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How do Exhaust Systems Work?

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Your car's exhaust system carries away spent gases produced by the combustion taking place inside your engine. Think of your exhaust system like the pipe that drains your shower. A pipe that is larger in diameter is going to be far more effective than one the size of a drinking straw. Unfortunately, when you have stock components in your exhaust system, that’s exact what you’re getting: the drinking straw. Here’s a quick rundown on the major components of an exhaust system and how each functions to deliver the most performance from the engine.

Exhaust manifolds: Typically constructed of aluminum, stainless steel or cast iron, exhaust manifolds are responsible for air intake and connect to the cylinder head. They vent each cylinder’s exhaust by combining it into one pipe.

Oxygen sensors: Modern fuel-injected cars require an oxygen sensor to measure the ratio of oxygen to exhaust. Typically mounted in the exhaust manifold or in the exhaust pipe itself, the oxygen sensor provides the car’s onboard computer with readings that enable it to maximize fuel economy by increasing or decreasing the amount of fuel delivered to the engine.

Catalytic converter: Similar to a muffler, the catalytic converter changes harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to water vapor and carbon dioxide, reducing the environmental impact of your vehicle. Mounted between the exhaust manifold and the muffler, some converters also reduce harmful nitrogen oxides and are required by law in most states.

Cat back: The car cat back exhaust component is located between the catalytic converter and the tail pipe. Performance-grade systems will feature pipes with mandrel-bent turns that streamline the exhaust process, allowing the gases to flow through with as little back pressure as possible.

Mufflers: The process of combustion is basically a series of explosions within the engine. And, those explosions can make a lot of noise. It’s the muffler’s job to minimize the racket. Most mufflers use baffles to bounce the exhaust around, dissipating the energy and quieting the noise, while others employ the use of fiberglass, absorbing the sound as gases flow past.

Exhaust pipe: After exhaust travels through all of the above components, it passes out and into the air through the exhaust pipe. An exhaust pipe is usually constructed of aluminized steel but can also be made of stainless steel, which actually lasts longer due to its ability to resist corrosion

The simple fact remains: performance exhaust systems are engineered to maximize your engine’s exhaust flow. They provide a smoother conduit for spent gases to escape and simply allow the engine to breathe easier. In fact, just by upgrading your exhaust system, you increase both horsepower and torque, immediately boosting power from 5 - 10 percent with a greater fuel efficiency that can save up to 2 mpg.

The high-quality components are constructed of heavy-duty materials, like aluminized steel or stainless steel, which fight corrosion and provide a long-life of reliable performance. Whether you live in Los Angeles or Anchorage, most cat back exhaust systems are completely legal in all 50 states. While some parts are easier to install than others, on the whole, upgrading your vehicle with aftermarket parts is a lot easier and more affordable than you might think. Exhaust systems, like the Ford F150 exhaust system, Camry exhaust system or Civic exhaust system, are designed specifically for your make, model and year and provide a simple, bolt-on installation.

An exhaust system, including components like truck exhaust headers or a universal muffler, removes spent gases and allows your engine to breathe easier. By upgrading to performance-grade parts, you further maximize the ease with which these gases pass through, instantly noticing a boost in power and a considerable savings at the pump.

Please feel free to call toll-free 800.874.8888 or e-mail with any questions. We are delighted to be of assistance in finding the right auto parts for you, be they car parts, truck parts or SUV parts.
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