Are you planning to straight pipe your car and you are asking yourself whether or not is straight piping legal? Well, if that is the case, then you are in the right place because, in this article, we are going to cover all about it.
- What Is Straight Piping?
- Types Of Straight Pipes
- Pros And Cons
- Is It Legal?
- Straight Piping Costs
Doing good research before you make a big change such as straight piping your car should be the way to go. You just don’t want to rush things when it comes to modifications like these and end up with a car that is not legal to drive on the road.
So, you need to learn all about this mod and how it is done. What are the pros and cons of performing it on your car and why you should be worried?
Because if you do it and you get a fine, you could face a big headache since in many cases people already threw their standard exhaust in the trash, and going back could be a really expensive challenge. But you shouldn’t worry because, in this article, we are going to cover all you need to know.
First, we are going to learn what is straight piping and the types of straight piping that you can perform on your car. Then we will take a look at the pros and cons and whether or not is straight piping legal. So, if you want to learn more about straight piping, follow along.
Now before we dive into more complex topics like whether is straight piping legal, let’s take a look at what is straight piping in general. What makes straight piping possible? Why do we need to explain this? Well, there are a lot of people out there who are not into cars or have similar issues and want to learn more about them. So, let’s get into it.
So, what is straight piping? Well, straight piping as the name says is replacing your factory OEM exhaust system with straight steel pipes.
This is a mod that a lot of car folks are doing in order to either boost the performance or improve the sound of the car.
Even though the car might sound really good. If the straight pipe system is done on a modern vehicle. Or even with an old muscle car, you could still have some problems down the line. But more about this, we are going to cover later on when we will explain the pros and cons of straight piping.
What is important to note, is that even though people are doing this to attract attention, they can also get a lot of negative attention.
And by negative attention, we mean that they will irritate people around and make them angry. Since not everyone is a car enthusiast. Not to mention the attention from the cops who can also go after you if they notice that your car is producing a lot of noise.
But is straight piping legal? Well, more on that, we are going to cover later on, now let’s cover some of the types of straight piping and learn more about it.
Types Of Straight Piping
Now let’s take a look at the different types of straight piping before we dive into whether is straight piping legal or not. Why do we think that this is necessary?
Well, because different types of straight pipe exhaust systems will deliver different results to you as a driver. So, you need to understand the different types before you move on and try to do something to your exhaust system.
So, let’s get into it, and then we will learn more about the pros and cons of doing this type of work, as well as whether is straight piping legal or not.
1. Rear Muffler Delete
Now let’s start with the first type of straight piping before we dive into whether is straight piping legal. And this is the rear muffler delete. So, what is a rear muffler?
Well, each car has two types of mufflers, a mid-muffler, and a rear muffler. These mufflers are basically big empty boxes that have the sole goal of moving the exhaust gas flow in such a way as to tone down the sound of the exhaust.
The rear muffler is usually right behind the rear bumper and is connected to the exhaust tip. This type of muffler is usually the first one that people remove and replace with a straight pipe.
Once this muffler is removed (i.e. a muffler delete), you will be able to create a lot more sound and your car would sound a lot better than stock. The sound will not be muffled down anymore. So, if you are a beginner, this is the way to go in our opinion.
But you have to know how to weld in order to attach the straight pipe. But is straight piping legal? Well, more about that, we are going to learn more in a bit.
2. Mid Muffler Delete (X-Pipe)
The second type of straight piping that we are going to cover before we learn whether is straight piping legal is the mid-muffler delete. So, what is a mid-muffler?
As we noted previously, a car exhaust system has two mufflers. A mid-muffler and a rear muffler. This mid-muffler is basically located in the center of the car.
Some cars have two mid-mufflers while some of them have only one. It really depends on the manufacturer and also whether or not you are running an inline engine or a V8 engine. Since V engines have two banks, they often included two mid-mufflers and two rear mufflers.
So, what people do when they have only one mid-muffler is remove it and install a straight pipe. Or if they run a V8 engine, they remove the mid-mufflers and install something known as an X-pipe.
An X-pipe is a cool mod and a much better alternative that delivers quite a punch in terms of sound. But it is rather complex to make. You need to know how to fabricate stuff and weld really well.
This is why a lot of people are only doing straight pipes. When you do a mid-muffler delete it is often advisable that you keep the rear muffler. Mainly because the car would sound rather obnoxious. So, keep this in mind. Now let’s move on to the next type of straight pipe before we learn whether is straight piping legal or not.
3. Full-Straight Pipe Exhaust
Now let’s move on to the next type of straight piping before we cover whether or not is straight piping legal. And this is the full straight pipe exhaust system. So, what is the full straight pipe exhaust?
Well, this is the case, when you remove everything from your exhaust. The catalytic converter, the mid-muffler, and the rear muffler.
Removing all these components, especially the catalytic converters will make your car breathe a lot better and the engine will work really well.
Power gains from this type of mod are also really big. You can get 30 to 50 horsepower on some engines that are usually suffocating from all this catalytic equipment. Not to mention that the car will sound phenomenal with this type of system. Especially if we are talking about big V8 power.
This is why if you are preparing yourself for the drag strip, this is one of the mods that you want to do on your car because this will result in a complete change in how your car performs. But is straight piping legal? More on this we are going to answer more in a bit.
4. Full-Straight Pipe Exhaust Plus Headers
And the last type of straight piping that we are going to cover is the full straight pipe exhaust system plus the headers.
So, what are headers? Well, headers are also very important components when it comes to exhaust gas flow. That’s something to consider if you’re comparing headers vs manifold.
The engine headers are basically replacing the exhaust manifolds. Cars usually come equipped with big heavy cast iron exhaust manifolds that simply ruin the performance of the engine.
And even if you install a full straight pipe exhaust, you might not see a really big improvement if you don’t replace these exhaust manifolds with special headers.
Headers are really designed to allow more flow of gases (sort of like a high flow catalytic converter). And the more flow out of the engine, the more air the engine will breathe in. More combustion equals more performance. As such, headers do indeed add horsepower.
So, if you are trying to make a hot rod, going for this type of mod is the way to go. Fully aftermarket straight pipe exhaust with headers will make the power numbers increase quite substantially. But is straight piping legal? Well, more about that, we are going to cover it in a bit.
Muffler Delete vs Straight Pipe
Now let’s cover another topic before we learn whether is straight piping legal and that is the muffler delete vs straight pipe. So, what is the difference between these two mods? Let’s elaborate.
When you do straight piping, you basically replace the muffler with a straight pipe. So, you cut off the big metal box and you replace the box that is in charge of muffling down the sound with a big steel pipe.
Muffler delete on the other hand is the case when you just cut off the muffler and leave it as is. So, this means that your exhaust system would be a lot shorter. And some people actually really like this, especially on old-school muscle cars where they cut the exhaust somewhere in the middle of the car. Or they divert the exhaust to the sides by installing a side pipe.
Which is really cool and sounds phenomenal. But is there any downside to doing this mod on your car? Well, more on the pros and cons, we are going to discuss next and we are going to elaborate on all you need to know before we learn whether is straight piping legal or not.
Pros & Cons Of Straight Piping
Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of doing this mod on your car. Are there any cons to it or not?
Knowing this stuff will really help you out in order for you to determine whether or not straight piping is the right call for you, or whether you should go for something else when it comes to improving the sound on your car like installing an aftermarket system.
So, without further ado, let’s cover the pros and cons and find out more about it. Then we will move on and learn whether is straight piping legal or not.
Pros Of Straight Piping
Now let’s take a look at the pros when it comes to installing straight pipes before we dive into whether or not is straight piping legal.
The first and biggest pro of doing straight pipes on your car is probably the sound benefit. Your car will sound a lot better with straight pipes compared to the standard mufflers.
As you probably know, mufflers are there to muffle the sound down. And this can affect the sound quite a lot that the engine produces. Especially when it comes to a V8 engine which usually sounds phenomenal with the right exhaust.
The second pro of doing this type of mod is probably the performance benefit. When you add mods like this to your car, the performance will benefit quite significantly. You will release a ton of horsepower that has been trapped with that factory-restricting exhaust system.
Factory exhausts are really restrictive and basically ruin the performance of any car. And the last pro is probably the approval from the car community. Car guys simply love these types of mods. So, if you do a mod like this, you will get approval from them immediately and you will also gain a few friends.
I personally have a ton of friends that have met since I started working on cars. There will be a ton of stories to tell later on. Being a car enthusiast has a lot of perks, it is a really good socializing activity.
Not only that you learn to work on cars but you also make friends. But now let’s move on to the cons of having this mod before we find out whether is straight piping legal or not.
Cons Of Straight Piping
So, we learned more about the pros of running straight pipes. Now we think that it is time to focus more on the cons. There are probably some cons to this mod, right?
Well, there is quite a bit of them. Your car will sound phenomenal when you install straight pipes. But the question is, whether you will be able to tolerate this loud exhaust sound for a long time.
Everything is cool to experience every once in a while, but to experience torture on your ears 100% of the time?
We are saying this because straight pipes and sports exhausts are completely different things. Straight pipes make your car sound obnoxious all of the time, while a sports exhaust will make your car sound nice once you press a bit harder on the throttle. Which means that it is more nimble and tolerable.
This is why we recommend keeping at least one of the mufflers on your car if you’re looking for a muffler delete near me. If you keep one of them, you can be sure that you will not get your eardrums blown after a certain mileage.
The second con of this mod is that it will make your car spend more fuel. A complete straight pipe system will give you more performance. But it will also make your car spend a lot more fuel.
Not to mention that there are O2 sensors before and after the catalytic converter that will get some strange readings if you cut off the cats. So, a check engine light is one of the outcomes.
Not to mention the poor engine work that can be also quite common. So, if you cut the cats, you will also need to re-tune the computer as well. But is straight piping legal? More about that next.
Is Straight Piping Legal
Now let’s get to business and learn whether is straight piping legal or not. Knowing this is really important when it comes to this mod. Mainly because it will save you a lot of money on fines.
So, understandably, straight piping is not legal. You can modify your exhaust with an aftermarket one and you will be good. But if you decide to cut the catalytic converters and both of your mufflers, you might be unable to pass the inspection in most states.
Especially states like California or New York are rather unfriendly to these types of modifications on cars. You will fail the emissions testing and you will be required to come back with the OEM exhaust if you want to pass the test.
Another thing is the fines. You might pass inspection and straight pipe the car. But this doesn’t mean that there are no police on the road.
Especially if you drive on the highway, there are a ton of cop cars that are often unmarked and if they notice your car is making too much noise, they will fine you and you will pay a hefty fee.
Also, this can happen around town as well. Especially in big cities, these obnoxious cars are not that tolerable. So, you definitely need to be aware of these situations.
Your best bet would be to try and learn how strict your state is in terms of these mods. Mainly because not all states are very strict. In some places, you might get away with a straight pipe exhaust. Now let’s cover our last topic for today.
Straight Piping Cost
Now as we learned whether is straight piping legal, we can move on and learn more about how much for a straight pipe. Is this type of mod expensive or not?
Well, this really depends on the skill level that you have. If you want to do this type of mod by yourself and you have all the cutting and welding tools, you will only need to get a straight pipe exhaust kit and install it.
A straight pipe cost can be somewhere in the range of $200 and $600 only for the kit. If you need labor to install it, then you can also expect to pay anywhere between $300 to $600. It’s quite costly, as you can see, similar to the cost to replace the muffler and exhaust pipe.
On the other hand, if you do a full custom straight pipe kit on your car, you can expect to pay up to $2,000 for all the work and materials needed to get this job done, along with the cost to replace your exhaust.
The cheapest mod that you can do is to cut the rear muffler and weld a pipe, this will cost you anywhere between $50 and $150. So, if you are a beginner, we would recommend this route instead of a full kit.
In this article, we covered whether or not is straight piping legal. First, we learned what is straight piping and the different types of straight piping that you can try.
Then we covered the pros and cons of straight piping and then we learned whether is straight piping legal or not. Lastly, we discussed the costs of doing this mod on your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is A Muffler
A muffler as its name implies is a device that is in charge of muffling down the noise that is created by the engine. This is a big metal box with steel plates inside that divert the gases in order to tone down the sound.
What Is A Muffler Delete
A muffler delete is a process of removing the muffler from your car. You just cut it off with a saw and call it a day. You can also weld a metal pipe instead of the muffler and attach the tips once you are done.
What Makes A Car Loud
An aftermarket exhaust system can make a car loud, a muffler delete can also make a car loud. But the coolest mod that a lot of people do is straight piping the car. Which means replacing the mufflers with regular pipes.
Is A Muffler Delete Illegal
Yes, it can be illegal if your car is too loud. You might fail the inspection if the technician notices that you have this kind of mod, so be really aware of this before you go to the inspection.
Does A Muffler Delete Add Horsepower
Yes, if you do a complete straight pipe kit, you will gain maybe 20 to 50 hp depending on the engine. The gains really depend on the engine that you are running.
How Much To Replace Muffler
A muffler can cost anywhere between $100 and $500. The costs vary so much because not all mufflers are the same. On expensive cars, mufflers usually cost a lot more.