When most people think of an upgraded muffler, the term “loud” comes to mind. However, there’s much more to a muffler sound than just loud noise.

A wide range of options exists when it comes to performance exhausts. Do you want a mild or moderate sound? Do you want something that sounds aggressive? Maybe you want something that thunders?

Depending on your vehicle, it’s important to obtain a sound on your cars exhausts that matches the profile of the car. For example, you wouldn’t want the same exhaust sound on a 1969 Mustang as you would a 2012 Subaru Impreza. The sound of a car’s muffler is a huge part of the vehicle’s personality.

If you’ve never upgraded to a performance exhaust, we’ve got a great guide for you. Continue reading for tips on modifying your car’s exhaust sound.

Types of Performance Exhausts


It helps to understand the options for when it comes to your vehicle’s muffler. There are three main types of performance exhaust systems.

Straight-Pipe Muffler

In a straight-pipe muffler, the sound waves travel through the pipe with a fraction of the sound being absorbed by the material inside the pipe. If you’ve ever heard the term “glass-pack muffler”, this is describing a straight-pipe setup.

The sound of these mufflers produces a deeper acoustic sound wave. This performance exhaust system will give you the growl you’re looking for in a muscle car.

Chambered Muffler

In a chambered muffler, the sounds produced by the engine travel into a chambered area inside the muffler itself. The sound waves bounce off these chambers, encountering friction that deadens some of the soundwaves.

The soundwaves that aren’t cancelled out emerge from the end of the performance exhaust system. Chambered mufflers produce a more exterior, aggressive tone. A chambered muffler would go better on something like the Impreza or a Honda.

Turbo Muffler

Turbo mufflers are the third type of performance exhaust system. Exhaust gases are forced into an S-shaped pattern are gradually deadened by the material inside the muffler.
Turbo mufflers have a more mellow, deeper sound. The turbo muffler sound most likely falls somewhere in between the straight-pipe and the chambered performance exhaust systems.

Modifying the Exhaust on Your Own

If you’re looking to add your own performance exhaust system, use this step-by-step option guide as a reference. When you replace your own exhaust system, you’ll need these tools.

  • Socket set
  • Wrench set
  • Pliers
  • Crescent wrenches
  • Various screwdrivers

Listed below are the potential options you have for modifying your cars exhaust system. Making any or all these repairs will give you the performance exhaust system you’ve been looking for.

1. Replacing the Muffler


Standard mufflers that are installed on your vehicle off the assembly line are designed to deaden as much sound as possible. These are most like the turbo muffler by design. To achieve the sound you desire, you’ll need to install a performance exhaust system and new muffler.

By replacing the muffler, you’ll gain the sound you’re looking for in your cars exhaust system. Just be careful with noises restrictions in the area you live in. If the exhaust is too loud, it could cost you a citation.

2. Replacing or Adding Exhaust Tips

An exhaust tip is a very cost-efficient way to get a louder sound from your vehicle’s exhaust. You add one attachment and you’re good to go.
If your manufacturer pipes are narrow or have suffered from rust, exhaust tips can be a quick way to gain a better sound. Most of these tips just clamp on to the already existing pipe on your vehicle.

3. Evaluate the Tubing of the Exhaust


If the tubing on your exhaust system isn’t in proper shape, the sound can be less than satisfactory. You could compare the tubing of your exhaust to an air or water-hose. If there is kinks in the line, the water pressure isn’t going to be up to par. The same is true for the sound coming from your vehicle’s exhaust.

A mandrel bender is a tool that’s used to “unkink” the exhaust tubing. If the tubing is too small or has too many bends, this causes a restrictive flow. If the damage is too great, you’ll want to think about installing a completely new performance exhaust system.

4. Consider a Turbo or Supercharger


There are many different turbo and superchargers available from different manufacturers. There is more than one benefit to adding this component to your vehicle.

You will achieve the sound you’re after from the vehicle, and the performance will also be enhanced. Air is pressurised when it enters the cylinder of a turbocharger. This creates the heightened performance you receive from the vehicle.

In the end, you’ll want to choose a muffler with a small number of twists throughout its design. More twists and turns lead to more compressed gases, and this increases the pressure of your vehicle’s exhaust. This increased pressure leads to a lack of noise and performance from your car.

A high-quality performance exhaust system sends the gases in the straightest path possible while only deadening a fraction of the noise. You’ll also want to choose a high-quality manufacturer.

Many late-model vehicles offer simple bolt-on exhaust systems that attach after the car’s catalytic-converter. This makes installation of newer performance exhaust systems easier than ever.

It’s true that components like exhaust tips can give you quick fix, if you want a long-lasting, efficient sound from your vehicle, a new muffler is the only way to go. A completely new, top-of-the-line performance exhaust system, when installed correctly, will have your car sounding and performing like a champ! Check out EmpirePerformance in Australia for some great examples.