(Updated on October 18, 2022)
Should you try a muffler delete, and is it legal? Here are some things to consider before you bust out the hack saw.
Pros of a Muffler Delete
If you want the quickest way to make your exhaust louder, this is it.
Mufflers are almost always easy to access. Many vehicles don’t even need to be lifted off the ground to do this mod.
Some vehicles have aftermarket bolt on kits available which replace the stock mufflers. This is called an axle back exhaust, and is a much better way to go than just cutting off the mufflers with a Sawzall.
This is one of the cheapest modifications you can do to your vehicle, especially if you know how to weld. Fabricating replacement exhaust tips will not only complete the look, but make your car safer.
Extending the exhaust to the back of the car allows the hot exhaust to exit as intended instead of being dumped underneath the vehicle.
4) It’s Loud
Mufflers are the main components that make a stock exhaust quiet. By removing them, your car will make a lot more noise!
5) Performance Gains
Mufflers are a major restriction in the exhaust system. By removing the muffler(s), you may free up a few horsepower, allowing exhaust gases to exit the vehicle more easily.
Cons of a Muffler Delete
1) Potential Fire Hazard
If you cut your mufflers off with a reciprocating saw and leave it that way, you increase your odds of starting a fire with your exhaust.
Depending on the vehicle, an exhaust that exits underneath the car may melt important components nearby, such as wiring, brake lines, and plastics. In extreme cases, this could start a fire.
It’s always best to finish your exhaust with pipes that extend to the factory exhaust tip location. It’ll look better overall, too.
2) No Really, It’s Loud
Before you do this mod, make sure you’re ready for this level of loud. Vehicles without resonators or turbos will be louder than vehicles with those components, so keep this in mind when you’re searching for your desired sound level.
Is this your daily driver? If so, might not appreciate the extra drone on the highway. If you live in the suburbs, your neighbors may not be too keen on this modification either, especially if you go to work or come home at very early hours in the morning.
Are Muffler Deletes Legal?
To answer this question accurately, you’ll have to check your local laws relating to noise pollution. With some vehicles, a cut off muffler may not be enough to push the vehicle above the noise threshold.
Some parts of the world have very strict laws against vehicle modifications, so check these regulations as well if you’re concerned about possible fines.
Do You Need a Muffler to Pass Emissions?
Since mufflers almost always sit behind the catalytic converter, you typically don’t have to worry about emissions regulations. If a vehicle passes with mufflers, it should pass without.
Once again, check your local laws to make sure a vehicle that is missing its mufflers will pass a visual inspection at your next smog check. Although you’re not increasing your emissions by removing your muffler, some areas may fail you on your emissions test if part of your exhaust appears to be missing.
Muffler Delete vs Resonator Delete
A resonator is another type of sound inhibiting device. Resonators typically sit in the middle of the exhaust behind the catalytic converter.
While mufflers make your exhaust quieter, resonators actually work to change the exhaust note, removing harsher tones that are less desirable in the overall sound of the car. A muffler lowers the volume of the exhaust, but doesn’t change the character of the sound at all.
If you like how your exhaust sounds and you just want it a little louder, consider leaving the resonator alone. If you want to change the tone and increase volume, you may want to look into a full catback exhaust system.
How Much Is a Muffler Delete?
A muffler delete can cost anywhere from next to nothing if you do it yourself, to $500 if you buy an aftermarket bolt-on kit.
If you want an OEM quality fit and finish, you will probably want to look into buying an aftermarket kit. Some exhaust shops may also be able to fabricate some replacement exhaust tips for you at a relatively low cost.
What is a Straight Pipe?
A straight pipe is an exhaust system with no catalytic converters, resonators, or mufflers. There are no restrictions in this type of exhaust, which makes it one of the loudest types of exhaust systems.
If you want things just a little bit louder, a straight pipe is not for you. Chances are, the car will end up too loud for your taste and you may also run into trouble with local law enforcement or smog checks.