Advantages & Disadvantages of Straight Pipe Exhaust System

One of the most fascinating things for motorists for quite some time now is the straight pipe exhaust, especially for those who are constantly on a run to enhance their vehicle’s performance.

The superior performance of a straight pipe exhaust compared to any standard exhaust is the main reason why most vehicle owners love it, as it provides minimal backpressure. Regardless of the supreme performance displayed by it, it is simply a straight pipe starting from the header.

If you are one of those motorists who are thinking of adding a straight pipe exhaust to their car, you have landed on the right page. This article will explain to you some of the important things that must be known about an exhaust system beginning with what it is and will also compare it to the performance exhaust system which is another popular type.

The Purpose of Straight Pipe Exhaust System

Performance enhancement is the primary reason why most motorists add a straight pipe exhaust system to their vehicle. As these exhausts were made for racing cars primarily, they have no gas flow restrictions as they are just aimed to maximize vehicle performance.

They are just straight pipes that start from the header right up to the back without any muffler or catalytic converter, allowing the vehicle engine to reach its maximum potential.

Vehicle enthusiasts also add the straight pipe exhaust to their cars to break away from the standard monotonous exhaust systems. Having said that, the exhaust is used for different purposes by different motorists.

Pros and Cons of Straight Pipe Exhaust

Before replacing a standard exhaust system with a straight pipe exhaust, you must weigh the pros and cons of the replacement to ensure you understand what you are getting. However, this must be easy as both are very clear.

Pros of Straight Pipe Exhaust System

1. Overall Performance Increased

Having the potential of increasing a vehicle’s overall performance significantly is the main reason why most vehicle owners buy the straight pipe exhaust system and are popular for racing cars for the same reason as well.

This exhaust system’s design allows for it to minimize the backpressure exerted on the engine and thus allows the flow of exhaust gases freely. Hence, the functionality of the engine will be optimal without any hurdles.

The torque and horsepower are increased greatly due to no hindrances as the engine is allowed to perform freely. In most instances, the fuel economy will also be improved in this way.

2. Aesthetically Appealing

For many motorists, a vehicle’s appearance is equally important to its performance. Hence, they welcome anything that improves the aesthetic visual appearance of a vehicle.

One such important component is the straight pipe exhaust as it is unique and will make your car appear outstanding in the crowd, given its aesthetically pleasing outlook.

Moreover, a much sporty look is given to the car with straight pipe exhaust systems, which can be enhanced even by a double pipe setup. Many also come with multiple color patterns and an appealing chrome fish that creates a much more attractive look.

3. Brings Out the Engine’s True Sound

Some people think that the exhaust is very noisy, while for others it is perfect to bring out the trues sound of the engine. Hence, if you have any vehicle with a powerful engine like a muscle car, you can enjoy the original sound having with this exhaust system.

This will directly connect with the engine’s end tip and does not pass through other parts like the muffler or catalytic converter. Thus, there is nothing to suppress the sound meaning that you will hear the exact sound your engine makes with exactly the same pitch.

Apart from getting the true feel of the engine sound, there is also an added advantage of making it easily noticeable when the engine has some issues from whatever changes are made in its sound.

Another advantage is that there is no need to replace the mufflers every now and then, and other components to suppress sounds like the setup does not need them.

4. Vehicle Weight Profile Reduced

The straight pipe exhaust system allows them to reduce the weight profile of the vehicle. This means the car will be allowed to move even faster.

Things like mufflers and catalytic converters are taken out along with cutting down the metal used to make the exhaust as just one straight pipe is needed. Hence, the vehicle’s weight automatically comes down.

For some motorists, the few pounds being saved may not be significant but any experienced person will tell that fuel economy is achieved not just with increased speed but also with reduced weight.

For those whose vehicles run a little heavy and they try to find ways of reducing its weight, getting a straight pipe exhaust makes a lot of sense.

Cons of Straight Pipe Exhaust System

1. Excessively Loud

The extra noise coming from this exhaust system may not be liked by many motorists, as the deafening noise created by the exhaust can make it illegal to drive in many authorities, thus restricting you from using the car only in racing tracks.

A 100 decibel sound rating mark can be easily surpassed by a standard straight pipe exhaust system, as there is no sound dampening mechanisms or mufflers, releasing out all the noise created by the engine.

The sound can be very unpleasant for those inside the car if they do not have earplugs, but if windows are closed some of the noise may be kept out.

2. Increased Emissions

Nothing holds back the emissions produced in a straight pipe exhaust system, due to the absence of catalytic converter. Therefore, when you use it in the car, there will be usually be increased emissions that are not just against the law but also harmful to the environment.

When a catalytic converter is present in the system, harmful gases produced due to the burning fuel are converted to less harmful gases, thus if there is no catalytic converter you are releasing toxic fumes in the environment.

Another great disadvantage of the system is that when your car undergoes an emission test, it is most likely it will fail.

3. Expensive to Install

A straight pipe exhaust system is quite expensive and hence you must make up your mind to use a lot of your cash when you plan to get it for your vehicle.

In many cases, the vehicle needs a complete revamp of its exhaust structure to be able to accommodate the new pipes, and if you use top-end pipes, you will spend just less than $1000 on just the pipes.

If you have to purchase the installation kit and parts only and perform the installation job yourself, even then you will be spending thousands of dollars before the procedure is completed.

4. Can Make the Vehicle Harder to Sell

If you plan on reselling your car in the future, a great idea is to skip on the straight pipe exhaust and instead just maintain the standard one.

The straight pipe exhaust setup is illegal in many places, you may have to remove the entire thing to sell the vehicle. Even if you get someone who has no issue with the setup, it is highly probable that they will offer you less money for it as they will eventually have to replace it.

The system adds in excessive fumes, strong gasoline smell and not to forget the strong noise – hence the value of your vehicle is most likely to go down significantly.

Straight Pipe vs. Performance Exhausts Systems

When you are out in search of an exhaust system to improve your vehicle performance, you may end up making a choice between performance exhaust and straight pipe exhaust system. The following are a few points that you must remember to make a good decision for yourself and the vehicle.

1. Performance

When making a choice about exhaust systems, performance should be among the key factors that you must consider. Here, the decision should be quite simple as the straight pipe exhausts have a lower power curve.

The pollutants, gas mix, and sound can easily escape given the absence of backpressure, and the gases that escape will result in a lower power curve ultimately.

On the other hand, high back pressure is maintained by performance exhaust systems that do not allow for the pressurized gas to escape leading to a higher engine power curve eventually.

2. Appearance

The straight pipe exhausts generally sound much better but the performance exhaust systems have an edge with appearance.

They are not just available in various shapes and sizes but also allow greater customization like chrome plating that gives a fancy look.

Straight pipe exhausts can also be customized, but they still do not get the aesthetic appeal that performance exhausts have.

3. Noise Level

If you need an exhaust system that delivers a more authentic and loud engine sound, straight pipe exhaust has to be your pick.

However, if you do not want the vehicle to become louder yet improve its performance, performance exhausts are a better pick as they are comparatively quieter.

Given the relatively low noise, performance exhaust systems are also legal in many places and you will almost pay no money in fines for having one.

4. Emissions

When talking about emissions, the performance exhaust systems again have an edge as they have filtration systems and catalytic converter that minimize any emissions.

On the other hand, a straight pipe exhaust system is simply a long metal pipe having no catalytic converter or filtration mechanisms. Thus, they allow greater levels of emissions to escape that may end up costing you heavy fines.


Your vehicle’s overall performance can be increased in terms of both the horsepower and torque, just with a straight pipe exhaust system which is a very effective yet simple method to do so.

This exhaust provides a more outstanding look to the vehicle in addition to improving the fuel economy as well.

Nevertheless, before opting for this exhaust system you most mind that there is a fair share of cons that the system carries like loud noise and high emissions.

Therefore, if you plan on using anything except a racing car, be ready for the consequences of these shortcomings as well.

Luckily, if the straight pipe exhaust does not work for you, there is still an option of a performance exhaust system available. You can use a bypass system as well that allows switching between a regular and straight pipe exhaust system.