipes result in similar sound quality since they both remove the muffler. The muffler is the thing that governs the sound volume and quality of vehicles. In some cases, straight pipes can result in more volume in cars that have multiple levels of sound mitigation. Some vehicles only have a muffler that governs the volume while other cars have multiple levels of sound dampening. Straight pipe removes all sound mitigation devices in the exhaust, including and in addition to the muffler.
Can Muffler Delete or Straight Pipe Hurt My Engine?
Generally, modifying the exhaust system cannot hurt the engine. It can alter your engine’s performance, and it can change the way the car feels, sounds, and smells, but the engine itself should be largely unaffected. Having a professional modification mechanic do the job will significantly decrease the risks to the car. Some people attempt to do these types of modifications themselves but unless you have experience doing these types of jobs, you could inadvertently damage a part of your car without realizing it or allowing an exhaust leak to form, which could be dangerous. However, the health of the engine itself should be untouched by modifications in the back end of the exhaust system.
Main Differences Between Muffler Delete and Straight Pipe
Both muffler deletes and straight pipes modify the exhaust system to try and improve the volume and sound quality of a car. There are different reasons and goals for doing such a modification and they are both different in their own ways. Here is a comprehensive comparison of what the differences are between muffler deletes and straight pipes.
|Muffler Delete||Straight Pipe|
|Horsepower Gain||+5 HP||+10 HP|
|Backpressure Level||Slightly Reduced||Heavily Reduced|
|Gas Mileage||Unchanged||Slightly Improved|
Muffler deletes and straight pipe are two extremely common modifications that aim to improve the volume, sound quality, and performance of a car. Muffler deletes are very simple, and just remove the muffler. Straight pipes open up the entire exhaust system by removing multiple parts from the car to increase flow and volume. Both modifications are technically illegal, and they both have separate reasons for attempting them. It is important to know what goes into these modifications, the risks, and the potential outcomes before attempting them.
Featured Image Credit: (L) Zaltrona, Shutterstock | (R) Lazy_Bear, Shutterstock