Aftermarket Exhaust Reviews (2020)
Every vehicle comes with an exhaust system. Exhaust systems are an integral part of any functioning car, and they’re truly necessary. But just because every car has an exhaust system, doesn’t mean every car has a good exhaust system.
Before we get into what makes stock exhaust systems less than admirable, it’s important to understand what an exhaust system does, and what its purpose is. In a nutshell, the exhaust system guides burnt gasses away from the internal combustion engine, and out the exhaust pipes. This is not only necessary for safety, but also for performance.
So why don’t automakers provide your vehicle with optimal exhaust systems? The primary reason is that there is no such thing as an optimal exhaust system; it all depends on what you value. While we’re huge fans of aftermarket exhaust systems, they’re usually a bit load, which isn’t what the standard car consumer wants, even for a sports car. Auto manufacturers have a lot of needs to meet for a lot of different demographics of consumer, so exhaust systems tend to be a little bit on the conservative side.
To us car lovers, however, conservative parts aren’t that fun. We want excitement, and most importantly, we want performance. And that’s where having a good aftermarket exhaust system comes in.
First and foremost, a good aftermarket exhaust system increases the power of your vehicle. By reducing the back pressure in the exhaust system, an aftermarket system allows the engine to thrive a little more, and achieve a few additional horsepower. While you won’t gain a tremendous amount of horsepower, it will be a noticeable amount. And if you like driving the way we do, you’re firmly of the belief that every horse counts.
In addition to the added power, there’s the aforementioned sound. Ahh, the sweet, glorious sound. Let’s be honest: if you have a sports car, a muscle car, or a classic, you want it to sound good. An aftermarket exhaust system dramatically helps with that. It increases the volume of your vehicle, but not in a grating, clunky way; rather it makes your car sound, well . . . more powerful, and more like a sports car. We love that.
But fun power and the accompanying sound isn’t all that an aftermarket exhaust system has to offer. Believe it or not, an aftermarket exhaust system can help your engine run more smoothly, and in the process, it can increase your fuel efficiency. Yep, that’s right, you can increase your horsepower and your gas mileage, all with one aftermarket addition.
Finally, we shouldn’t ignore that aftermarket exhaust systems can look a lot slicker and sexier than a stock system. Looks are a huge part of any sports car, and few things add a touch of style quite like a new exhaust system.
There are three types of aftermarket exhaust systems available: the one that has the strongest impact is a header-back exhaust system, which replaces all of the parts in your stock system. Next is the cat-back, which replaces your exhaust system from the catalytic converter to the muffler, and offers less of a performance boost. Finally, an axle-back exhaust system replaces the components from the rear axle to the muffler, and has the lowest impact on performance.
Whatever type of aftermarket exhaust system you opt for, it’s good to get a high-quality one. Fortunately, we have a few brands that we always trust with this important part. Buy an aftermarket exhaust system from one of these companies, and you’ll be very happy with the look, sound, and performance of your vehicle.
Magnaflow is probably a familiar name to you, and for good reason: they’re very well known. And they’re well known for a reason: they make spectacular aftermarket exhaust systems. Magnaflow is likely the most commonly purchased exhaust company for those who like to improve and customize their vehicle, largely because they have a little something to offer everyone.
Not only do Magnaflow exhaust systems greatly enhance the performance of a vehicle, and offer terrific sound as well, but they are some of the best-looking exhaust systems on the market. The mirror-polished tips will catch anyone’s eye, and have your car looking its best.
Magnaflow is also known for building exhaust systems that are tremendously durable, and very resistant to corrosion, rust, and other forms of natural damage. And that’s topped-off with a lifetime guarantee, just in case they’re not as durable as they should be.
To top it all off, Magnaflow’s brand ambassador is Marco Andretti; what’s not to like?
Flowmaster is known for making tremendous aftermarket exhaust systems for muscle cars. If you like a nice boost of horsepower and a strong, gorgeous, guttural purr, then Flowmaster is pretty perfect, thanks in part to their terrific mandrel-bent pipes. They’re loved, respected, and always trusted in the muscle car community, though they also have a lot of value on any other type of car.
Flowmaster has some of the most innovative exhaust technology available. Their exhaust systems feature a well-known chambered muffler, and they utilize exhaust scavenging for added boost. The muffler is fully-welded, and the look is clean and crisp, but still perfectly befitting a muscle car.
An aftermarket exhaust system from Flowmaster is good for just about any car, but it’s an absolute must have for a muscle car. The sound, the power, the look . . . it’s just too perfect for a piece of Amercian muscle.
Corsa Performance makes a really unique and intriguing line of high-performance exhaust systems. The company utilizes baffles in their mufflers to help cancel out and limit noises. Wait a minute; weren’t we just singing the praises of increased noise, and how that’s one of the main reasons why people buy aftermarket exhaust systems?
Here’s the key with Corsa Performance: the increased, beautiful engine sound is still present when your foot is on the throttle, but it dies down when your vehicle is stopped. Most exhaust systems increase your engine noise so much that it’s difficult to have a conversation, or listen to a podcast, even when you’re idling. With Corsa Performance, that’s not the case. You get all the thrill and audio excitement of a great aftermarket exhaust system when you gun it, and all the peace and practicality of a stock system when you’re slowed or stopped.
Of course, this isn’t for everyone; some people love the roar of the engine at all times, even when idling. But if you want a touch of practicality added to your aftermarket exhaust system, then Corsa Performance is the way to go.
With mandrel-bent stainless steel, and a gorgeous finish, Corsa Performance aftermarket exhaust systems are the real deal, from the look, to the performance, to the durability. They’re one of our favorites.
Borla is another well-known name, and likely one that you’ve seen on a lot of vehicles. They make fabulous aftermarket exhaust systems, and are a go-to company for our exhaust needs. Borla’s exhaust systems have an unmistakable sound; once you hear one, you’ll likely be able to identify a Borla vehicle anytime you’re around one.
Borla’s exhaust systems were designed for racing (yet they’re still street-legal in every state), so you know that their performance will be up to par. Among tests we’ve done and seen, we’ve found that Borla is consistently at or near the top in terms of horsepower and torque added to vehicles. A race-inspired performance, with a drop-dead sound, and a stunning look? Well that’s a recipe for success in our sports and muscle-car loving book.
Borla also takes things a few steps further. They have a variety of different models, so that you can choose the sound you want for your vehicle. They have exotic and strong materials, that not only are durable, but also look terrific. They’re easy to fit on, and perhaps best of all, they all come with a million-mile warranty.
We’ve used a lot of Borla aftermarket exhaust systems, and it’s fair to say we’ve yet to find anything wrong with them. They’re pretty perfect.
Banks Power Monster makes exhaust systems that we wouldn’t put on our sports cars or muscle cars, but are ideal for trucks. If you’re on board the custom truck train, then Banks Monster is the company for you.
While not offering the power and mileage boost than many of the aforementioned performance-oriented aftermarket exhaust systems have, Banks Monster exhaust systems do have a tremendous sound, and one that’s right at home with a stylish truck.
Furthermore, Banks Monster exhaust systems are highly practical. While the average aftermarket exhaust system hovers at nearly 800 degrees Fahrenheit, the exhaust pipes from a Banks Monster exhaust system come in at under 500 degrees, which is less hot than the average stock exhaust system. Add in 100% stainless steel construction, signature polished tips, and a rust and corrosion-free design, and you have a perfect, practical, terrific sounding exhaust system for any truck or SUV.
Aftermarket exhaust systems are one of the best ways to instantly improve your vehicle. With one aftermarket exhaust system, you increase your vehicle’s horsepower and torque, fuel efficiency, sound, and style. That’s pretty hard to beat!
As is the case when buying most aftermarket parts, it’s important to give a thought to your purchase before making a decision. Are you most concerned with performance, sound, or look? How much does price factor into your decision?
There are no wrong answers; you simply have to find what works best for you, and the desires you have for your car. From there, you can choose a company, a style, and a model, and you’ll be on your way.
Most aftermarket exhaust systems are relatively easy to install on your own, supposing you are comfortable with automotive projects. If not, have a professional mechanic install it for you, to make sure that the installation is successful, and that you get the most out of your aftermarket exhaust system.
Once it’s in, fire up your car, hit the throttle, and reap the rewards of a beautiful sounding exhaust system, and a few more ponies under the hood to play with. Have fun!