"Hello … I’m a car. Gas-o-line makes me run. Back seat. Trunk space." No, that isn't Dane Cook's CD skippin' in the player—your loud exhaust system is setting off local car alarms. Those car alarms use high-sensitivity settings that are easily startled by your boisterous, ready-to-rumble exhaust system. Blazing through a parking lot after work is a sure fire way to release that pent-up office stress. Trust us!
Rocket science is tricky. Brain surgery is tough. And, making it through a Thanksgiving dinner without getting criticized by the in-laws is downright impossible. Installing aftermarket exhaust systems, though, is child's play in comparison.
Replacing Your Performance Exhaust System
Don't know how to install an exhaust system? It's a lot more straightforward than it might sound. Think about it: your vehicle already has an exhaust system mounted on it, so all you're really doing is taking off the old and swapping it with the new. Now, if you had to start from scratch and design an exhaust from some un-bent lengths of pipe, the exhaust systems installation process would be mighty tricky. But, all of the major exhaust makers out there, from Flowmaster to Magnaflow, create custom-sculpted systems that directly replace your factory exhaust.
Speaking of replacement, here are the general steps for installing most exhausts, from 2" exhaust kits to huge-honking diesel exhaust systems:
Simple Installation in 7 Steps
- First, you need room to work. If you have a lift, lift your vehicle. No lift? No problem. You'll need to jack your vehicle up and secure it with heavy-duty jack stands. Never work under your vehicle unless it is safely supported!
- Next, you need to disconnect your old exhaust starting at the catalytic converter. There should be a clamp securing it to the catalytic converter which can be undone. If not, you may have to cut the pipe right past the converter.
- Working your way back from the converter, unhook the exhaust from its hanging brackets and pull it out.
- Assemble your new Borla exhaust or Gibson exhaust, but don't tighten the clamps too snugly—you'll likely need to make some minor adjustments while you're slipping it into place.
- Work your new performance exhaust into place and line it up with the stock hanging brackets. Exhausts made from respected companies, like Banks Exhaust and Bassani Exhaust, will connect directly to the stock brackets.
- Once the entire exhaust is in place, tighten all the clamps. Lower the vehicle and start the motor to check for leaks. So long as you don't have any exhaust leaks, then you're all finished.
- Since your exhaust heats to high temperatures and rattles around quite a bit, you'll want to re-tighten all the clamps after about two weeks.
Select the Right Exhaust System for Your Ride
See—pretty easy. Now, there are some slight variations to these basic instructions – a Dodge ram exhaust is naturally going to take different steps than a Nissan Titan exhaust – but these broad brush strokes paint the basic picture.
So, the question you have to ask yourself now is whether the effort it takes to install an exhaust is worth the performance payoff? Although the horsepower and torque ratings vary for different vehicles, you will experience an immediate boost in thrust once your new exhaust is in place. And, if you can control your lead foot, you could even see a (modest) spike in your MPGs.
Plus, if you really want a high-flow exhaust but really aren't mechanically inclined, any muffler shop in your neighborhood should have no trouble bolting your new exhaust into place. We also have tons of exhaust reviews on our site, be sure to give them a read!