Cat Back Exhaust Systems

Written by Charles Peacock
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High performance exhaust systems are a great way to squeeze more power out of your car's stock engine. Adding an aftermarket exhaust and muffler can improve your car's performance by as much as 15 percent. The downside of changing your stock exhaust system is that you risk falling out of compliance with government-mandated emissions regulations.

Cat-Back Exhausts Help with Compliance

Every state in the United States and most of the nations around the world require new cars to have a catalytic converter installed to reduce pollution. Catalytic converters are placed in the middle of your exhaust system, between your engine and your muffler. Using special catalyst-driven chemical processes, they remove things like carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from your car's exhaust.

If you install a totally new exhaust system on your car, you might have to remove your catalytic converter to get it to fit. While this will make your car perform better (catalytic converters are notorious for sucking a small amount of power), it will also make it impossible for you to pass emissions or smog inspection. Fortunately there is something called a "cat-back" exhaust system that can help you upgrade your exhaust without falling out of compliance.

Cat-back exhaust systems are designed to be installed onto your catalytic converter. They basically replace everything from the catalytic converter to the back of your car: the pipes and the muffler. By retaining your factory catalytic converter, you can be sure that you have not interfered with your car's standard emission controls.

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