Performance Exhaust Systems

Written by Charles Peacock
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Performance exhaust systems are built to be a working catch-22. On one hand, they increase your engine's performance, power and output. On the other hand, they have to make sure your exhaust isn't so loud that it can be heard from miles away. Achieving this balance is no easy task, and performance exhaust manufacturers work hard in getting it right. The good news is that, for the most part, they have.

How Performance Exhaust Systems Work

The first step for an exhaust system is to get the exhaust out of your engine as quickly and efficiently as possible. Backed up exhaust prevents your engine from burning gas efficiently, which is the bread and butter that makes it run as well as it does. Stock exhaust systems do a good enough job of pulling exhaust out of the engine, but for those looking to tweak their engines this is a good place to start.

If you start from the engine and work your way back, the first place you can look to improve is your engine manifold. The manifold is where exhaust first escapes from the cylinders after the gas is burned and the piston is fired. Most cars have a single manifold for all of their cylinders, while performance exhaust systems allow you to add "headers" to your engine to replace the existing manifold and to get the exhaust out more quickly.

One the exhaust has exited your engine, it has to work its way out to the back of the car. Performance exhaust systems are designed so that the exhaust pipes are exactly the right size and shape to move these hot gases out as quickly as possible. Once they've on their way out, they pass through your performance muffler, which is designed to dampen sound as much as possible without interfering with the exiting gases.

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